Every summer my family comes up with a bucket list of activities that we want to do over our three-month break from school. The kids each add their favorite activities, and invariably we always have several camps to work around. An all-time favorite to add to the list every year is visiting cousins that live out of state. I love that they place a high priority on visiting extended family and that they have created bonds with cousins that I know from personal experience will be cherished, lifelong friends.

Some of my favorite childhood memories involve spending summer weekends with cousins. Sometimes it was a simple sleepover where we would spend the majority of our time coming up with performances of all kinds to perform for anyone willing to watch, and other times it was a weekend spent at our family lake cabin (which “cabin” is a generous word to use). Our lake weekends were filled with rafting and swimming, playing volleyball and croquet, going on walks or driving into town for ice cream, and sitting around a campfire at night, telling stories or sharing embarrassing moments. Those lake weekend memories are among my most favorite life moments.

Still to this day, when I see my cousins, we sometimes reminisce about those cherished memories that we made during the summers of our childhood. I am so thankful for those times, and it is such a good reminder to me of how sometimes the simplest things can make the best memories. It’s not always the extravagant destination or activity, but the funny and often times, insignificant activities that have stuck with me most. As full as I try to make our summer, reflecting back on my own summer break memories is a good reminder that quality time spent with people we love, no matter where it is, is what sticks.

For our summer issue, we wanted to share with you beautiful outdoor spaces and fun summer cocktails. And, as always, in the spirit of the Fourth of July, we wanted to honor our military for their service to our country.

I hope your summer is filled with moments of relaxation, fun and quality time that creates cherished memories.