Summer … what are your plans this year? For many of us it means having some down time, whether that’s going on a vacation, doing odd jobs around the house or just spending time over the weekends doing things that the winter and our crazy rainy spring didn’t allow us to do.
Growing up in the Greater Springfield area gave me a lot of opportunities, but being the child whose parents were small business owners was a challenge. The “what did you do over the summer” question for me didn’t seem as exciting as some of my friend’s answers. Looking back, I know my parents did provide us lots of opportunities, but as a kid sometimes it felt like we had a boring summer. The idea of a “stay-cation” is now a few years old, but thinking back, I think my parents might have been the inventor of that idea.
If you don’t follow the Chamber’s blog, you are missing out. It was while I was reading our executive director, Nancy-jo Manney’s blog about what there is to do in the area when the Metro is on our stage of the SafeTrack program, that I was remembering all the things we use to do as kids with our parents during the summer.
While we did usually have one week in August that we went on a “real” vacation, it was those Sundays after church that we had the most family time together. We did many things in the Greater Springfield area, such as have a picnic at Lake Accotink, Burke Lake or Pohick Bay. Many Sundays included exploring the Smithsonian or going to Gravelly Point on the George Washington Parkway to watch the airplanes. If we wanted to “go way out there,” we headed to Bull Run where we could go swimming as well. Remember, back then it was country roads to get to Centreville! We did have a few weekends where we would go camping, usually in the Shenandoah National Park. The nice thing is that these same options are still open today for us to enjoy.
But my very favorite thing to do was go get ice cream or dessert and window shop. We’d head out throughout the summer and choose different dessert locations. If it was ice cream, we’d stroll along and window shop and many times we’d find a new store that we hadn’t visited yet. When is the last time you’ve done that? You’d be surprised how many customers come into our shop and say, “Are you new? I’ve been shopping in this center for over ten years and never knew there was a florist here.” And I have to tell them we’ve been here for over 37 years. I wonder if they would just take one day to window shop the entire center how many fine shops they would find.
Summer is the perfect time to explore and find a new store, restaurant or family activity. So no matter what your plans for this summer include, I encourage you to discover what the Greater Springfield area has to offer and share what you find on the Chamber’s Facebook page so others can discover new opportunities as well.
Karen Fountain is the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce's 2016 board president, owner of Flowers n Ferns in Burke and a life-long resident of northern Virginia. She invites you to stop in her shop and say hello.