July is the time of year when we start daydreaming about dipping our toes in a chilly lake while enjoying an umbrella-ornamented beverage. We are anxious to get out of the office or just escape the daily grind. The word vacation gives us hope. We can spend a few days diving into the culture and vibrancy of a new city or read book after book on a sandy beach. Vacations bring us a sense of peace and calm, and if we are lucky, we come back feeling refreshed and ready to kick butt at life. Even if you can't take a proper vacation this summer, you can definitely have a stellar staycation right here in Indy. We happen to live in a traveler's paradise. Without leaving town, your family can experience vacation's greatest hits, including a day at the beach or a moonlit picnic with music by a world-class orchestra.
After a day at the beach, take the family to Marsh Symphony on the Prairie. Shows begin at 8 p.m. every Friday and Saturday in July on the grass-covered grounds of Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, and tickets can be purchased on the website. Families can relish a picnic under the stars while listening to Time for Three's rendition of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 (note to parents, keep a close eye on your teen girls, the gentlemen of Time for Three are quite dreamy) or the Classical Mystery Tour: Music of the Beatles. I am not sure about you, but relaxing with a glass of wine in a park on a midsummer night sure sounds like a lovely little getaway to me.
I hope you don't think you need to drive to Michigan to go blueberry picking with the family! Driving Wind Blueberry Farm's plants will be ready to pick next week, fingers crossed. As soon as the crop is ready, the farm will post u-pick times and store hours on its Facebook page. This quaint little spot is just up the road from the IMA. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres might just be the best spot to gorge yourself on pints and pints of fresh-picked blueberries.
Lather on the sunscreen, blow up the beach ball and ready yourself for some fun in the sun. Saxony Lake and Beach in Fishers is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. everyday through Labor Day. The 300-foot beach sits on a 20-acre lake and is the perfect way to "get away from it all" by driving just a few miles. Bring your sand pails and shovels and host your own "Most Creative Sand Castle" competition or just lounge on a beach chair with your newest summer read while the kids happily splash in the water.
A July staycation wouldn't be complete without a good ole' fashioned fireworks display! If you are looking for a new and sure to be wacky way to spend Independence Day with the family, look no further than the 4th of July Picnic on Mass Ave. hosted by IndyFringe and Gershman Partners. The event begins promptly at 6:30 p.m. on July 4 at 719 E. St. Clair St. The ticketed event includes prime seating at a community table for the downtown fireworks and an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner courtesy of JUGS Catering. Who can deny a dinner of some summer favorites like fried chicken, baked beans, creamy coleslaw, homemade biscuits and sweet lemonade? Before the fireworks start, your family will be entertained by a variety of games, arts and crafts, musicians and magicians. To sidestep traffic and parking, pick up one of several Indy Go bus lines (5, 11, 17, and 21) that converge near the IndyFringe building.
One of the best parts of vacation is giving yourself permission to enjoy several scoops of ice cream a day. Why not enjoy your sweet treat from one of the many shops in Carmel at Jazz on the Monon? This free event is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on July 26 at the southwest corner of the Monon and Main St. in Carmel. Families are invited to kick back and delight in the musical stylings of Monika Herzig. With a fantastic early start, kids can still make it to bed before the clock strikes 10!
If you can't make it to the catacombs in Italy, Indy has the next best thing for history buffs. Venture downtown and embark on a City Market Catacombs Tour on the first and third Saturdays of the month. Tour ticket information and times can be found on the website. The tour offers a sneak peek into what used to be the basement of the grand Tomlinson Hall, which burned down in 1958. With a mixture of adventure and intrigue, this might be just the right fit for your thrill-seeking tweens.