Your summer spirit is not always what makes you shotgun that extra Wildcat, or stay out an hour later when you're working at 7am (though they are related). Your summer spirit is really the fire in you, the guts of that beast that loves fun more than food and sun more than sleep.
Considering Haligonians didn't really pull on their warm weather shoes until at least August this year, the sense that it's coming to a close can be depressing. Did you swim enough? Did you run, kick, play, roll down Citadel Hill with your eyes closed enough? Did you look over the city while the carnival music played below and your too-short shorts rode up like a damn dryer sheet commercial?
Keeping the fire lit under that fete-lover comes down to more than vitamin D capsules or tanning booths. It's your state of mind.
Here's a list of how to keep keepin' on into the hearty autumn, and ward off the upcoming bout of Seasonal Affective Disorder (un-ironically shortened to SAD) longer.
What screams summer like mini-golf? Goodwood Family Golf Centre (1300 Prospect Road, Dartmouth, 876-1122) is open until mid-October, with 18-holes including sand traps and water hazards. The Putting Edge (182 Chain Lake Drive, 450-0029) offers indoor, glow-in-the-dark mini-golf year round.
Unfortunately, beaches closed on August 29, but HRM has a plethora of pools with fantastic fall schedules. Aquatics specialist Marla Mackay recommends Northcliffe Pool (111 Clayton Park Drive, 490-4690) in Clayton Park, Needham Pool in the north end (3372 Devonshire Avenue, 490-4633) and the Spryfield Wave Pool (10 Kidston Road, 477-7665). Get the complete list by visiting halifax.ca/rec/Pools.html.
St. Mary's Boat Club (1641 Fairfield Road, 490-4538) offers kayaking to the public every Wednesday night. For $10, you're outfitted with everything you need to get a sunburn post-summer. Kayaking is from 6-8pm. Keep in mind it's first-come, first-serve, so arrive at 5:30 to secure your spot. On Saturdays, canoe rentals are offered from 11am-7pm for $8 a boat. All rentals are offered until the end of September, weather permitting.
Halifax Trail Runners is a local running group that takes it to the woods. Daylight dependent, runs continue until September 30. The group is based out of The Trail Shop (6210 Quinpool Road, 423-8736, hfxtrailrunners.com).
Halifax Critical Mass (halifaxcriticalmass.ath.cx) is an opportunity for bikers to get together, pedal the city, and just plain ol' vibe off each other, usually clothed, sometimes nude. If you're a fan of the two-wheeled whip, hook up with them the last Friday of every month. The mass leaves from Victoria Park downtown at 6pm.
Sometimes the mentality is created once fall classes come back into session that you can't go out anymore. (For those of you who are neuroscience majors, that shit is hard, and you're right.) But for the rest of us, patios stay open, even after August ends. How late this occurs is actually up to the Right of Way Permit Office. Patios remain open until late September, weather dependent.
Tom's Little Havana (5428 Doyle Street, 423-8667) will pour you a scotch in the sun, if you're keen on conversation. If rowdy is the way you like it, the Argyle Bar & Grill (1575 Argyle Street, 492-8844) has lots of room and a smaller clothing quota per person. In Dartmouth, Celtic Corner (69 Alderney Drive, 464-0764) has a rooftop deck and they serve this summer's much sought-after lime beer. Just make sure to ask the server for directions before hitting the staircase---I think it's two flights of steps, a left at the car park and a right at the magical troll with the unkempt beard and board shorts.
Something else you can hang out on the top of is an HRM ferry. These boats are the cost of regular public transit ($2.25). Want a reason other than the wind in your hair? Go to the new Value Village (375 Pleasant Street, 482-2600) for thrift store scores. Take the Dartmouth ferry across (from Halifax Ferry Terminal, 1815 Upper Water to Alderney Landing Terminal, 2 Ochterloney), then walk out to Alderney Drive. Grab bus 60 Eastern Passage. It will head straight to VV. Pull the bell when you see the big yellow box. The Woodside ferry (Dartmouth-Woodside Terminal, 3 Atlantic Street) will drop you across the street from VV, but keep in mind this is a commuter's vessel and only runs Monday-Friday between 6:37 and 10:04am, and between 2:52 and 6:19pm. The boats are bike friendly.
There is a whole slew of fall planting, making it a great time to garden. Though the sun isn't as hot, root systems and soil are warm. "People's planters will get tired-looking so they'll try to spruce them up with pansies, kale, or fall mums," says Halifax Seed's Carla Eisner (5860 Kane Street, 454-7456). Good fall flowers are tulips, daffodils and alliums. Bulbs like irises and lilies do very well. Also, garlic grows bountifully in the fall. So plant some seed and make some hummus, baby.
Jubilee Junction (6273 Jubilee Road, 422-6957) is such a summer staple. This little gem in the heart of the Dalhousie student neighbourhood boasts over 40 kinds of ice cream, any of which they can turn into an ice cream sandwich for you, as well as floats and milkshakes. YARD SALE
The first week of September is basically a yard sale free-for-all. Students are moving in, out and all around the peninsula. Any street off of Coburg is guaranteed to be littered with boxes marked "free." The advertised yard sales usually happen in the wee hours of Saturday mornings (9am), but since we are such a reliably hungover bunch, things usually don't wind up until the afternoon (1pmish), and Sunday sales are common too.
If you're under 25, although car rentals come with hefty premiums, anyone over 18 with a driver's license can rent a U-Haul (460 Windmill Road, Dartmouth, 469-4487, uhaul.com). So, if you've got a bit of extra cash, and are interested in driving to the coast in a cargo van or hitting your friend's cottage in a 16-footer, you can. You'll need a credit card imprint, and can book online. Don't be surprised if you pick yours up at the Salvation Army on Green Street, and remember to take wide turns.
Finally, in one final act of attempting to harness the summer spirit longer: Stop looking at your watch when you're walking to work or school. You know how long it takes after the first time. In the poignant words of Juvenile featuring the late Soulja Slim (RIP), "I can guarantee I see ya when I see ya." You'll get there when you get there.