The Bucket List. The list of all lists. The lists of things that we want to do before we… ya know, kick the bucket. If you’re like me the bucket list only seems to get longer and longer. By the time I cross one thing off of my list I have already added five more new adventures. But that’s ok. As long as you keep making an effort to try new things every day. No matter how small, you will have lived a life full of adventure.
Last month my big bucket list item to check off was starting this blog. I had wanted to do it for a few years and on a snowy day in the beginning of February I felt that there was no time like the present. Amanda was stuck at work so I was pretty bored and needed to entertain myself. Who knows how well it will do. But it’s fun and that’s what counts.
I’ve always been curious about the people sitting in coffee shops on their computers and what they were working on. Today I get to be that girl sitting at a small table typing away on my laptop occasionally checking out Amanda while she studies. Anyway back to the bucket list for the summer. I’ve put together 9 of the ultimate summer adventures that you can cross off your bucket list over when the weather turns warm.
I obviously had to start with this one. The ultimate adrenaline pumping adventure. This is a must do on everyone’s bucket list! Unless you really don’t want to… that’s cool too. But let me tell you why you should consider it.
I had this one on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. During the summer of 2009, the summer I turned 19, I made it happen. Luckily a friend of mine from high school started jumping earlier that year and got seriously addicted. He jumped 50+ times over the course of the year and convinced me and some of my friends to give it a go. So Steve drove me and my girlfriends down to the drop zone. We signed up. We waited. The weather was bad. We were told to come back another day. Two days later we went back but it was the same story. There were too many clouds and more seemed to be rolling in. Later that week we came back and the day was perfect.
There were plenty of people there to do their first jump and it took a couple of hours before we got into the plane. By the time we got our harnesses on I was so nervous and excited that I thought I might faint, or throw up. We loaded up into the plane spent the next 10-15 minutes getting up to altitude at 14,500 feet.
The door went up. I watched as my friends and there instructors leaped out of the plane. Soon enough my tandem instructor hooked me to his chest and out we went. After ensued what was the most enthralling 60 seconds of my life. Essentially plummeting to the earth at 120 miles per hour followed by an incredible 5 minutes under canopy floating through the sky. By the time my toes touched the ground I was hooked. Two days later I was back to jump again.
When I signed up I thought I would jump once, cross it off the bucket list, and then move on to the next adventure. I was wrong. That summer I jumped a total of 9 times. Briefly considered dropping out of college to live and work at the drop zone. Decided against it and the following summer jumped 8 more times and was able to jump solo. I’ve done a few more since then, taken Amanda a couple of times and a few years ago found scuba diving which is currently consuming my focus and funds.
Either way skydiving is an incredible, freeing and adrenaline pumping experience that will make you feel ALIVE!!! Get out and jump this summer! I can’t recommend it enough.
Where to Jump
There are a number of places to jump in the area. I started jumping in New Jersey but when I moved to New England I did all of my jumping at Jumptown in Orange, MA and have had a really positive experience there. Some other popular drop zones near Boston are Skydive New England in Lebanon, ME and Skydive Pepperell in Pepperell, MA.
Ahhhh… Scuba diving. The deepest most meaningful love I have ever had. Secondary to the beautiful Amanda of course. Anyway, diving has been another bucket list priority of mine from the original drafts I made in my earlier years of life. I did get a chance to dive without being certified when I was studying abroad in Australia in 2011. That’s right folks, my first ever dive was in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef! Right then I knew that diving was something that I would do for the rest of my life. Amanda and I got certified in the Summer of 2014 with a Groupon! We have done some great dives since them. Some of them being right here in Massachusetts.
Something to keep in mind is that scuba diving isn’t just a one and done type of deal. It takes some time and money to get certified and just in the certification process alone you do six dives. Sure you can go to places like the Great Barrier Reef and do uncertified dives depending on the tour operator. There are plenty of places you can go to try scuba diving before you commit. Be prepared to fall deeply and intensely in love with the sport. It is a way of life and the opportunities to discover new worlds under the water are unlimited!
I talk to a lot of people about diving who are concerned about their ears. Amanda has had her share of inner ear problems and can still dive. The best way to find out if you can dive is to get out there and give it a shot.
If you are nervous in deep water there are plenty of incredible diving opportunities out there that won’t take you deeper than 30 feet.
Are you afraid of sharks? Sharks are awesome and curious creatures. Typically they just like to check out the action and are not there to attack you. They make an already incredible diving experience absolutely unreal!
Interested in getting certified? The Boston area has tons of dive shops. Cape Ann and the South Shore have some really incredible diving opportunities so you don’t have to break the bank and head straight to the Caribbean right after getting certified. If you can swing it there is nothing like diving in 80 degree water with 100+ feet of visibility. At New England’s best you are diving in 50-60 degree water with 40- 50 feet of visibility. This means even in the hottest days of summer you are wearing a 7 millimeter wetsuit. But guess what, it’s totally worth it.
Amanda and I got certified through Undersea Divers in Beverly, MA and we LOVE our dive shop. It’s family owned and run and the people there are so incredibly nice and helpful. They run a promotion every spring through groupon or living social to get new divers into the sport. The best part is they have a dive society group that meets twice a week from mid spring through late fall that goes out and dives together. This means if you are new to diving there is group to go out with that is led by dive masters for a one time sign up fee of $50. After that first day it’s completely free! So you can put your skills to work right away in a very comfortable and supportive setting. You can’t beat that.
Get Your Motorcycle License
I have been lucky enough to fall in love with a girl who was already in love… with her Harley Davidson Dyna Wide Glide. I don’t know if I would have discovered the biker chick in myself if it wasn’t for Amanda. She comes from a family of people who enjoy taking long summer cruises on their motorcycles. Consequently her father strapped a helmet on her head and stuck her on the back of his Honda Nighthawk S when she was five years old. So yeah, she’s the real deal. And so is her cousin Zach who is her favorite riding partner.
Full disclosure, I am Amanda’s passenger. I got my motorcycle license last summer but have yet to rent a bike and ride along side Amanda for the day instead of on the back of the Dyna. This is on my bucket list for the summer.
However, even as a passenger I can understand how there is nothing more freeing than setting out on a beautiful day cruising through quaint New England backroads and byways without a care in the world. With the wind on your face and the sun on your back as you rip around the country side you are able to experience your surroundings more intimately than if your were passing through in your car.
And for the absolute best people watching go to a biker rally, even if you don’t ride a bike. Park the car and walk around, you are bound to see some crazy shit! Girls in lingerie walking around with snakes around there necks, dozens of people tattooed from head to toe, leather for days, and hundreds of the most beautiful pieces of machinery engineered lining the roads. It’s totally worth the trip.
The biggest bike rally takes place in the Wild West town of Sturgis South Dakota every summer. There are rallies all over the country and if you’re from the area the closest big one is Laconia’s Motorcycle Week in Weir’s Beach, NH.
Check out http://laconiamcweek.com for more info.
Surfing! I also crossed this bucket list item off of my list when I was studying abroad in Australia. I’ve only gone surfing a couple of times and it was over the course of a weekend trip. It was so fun and so hard! I have literally never been more soar in my life than after that weekend I spent surfing. Even my fingers and toes were soar. I now fully understand why surfer ladies and gents are so ripped! I swallowed my fair share of ocean water but had one of the best weekends of my life. This is definitely something I need to do again. And Amanda hasn’t tried it yet so I would love to get her out there this summer so she can try it.
A lot of the mass coastline is protected by capes however, there are still a few good spots to surf relatively close to Boston. One hour north of Boston is New Hampshire’s 16 miles of coastline. The Hampton Beach area has a number of great surfing spots as well as plenty of surf shops where you can rent boards or get a lesson. Thirty minutes south of the city is Nantasket Beach where you can find some good breaks as well.
This is a great bucket list adventure for the water loving adrenaline junkie. I’ve tried kiteboarding on a couple of different occasions but haven’t invested enough time to the sport to make it stick yet. The great thing about kiteboarding is all you need is water and wind so it’s not quite as picky as surfing. There are a handful of great spots in the area to go kiteboarding. One of the places I see people kiteboarding year round is at Nahant Beach just north of Boston. There are also endless locations to try it out on Cape Cod. This is where I took my first lesson. Like many outdoor activities it is expensive while starting out but once you get your basic equipment and some lessons under your belt you are pretty well set.
Stand up paddle boarding is my new preferred way to getting around on the water. I have been a kayaker my whole life but the first time I got on a SUP i fell head over heels. Amanda and I were visiting family who live on Cape Cod and while spending the day at the Great Pond (one of my favorite spots since childhood) I saw a woman cruising around on a SUP. When she got back to the beach I asked her if it was hard to do and she gave me the paddle and told me to give it a shot. It was an absolute blast. Since then Amanda and I have rented paddle boards on a number of occasions.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love kayaking, but on a calm day when the water is glass nothing can top being on a SUP. If you’re on clear water it’s amazing what you can see underneath you. On a little adventure up on Lake Champlain in Vermont Amanda and i were able to see straight down to the bottom. It’s hard to say how deep it was but I going to guess at least fifty feet. It may be sixty by the next time I mention it. Anyway, the point is standing on a board looking underneath you, you get a whole new vantage point. At the Great Pond on the Cape I watched a small turtle swim right under my board! Pretty cool stuff!
Stand up paddle boarding has really taken off and there are plenty of places to rent almost wherever you go. If they rent kayaks then they probably rent SUP’s too.
Hot Air Ballooning
This is 100% on our bucket list for the summer. There are a few outfitters in the area where you can take a ride on a hot air balloon for a price. Most of the outfitters I’ve researched have been around $200 per person for a ride.
Another cool idea is going to a hot air balloon festival. I used to go to one in New Jersey with the family when I was a kid and remember having a blast. I’m hoping to catch one of the festivals in the area this summer.
For a complete list of hot air balloon festivals around the world check out http://www.hotairballoon.com.
Climb a Mountain
Summiting a mountain no matter how small should be on everyone’s bucket list! There are amazing mountains to climb all over the world. Even if you live in a relatively flat area chances are there’s something to climb within reach of where you live. If you are visiting New England then you have a few options. And by a few I mean hundreds. With the White Mountains, Green Mountains, and Berkshire Mountains Regions all within two hours of Boston we have plenty of choices for where to hike this summer. For the biggest and the baddest head to Mount Washington in Sargent’s Purchase, NH. There are a handful of different routes to get you to the summit. Make sure you check out the weather first as Mount Washington is known for its severe weather conditions and volatility.
Explore a New Place
Just pick a place and go! It doesn’t have to be far or exotic, although this helps. Even if it’s around the corner or within an hour drive just get yourself there. You’d be amazed what you can find right in your backyard.
This summer I’m hoping to check out Moose Alley in WayUpNorth, NH. Basically Canada. As long as i have been living and exploring New England I have yet to see a moose in the wild. I plan to cross that off my bucket list this summer. More to come on the moose…