Remember writing that “What I did for my summer vacation” essay during the first week of school in August? Did you find yourself grasping at straws, trying to remember something you did that was fun, exciting, interesting, and worthy of reading out loud in front of your classmates? Do you still feel that way when late summer rolls around? Want to crush it this year and be bursting to tell everyone about it?
Here are a few ideas to really make your summer truly memorable:
Get Away West
- Head to Santa Rosa, California June 6-15, 2014 for a McDougall 10-Day Live-In Program. It’s a family affair as Dr. John McDougall and his wife, Mary, help you turn your health around – while you get an unforgettable vacation at the same time. Food (all vegan) is included in the program, and it is outstanding. Plus, you’ll be with your “peeps” – imagine a whole vacation with people who feel like you do about the importance of a vegan diet. Caroline and I attended the program, and it was worth every nickel.
- If you can’t get away for 10 days, try a McDougall Advanced Study Weekend (ASW). The next one is Sept. 5-7, 2014, and the lineup of speakers is terrific. You can even watch the ASW via the internet if you decide to staycation. Have you participated in the 10-day program or the ASW? Please leave a comment about your experience.
Get Away East
- If you happen to live closer to Pennsylvania like we do, make plans to attend the NAVS Vegetarian Summerfest July 2-6, 2014 in Johnstown, PA. Like the McDougall events, the Summerfest program is chock full of insightful, dynamic speakers. The food is buffet-style, and everything is healthy, delicious and vegan-tastic. The setting (the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown campus) is perfect for walks and talks when you feel like blowing off a lecture to soak up some sun. Caroline and I will be participating this year. Please leave a comment and let us know if you’ll be there, too.
Go Local and Staycation
- Find a vegan group in your area on Meetup.com. You can fill your summer with as many events as you can possibly pack in. For a little veg-ucation, plan an outing nearby to hear a guru – like Dr. Michael Greger or Gene Baur. For fun with friends, find a local fair (the Pittsburgh Vegan Festival 2014 is on our local meetup “must-see” list for this summer). For some fabulous dining, do a restaurant crawl with your vegan meetup pals. It’s wonderful to share good food and good times – and to let those vegan-friendly restaurant owners know that the vegan crowd is active, interested, and ready to patronize them.
- If you prefer quieter pursuits, your vegan meetup group might have a book club. Join up and read the latest on food and nutrition, vegan philosophy, or simply enjoy a book of anecdotes about others’ experiences with the vegan lifestyle. Got some other ideas for local outings – please let us know in the comment section.
- Start a new family tradition this summer and invite your relatives to a big backyard picnic. Ask everyone to bring their favorite foods and an outdoor activity they like (for instance, our family members have brought kites, bean bag toss games, and even remote control model helicopters). What you can bring to the table is a plentiful supply of super-tasty vegan fare for everyone to sample. You might just be surprised how even your uncle Bruce, the family’s chief carnivore, will dig in to a vegan dish – if it tastes great. Try Caroline’s “Slow-Cooker Baked Beans” for a sure winner – the bowl is scraped clean every time at our picnic. Are you a Meal Plan Subscriber? Try the “Garden Herb Potato Salad for a Crowd”. And, if you’ve got some rhubarb growing like mad in the garden, make some divine Rhubarb Sauce). Most of all, have fun with your relatives. Instead of seeing each other only at funerals, we’ve found it really rewarding to bring the family together for an event that’s positive, uplifting and FUN! You’ll feel the warmth down to your toes when a family member calls in January and asks, “You are doing the family picnic again this year, aren’t you?”
Is That Enough Vegan Summer Vacation Ideas?
I hope these vegan summer vacation ideas will get you started. Now, put down the iPad or the laptop, take a walk outside, and start thinking some big thoughts about what you’ll do this summer. It’s gonna be great!!