10 Ways To Make The Most Of Your 2020 Summer If You Live In Toledo, Ohio
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10 Ways To Make The Most Of Your 2020 Summer If You Live In Toledo, Ohio

Even though we aren't supposed to do much in quarantine, we can still do all of these!

10 Ways To Make The Most Of Your 2020 Summer If You Live In Toledo, Ohio

Quarantine is impacting everything in the world right now, and everyone's summer 2020 plans have been chief among them. With this Bucket List, you can still make the most of your summer. Each item on this list attempts to fit a specific enjoyment. Some people like to explore, where others like to read or game. Maybe only one of these will fit your interest or maybe they all will!

1. Visit the Botanical Gardens

We aren't supposed to do much in the COVID crisis but getting exercise and going to parks is one of the best things you can do. The Botanical Gardens of Toledo is totally free and the most inspiring places you can walk around in Toledo. Manmade structures and statues surround you in the elegantly manicured bushes and flower beds. Take a notebook or a camera. With someone you're close to, have a photoshoot, or even sit in the grass with a book for a few hours.

2. Read Julie E. Bloemeke's "Slide to Unlock"

Julie E. Bloemeke is a Toledo native. She's written poetry her whole life, a good few of them about paintings in the Toledo Museum of Art. This March, she published her debut book of poems, "Slide to Unlock," about how new advancements in phone technology change the way we communicate with people in sexual relationships. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jericho Brown has called the collection "a kind of philosophical love poetry" in which the poet has "located in the body the satisfactions of the mind." You can buy it here: https://siblingrivalrypress.bigcartel.com/product/slide-to-unlock-by-julie-e-bloemeke

3. Write a Dungeons and Dragons Campaign About Toledo

Speaking of written works, Dungeons and Dragons is from the community of the 80s we usually don't talk about. Hush-hush. But Dungeons and Dragons isn't as weird as you think it is if you've never played it before. Believe it or not, Dungeons and Dragons is really popular in today's culture, for anyone high school age or into their sixties. If you don't know much about it, it's a storytelling game with open ends. The narrative will lead the players in one direction but the players can take that direction or they can run off and do whatever they please. Dungeon Masters are basically authors who don't know how to dictate their characters. Instead of writing characters who do things and pursue a plot, they write possible scenarios that characters would dramatically or playfully react to.

As for being about Toledo, one of my biggest pet peeves in the game is that most Dungeon Masters write high fantasy plot lines. You know, with people pushing carts full of melons and dragons exploding out of castles with kings in their mouths. Dungeon Masters should be writing more urban fantasy or modern fantasy or ANYTHING that isn't about the rolling hills in some hologram of old England. I wrote one about flying lawnmowers last year and my new Dungeon Master is writing one about space wizards. Just for giggles, wouldn't it be hilarious to research the Toledo area and write one about, you know, the place where we live?

4. Attend the Farmer's Market

The Toledo Farmer's Market is every Saturday, outside, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., all summer long. 525 Market Street, downtown, is one of my favorite places. I never liked shopping as a kid but I've always loved spending a few hours at this event, squabbling away from the women in my family to talk to stand owners and sniff any flower that looked different.

5. Doodle or Dabble in the Museum of Art

It's reopening on June 23rd! Of course I'm going to tell you to visit the coolest place on the planet. I've been to the Smithsonian, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Columbus's Wexner Center, and so many other "acclaimed" places of visual art. But let me tell you! There's no place as beautiful and diverse as Toledo's (unless you really want to see St. Sebastian's ankle bone at the Cleveland Museum or some weird scribbles at the Smithsonian). Even more importantly, Toledo is FREE. Other places, with art not nearly as cool, charge upwards of $20 per adult. Are you kidding me? You can sit in Toledo's museum for as long as you want, with a pen and a notebook and just CHILL for ZERO dollars EVERY weekday and weekend.

6. Photograph Birds at Oak Openings

Oak Openings is a huge park off of Swanton and Whitehouse, furnished with sand dunes, a pond, and a multitude of rare trees. It's so big, you could walk out there for ages and not run into anyone or run out of places to explore. When I'm out there, I realize that this is one of the greatest parks in the nation, filled with some of the most beautiful birds you'll ever see. If you pull out your Nikon or even a new cell phone, you could capture some wild, haunting, and lovely photos.

7. Play Pokemon Go

Remember that game on your phone screen from 2016, where you walk around and throw colored balls at funny looking animals? It's actually so addicting and, if you played it in 2016, it's a lot more updated now. The part that's super addicting that no one told me about until last year is that there are rare Pokemon that come in a different color than they're supposed to. If you find one, you might be the only person in your area who has one. And you can get one, a "shiny," for almost all of the Pokemon in the game, so long as you look hard enough. It's also a great way to get exercise. If you walk around, you hatch eggs with rare Pokemon inside and can get candies for your favorite Pokemon so you can evolve them into. It always leads to adventure, too, considering you have to find historical monuments and other cultural places to get more items to keep playing. Some of the best places for these are the campus at the University of Toledo, the shops at Perrysburg or Maumee, and any local park! With the app, you'll notice a lot of history you might not have known about the area otherwise.

8. Walk Through Woodlawn Cemetery

I'm not sure how scared you get of the dead, but the architecture in the Woodland Cemetery is some of the coolest. If you're there alone, write a poem about one of the grave markers or peacefully view the artwork. Especially the pyramid monument! If you're there with a friend, see who can find the earliest date of departure.

9. Take a Picture with Every Frog Statue

In 2001, over a hundred local artists contributed frog statues to local businesses. See how many you can find and take a funny picture with each of them. I haven't done this yet but, ever since I was a kid, I've wanted to. All of the frogs are so different and all of them are so interesting. Some of them are even hidden!

10. Tour the Wildwood Manor House

I've been to this giant mansion a few times. It's both elegant and haunting. I had tea in the sunroom with tiny sandwiches. Meanwhile, there are tunnels underground leading to the river and Nazi symbols on some of the china in the kitchen. Don't forget to pop your head in at the historical decor but definitely beware of the crevices in the walls.

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