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Matt Ventre


10 Things I Loved About Summer in the Mountains

When I was a kid my family and I used to go up to the mountains and spend a week or two in the summer at a lake cottage. It was owned by dear friends of my parents' and we always had the most incredible time. I learned so much about life and growing up and all sorts of other great skills like games and nature adventures. Here are 10od them. There are probably 100.

10 Things I Loved About Summer in the Mountains

    1. Warm days, cold nights

    It's also the reason people flock like crazy to Maine (where I am right now). The days are warm and mild and the nights are cool and crisp. It's like a summer and fall day all in one. 

    2. The smell of the trees and nature

    Still can't get enough of it. When I catch a whiff in my current area ifs like a Time Machine.

    3. Wild blackberries on nature walks

    I remember one time we found a patch of wild blackberries and it was like a sun kissed patch of treasure. I didn't realize until now that wild blackberries are kind of invasive. My yard is lousy with them these days, but I fell in love wifh them that summer day in the mountains which is why I won't trim them (and they're prickly! )

    4. Spotting on the ski boat

    The man who owned the lake house was a lifelong skier, professionally at times. He never missed a day on the lake. I imagine it's why he lived so long - he was active into his 90s on the water! When I was old enough, I became his spotter which is the person who sits facing backwards in the boat and relays signals from the skier about speed, turning, etc. and makes sure if he falls off we can find him. Beautiful mornings.

    5. Fishing off the dock

    I really only ever caugh sunfish but man was if fun to drop a line and hang out in the sun.

    6. Learning Scrabble

    The woman who owned the cottage was a huge game player - her game of choice was Scrabble and she was ruthless! In fact, she taught me the real rules of Scrabble - we played by the book. To this day I can't get anyone to stick to the challenge/lookup rules. It's ridiculous. I learned from the best and I never forgot the fun we had at that table after dinner. (Or my favorite: "what does that word mean, you can't play if if you don't know what it is" WRONG - Scrabble is a strategy game that uses words as weapons. It is emphatically not a game of definitions or knowledge. That's called Trivial Pursuit.)

    7. Annual mini golf match

    As a kid, I sucked at mini golf. And I got frustrated a lot. But, we always played and ended up having a damn good time of it. Those were beautiful days with my parents. Lots of love and happiness there.

    8. Learning about how to pick up your own mess

    I remember one day I left an inner tube out on the sand and a huge storm rolled in. Usually you have to clear the beach so nothing washes away, but I had forgotten. Well, someone got it for me in that big storm after I pitched a fit about not going in the lightning. 

    He wasn't happy, but he also used it as an opportunity to instill the idea that "you took it out, you clean it up. Nobody else is responsible for your mess."

    Never forgot it, have lived it ever since.

    9. How to read and enjoy the peace of nature

    I didn't understand this until later, but there were days when we just enjoyed the peace of the woods and the lake with a good book or we started a fire in the fireplace and stayed in the cozy cottage main room. Just because we could and life was there for us to contemplate in the silence of the mountains.

    10. Family friends are wonderful and to be cherished

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