Dean’s List: An ambitious to-do list for summer

Today is the first day of summer, and I’m working on a list of things I want to do before the war


Today is the first day of summer, and I’m working on a list of things I want to do before the warm days have flown and the long and unrelenting winter of upstate New York takes hold once more.

Summer’s allure for me is the opportunity for recreational pursuits that aren’t always possible at other times of year.

Yes, I can devour a good book any old time, but it’s not the same as reading it on a sandy beach or on a dock with water lapping at my toes.

I can dine al fresco most of the year right at home, but it’s not quite the same as eating on the porch of a cabin in the woods with the grandeur of the Adirondacks as my personal backdrop.

Some of the things that will make it onto my list involve no travel at all.

Though I’ve been working in Schenectady for more than a decade, I’ve only lived here for a couple of years and I’m still exploring and learning about my adopted city.

I want to see the Nott Memorial up close, for example, and I’d like to see what’s new at the Schenectady Museum, which I haven’t visited in many years.

Already on the list is a couple of trips to the Cooperstown area for opera at Glimmerglass, a tour of the Fenimore Art Museum and, though I haven’t suggested it yet to my travel mate, perhaps a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame, where I’ve been a stranger for a number of years.

I figure if we can go to the Fenimore to view the John Singer Sargent exhibit of “Portraits in Praise of Women,” we probably can also fit in a little time at baseball’s shrine.

My list — our list — is eclectic. We promised some young visitors that we’ll visit the Washington County Fair with them in August.

We’re also planning to hear cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and also be present for conductor Charles Dutoit’s finale with the Philadelphians, both at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. And we want to see the Andrew Wyeth exhibition at the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls.

Also on the list:

* Take the Stockade’s Secret Garden Tour, which is coming up next Friday and Saturday. Close friends are on the tour this year so it will be especially enjoyable.

* Do more backyard grilling with friends and loved ones.

* Take in a baseball game and eat a hotdog in the ballpark.

* Go swimming and not in a pool.

* Savor the first tomatoes of the season from that same backyard. (We’re already knee-deep figuratively in a variety of herbs, have picked and eaten salad greens and are devouring the sweet bounty of raspberry bushes on a daily basis.) But, tomatoes fresh from the garden are my personal favorite.

* Take a train trip, maybe to Washington, D.C., to visit the Smithsonian and the Newseum, but the destination is less important than the adventure and, of course, my choice of travel mate.

* Reunite with good friends I haven’t seen in a long time, catch up on what’s going on in their lives and bring them up to speed on what’s going on in mine.

Irv Dean is the Gazette’s city editor. Reach him by e-mail at [email protected]

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