It's a Finger Lakes dream - Independence Day on the Lakes and a sunny weather forecast.  The “good” about July this year is that there are five weekends to enjoy the Finger Lakes. The “bad” about July is that the 4th was right in the middle of the week. Ugh, where’s my extended weekend to really enjoy the Finger Lakes? Everyone came in our office on Thursday feeling like it was a Monday because they’d played “hard” for the 24 hours they had! As I reflected back on my “one day holiday”, I thought it would be fun to share, in a string of words, just how much you can fit in over that 24 hours in which we really exercise our freedom and freedom of choice.

Here’s how I spent my Independence Day.  And, just let me say, it was so good!

Home, make salad for picnic; Wegmans, 5 large bags of ice, assortment of drinks, extra sunscreen; pancake breakfast with 3,000 other folks at the Penn Yan Flying Club – with my son, the pilot, and my parents and husband! Buckwheat Pancakes. To my brother’s on Keuka Lake, unload the kayak for later. 10 mile bike ride along the rolling country roads and between the grapevines.  Picnic starts – family and friends to join from out of town. Traditional 4th food feast begins: clams, hots, hamburgers, salads – including my annual contribution of spinach salad. Break from food to go in lake: swim, kayak, jetski. Break from lake to go back for more food and drink and sunscreen.

A game of “frisbeer” brought to us by my college-aged son, who knows all about these types of games. My team lost (badly)… lesson learned - never take on a couple of college kids in a game that they invent and perfect on an ongoing basis.

Hold baby at the party! This baby turns one this week!  Ahhh.  Take a few family pictures. Eat my mother’s famous homemade cinnamon rolls, relax in the hammock, proceed back to game area and play a game of bean toss!  My team won this time!  

Proceeding directly from the winning bean bag toss to get more clams, a dessert or two and then to the hoops; toss up a few basketballs with my teenage nephews! They all joke about my legend on the basketball court, but I’ll admit I was a bit rusty this day. Regarding my legend? I was a bit of a ball hog – but I made it pay off for the team, averaging about 25 points per game in my senior year; and that was before the 3-point rule. My sister-in-law, whose house we were at, was my “feeder” on the court, so legend lives on – even if it is a bit overstated at times! 

Return to lake for kayaking, (thanks to a rental from Canandaigua Sailboarding!), and more swimming! That lake temperature was perfect with all the sun we’ve had. Sit in the Adirondack chairs and enjoy a glass of Finger Lakes wine with a friend who has an equal appreciation for enjoying Finger Lakes wine (this one from J.D. Wine Cellars in Wayne County – acquired during my recent FAM tour there.) Motorboat ride at sunset.

Build small campfire by lake with son, girlfriend, her mother! Take hassle from family for not putting enough kindling in the otherwise perfectly constructed pyramid! Light the flares, light the campfire, look across the lake as a multitude of flares and fireworks sparkle and reflect at dark. Watch husband and brother provide our own fireworks show! Top off the evening with the best s’more I’ve ever had and great campfire conversation with all those college kids that beat us in that game earlier in the day!  I got over it quickly, I thought, or was it because I got my revenge with the bean bag win?  

Give thanks for a great day, hosts, and company, AND the good health that allowed me to swim, bike and… enjoy it all. And, of course – the biggest thanks for the freedom that we all enjoy and are reminded of on the 4th of July each year.

We are so blessed! And, as I started out – also very tired trying to squeeze it all in on a one day holiday. Today is the Saturday after – and I get to do all those things again, and I’ll admit that I won’t be sad that I have an extra day to rest up before work on the real Monday!

Now you know why I didn’t have time to perfect this blog. Who has time to write complete sentences when you have all this to do?

It’s a “tough lifestyle” here in the Finger Lakes … (NOT). It was a “weekday” like this that makes me realize just how easy it is for me to promote visiting here. I just don’t recommend doing it all in one day. Spread it out across a whole week or two! Or you know what – this is a great place to live.

One final thought – there are only 21 days until we get that extra Saturday and Sunday in July. I better get resting up!