Woman reading book and having fun in park

101 Things: Relax & Unwind

Now that winter is gone—no, really—we can exhale and pivot toward the months ahead, which means spending more time outside than in, with a good book in our hands.


Now that winter is gone—no, really—we can exhale and pivot toward the months ahead, which means spending more time outside than in, with a good book in our hands.

A book. The best cheap summer vacation you can ever take: no fumbling with luggage, no email, no bored kids, no airport mayhem. Just a comfortable chair, a nice steady breeze and a good story that you don’t want to end.

Here are five of some of the best “summer reads” for 2015.

Sources: New York Times, Huffington Post, amazon.com

1. “The Girl on The Train: A Novel,” by Paula Hawkins. This thriller, about a divorced alcholic woman prone to blackout, is being called the next “Gone Girl.”

2. “Go Set a Watchman: A Novel,” by Harper Lee. The sequel no one ever thought would be written. The Pulitzer Prize-winning octogenarian shocks the world by publishing a follow-up to her literary classic “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

3. “A Certain Summer,” by Patricia Beard. It’s the postwar summer of 1948 in an idyllic beach town. When one woman’s soldier-husband is declared missing, two returning men vie for her hand.

4. “NYPD 3 Red,” by James Patterson and Marshall Karp. Still the heavyweight champ, Patterson and his slate of writing partners produce best-selling crime novels with assembly-line proficiency.

5. “Yes Please,” by Amy Poehler. Practically every page in this gifted actress/comedian’s autobiography will produce a chuckle.

6. (Charita’s Fave) Even for history geeks like me, summer is the perfect time to unplug with a good book. One of my favorite summer reads? Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Team of Rivals,” a retelling of how Abraham Lincoln transformed his greatest competitors into his most-devoted supporters.

Family in sports car


Check the weather, choose a sunny but not too hot day, and rent a convertible. Take a path less traveled in Stark County—you never know what great hidden gems you might stumble upon. Rental prices vary depending on your age, your rental source, and which model you choose.

A Giant Swallowtail butterfly at the Beech Creek Butterfly House.


Butterfly season officially kicks off June 22 at the Butterfly House & Gardens at the Beech Creek Gardens. Visit 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday and visit native butterflies, skippers and moths and the many host plants that support them. Visitors to the butterfly house will stroll down the garden path and discover these wonderful creatures in all stages of their life cycles. Before you leave, take a self-guided wildflower walk along trails open dawn to dusk daily. For more information, visit beechcreekgardens.org.



One of the most important gifts we can give our children is a love of nature and the outdoors. Give this gift to your kids by participating in the Wilderness Center’s Summer Days Enrichment program.

The Wilderness Center is one of Northeast Ohio’s premier nature centers, with 10 miles of hiking trails through old-growth forest and prairies. Stop in at the Interpretive Building with a wonderful Nature Store, interactive display room, and Wildlife Observation Room. And don’t miss the Astronomy Education Building with a Planetarium and Observatory.

Each session of the Summer Days program has been created to intrigue and challenge children, and unique sessions have been created for every age level from preschool through eighth grade. Your children will learn about nature through hikes, games and crafts. Summer Days will take place in two-day sessions from July 21 through August 7, and each session is $34 per adult/child pair, including all materials and supplies. Visit wildernesscenter.org for more details and to register.

101 Things To Do This Summer
PrintThere are tons of things to do in and around Stark County this summer. Check out our list for a fun-filled summer.

More Things To Do This Summer

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass