Angela Jamison is a native Montanan and she grew up in beautiful Bozeman. I'm the mother of two girls and write a blog about our life here and taking in the simple pleasures of family and food.Summer is Coming~Family Fun in Bozeman.
It’s coming. The countdown is on. The color on the trees and ground is an indication of more to come. There are only a handful days of school left. Yes, I am talking about summer. My absolute favorite time of the year. The most wonderful time of the year in Bozeman (sorry skiers). The time when our days our blissfully warm under bright blue skies and the nights cool off and bring in a nice breeze. We don’t get a long summer here, but what we do get is pretty much perfection. Three months of cramming in all things summer. No homework, no schedules, no bedtimes…the kids are not the only ones happy about this. I pack our summers with all the things I dream about doing throughout the winter. School doesn’t end until June 11th, but I consider Memorial Weekend our official summer kick-off. Let the fun begin.
My summer must do’s with the family in Bozeman…
A family favorite and always at the top of my summer list. Imagine getting to take your children away from all distraction…no devices, no bedroom doors that can be shut, no rooms full of toys. Just your family and the great outdoors. When you remove all distraction their imaginations are set free. The forest becomes their magical playground ready for hours of exploration. What a playground it is. Creeks, trees, pine cones, critters, wild flowers…these become the toys and you get to sit back and watch it unfold. Simple, easy family time. Food is cooked over the fire, dessert is always s’mores. Searching for shooting stars is the game of the night and everyone snuggling in the tent. There are fourteen weekends between Memorial and Labor Day. A good summer is filled with most of those spent camping.
Family hikes, another at the top of the summer list! We don’t put our kids in a lot of organized sports or activities throughout the year. Some may say because of this they are missing out on learning about ambition, competition and athletics. I say they are learning that plus some every time we go for a hike. I know this as I see their determined faces make it to the top of a mountain. To push further on a trail even if their little legs are tired. That’s ambition. I see it when they race each other back down the mountain. That’s competition. The bonus they get? Fresh air and all the peace that comes along with. Family bonding and communication can be found on a mountain trail.
Most children are little fish and would happily spend most of the summer in the water. Mine are no exception. Finding water for these fish can be difficult around here but we always find a way. There’s of course good ole Bogert Pool or the splash park in Belgrade. When these are too crowded we venture to one of our local ponds. The beach at the 100-Acre Regional Park has become a quick favorite for us. There’s nice sand, it stays shallow for a while and it feels relatively clean. On extra hot days, the Hyalite Reservoir is the perfect place to cool off. Take the kayak, paddle board and a picnic and you’re set. The best part about Hyalite is you simply can’t beat the scenery.
I recently had a friend visit who commented on how amazing all the parks in our city were. Having grown up here I have taken our fantastic parks for granted. This friend said where she lives there are really none for kids to play at. This seems crazy to me! In an average summer we visit a playground 3 to 4 times a week…middle of the day bike rides to one for a picnic, after dinner walks to one, meeting up with friends for the afternoon…parks are a HUGE part of our summer plans. There’s the main city parks, but also all the undiscovered ones tucked into neighborhoods. A couple summers ago we made a list of all the parks we wanted to visit and taped it to our fridge to cross off throughout summer. It took all three months to get to each one and I know we missed a few. Well done in the playground department Bozeman.
Summer with kids is not complete without ice cream. Most summer days end with it. Often made at home and enjoyed on our front porch. Sometimes an after dinner treat from Pickle Barrel and then a stroll around MSU. Or a milkshake from the Chocolate Moose and a walk around downtown or up Peet’s Hill. Always once a week at the Bogert Farmer’s market. Wherever we get it and whatever we do our children are game if ice cream is involved.
Summer means longer days and most of them spent outside. I cram a lot into our short summer, but never forget the simple art of letting kids play in our own backyard. Sprinklers on, blow up pool out, tossing around a ball, chalking on the sidewalk, reading in the hammock, biking around the block. Downtime for doing nothing other than being so happy to be outside. Summer is supposed to be easy and laid back. Nothing else needed.
This winter in our town has been mild. Spring came early with lots of optimism and then cooled down quickly to remind us it is still Montana. But, we Bozemanites know it’s coming. And when it is here let the celebration begin. We wait a long time, but each year we greet summer with open arms and embrace it for three glorious months. We’re ready for ya Summer.