It’s the Summer Solstice! June 21, the longest day of the year is upon us. The official start of summer seems almost anticlimactic with the brisk temperatures we’ve already experienced. But let’s not shortchange the day. With a bright blue sky and pleasing breeze, bid “Welcome to Summer 2014!!” May the season prove pleasantly surprising and filled with joyful events for us all.
How best to mark the day becomes the question. A stroll along the Clarksville Greenway? Launching a canoe or kayak at the Blueway Park launch point to traverse the cool waters of the West Fork Creek and into the Cumberland River? Perhaps you’ll opt for a day at one the city’s swimming pools with friends! Or maybe, some of you grab rod and reel and head out to your favorite fishing hole in hopes of hitting that elusive big bass that hides under a submerged rock. With the advent of our own marina, boaters have the option of cruising on the Cumberland to stops like Palmyra, Cumberland City or Dover. Discover the region by waterway and see Montgomery County from an entirely new perspective.
Dunbar Cave Natural Area offers hiking trails with tall tree-covered canopies to shelter one from the blazing sun. Of course, with this good weather, there’s always Eastland Green or Swan Lake or Fort Campbell golf courses ready and waiting for golfers looking to sink golfballs for 9 or 18 holes. It’s a good time to get some practice in for the Pi Kappa Alpha Golf Scramble in August! Always a fun time with the Pikes!
Why not gather the gang and drive out to Dover’s Cross Creek Wildlife Refuge, or Sink Park Sports Center. Don’t forget the Fort Donelson Battlefield Park. The bald eagles have likely seen their young eaglets take flight and abandoned the nest for this year, but there’s still plenty to see in the park itself. Another treasure in Dover is Land Between the Lakes, Tennessee’s only bi-state shared state park area. Deer, foxes, coyotes, and other creatures call this forestland home. Picnic areas, The Homeplace, Woodland Nature Station, campsites, OHV area, hiking trails, wildlife observatory trails, see live buffalo and elk in The Prairie and the science of stars at the Golden Pond Planetarium all await visitors to this vast tract of natural woodland wonder. Did you know the Stewart County motto is, “Come Play In Our Backyard!” So, go play!
Beyond Stewart County lies Paris Landing State Park and Marina. More waterway attractions await you, this time on the Tennessee River side of things. The state park boasts a golf course, hotel/restaurant accommodations, cabins, nature trails and plenty of waterway access for boating and fishing. Boaters can tie up at the marina and enjoy its lush green setting, welcome center and dining options as well.
If you drive out, you have the option of going on into Paris, TN itself and trying the Paris Winery and the Ruggero’s Italian Bistro wine tasting. Compere their grapes to our own Beachaven varieties for a different thrill to your tastebuds. Our two soils are different and the grapes will reflect that. There’s a replica of the original Eiffel Tower, great spot for picture posing memories. No trip to Paris is complete without visiting the renown Olive Pit, an Italian Pasta House. The Mussels al Diablo are simply exquisite. It’s offered as an appetizer but I relish its richness and spicy flavors as if it were an entree. The Sweet Italian Sausage Lasagna, sublime. There is also Meatballs al Forno and Spaghetti alla Carbonara at your option. Each comes with Olive Oil/herbs dripping saucer and bread. Bring your own wine if you’re so inclined. They beer and soft drinks. No biggie. You can thank me later.
Now, enjoy your Summer Solstice! And Sol, please be gentle this season. No blinding sunsets, please. Thanks ol’ friend.
[Photos by JazzWaves Imaging (Turner McCullough Jr.), unless noted otherwise.]