Summer begins unofficially in Franklin County
Tracey and Jared Hart of Greenfield begin their "unofficial" first day of summer with an ice cream at Country Creemee in Turners Falls on Monday afternoon.
Allen McClure teaches his 8-year-old twins Cailin and Alastair how to row in Barton Cove on Monday afternoon. The McClure family spends Memorial Day and most of the summer in their boat.
Five-year-old Ayden and 4-year-old Rylee Ekmalian play on the Unity Park playground in Turners Falls Monday. Grandparents Melissa Maynard and Justin Byrnes of Ashfield planned a family picnic at the local park for later in the day.
Say “Memorial Day” and most people immediately think about cookouts and parades.
Children are filled with excitement, as it is the last holiday before school ends for the summer.
Depending on the temperature, it’s the weekend many open their pools and take their first swim of the season.
A day, which always begins as a solemn remembrance of those who died for the rest of us, ends as the “unofficial” start of summer.
Melissa Maynard and Justin Byrnes of Ashfield spent Memorial Day at Unity Park in Turners Falls with their grandchildren, 5-year-old Ayden and 4-year-old Rylee Ekmalian.
“This is our tradition,” said Maynard. “We spend the day park hopping and then we settle in and have a cookout at one of them. This year it’s Unity. The entire family will be coming later.”
Maynard and Byrnes said this year their menu consisted of stuffed pork chops, hotdogs and hamburgers, baked beans, pasta salads, and lots of soda and juice.
“No alcohol,” said Byrnes. “This is family time.”
Just a few miles up the hill in Turners Falls, Tracey Hart and her 11-year-old son Jared of Greenfield sat eating soft ice cream and talking about baseball at Country Creemee on Millers Falls Road.
Jared, a pitcher, plays baseball for Greenfield Minor League. He said his team, Greenfield Elks, would be playing at 6 p.m. on Monday.
“We used to have a cookout with the entire family, but we decided this year to do something a little different to start off the season,” said Tracey Hart. “We went to the fish ladder in downtown Turners and then decided to get a creamee.”
Hart said her husband was golfing, so she and her son wanted to spend some “relaxation time” before his game.
“We usually open the pool this weekend, but it’s still a little chilly,” she said.
In Gill, the McClure family from Greenfield was canoeing its way through Memorial Day and Barton Cove.
“We canoe all summer,” said Allen McClure, who has six children, five of whom were there with him.
“My mom and the baby are home,” said Kelly McClure, 7. “We take turns going out.”
Anna McClure, 12, stayed with her sister Kelly and her brother Ian, 10, as her father took Alastair and Cailin, 8-year-old twins, for a quick ride.
“I’m teaching them how to row,” said their father. “This is our first trip out this year.”
McClure said he and his entire family spend a good chunk of the day on the river each year. Actually, he said they spend most of their summer there.
“When we get home today, we’ll get ready to go help out at the community meal our church, Covenant Church in Millers Falls, puts on,” he said.