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SAVORING THE END OF SUMMER

Chances are, you haven't. So check out our list of summer pleasures to squeeze in before the school bell sounds. We came up with 25 ways to have fun, but feel free to add your own.

1. Call the neighbors on a Friday morning and invite them to a cookout that night. No elaborate planning allowed -- just hamburgers and hot dogs.

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2. Those fancy sandals you were eyeing at the beginning of summer are on sale right now. Buy them.

3. Sandals always look better with a pedicure. Treat yourself to one.

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4. Plan a day trip to Ocean City and spend the evening at Trimper Rides at the southernmost end of the Boardwalk -- whether you have kids or not.

5. Do at least one of the chores you put on your summer list: Shampoo the carpet on the stairs, power wash the deck or finish a craft project. You'll feel very productive.

6. Take in a double feature at Bengies Drive-In Theatre on Eastern Boulevard in Baltimore County -- preferably in a convertible. For more info, call 410-687-5627 or check out www.bengies.com

7. Eat breakfast on the back porch before it gets too hot, and linger over a crossword puzzle when you ought to be on your way to work.

8. Perennials are on sale everywhere. Replace the ones that didn't make it through the summer. Or better yet, open up a new bed.

9. Take a walking tour of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. Time it so you can see the midshipmen's noon formation in Tecumseh Court.

10. Can this summer's exceptionally juicy peaches in a simple sugar syrup scented with vanilla to use for peach melba this winter.

11. Go to the pool on a Sunday afternoon and leisurely read the paper.

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12. Visit the Maryland State Fair, check out the blue-ribbon winners and introduce your kids to barnyard animals. It begins Aug. 21. For directions, times and ticket prices, visit www.marylandstatefair.com.

13. Take the kids shopping for back-to-school shoes. Treat them to a McDonald's Happy Meal and a matinee movie.

14. Savor the sweet, icy taste of summer with a shave ice. A Hawaiian invention that shaves, rather than crushes, ice, it combines the delicate shavings with exotic tropical flavors like passion fruit. One place to try: Jay's Shave Ice, 2046 York Road in Timonium. For directions, call 410-561-0405 or visit the Web site at www.jaysshaveice.com.

15. Buy a sweat shirt in a bright summer color so you have something warm -- and cheerful -- to wear when winter arrives.

16. Eat crabs on the deck at Cantler's Riverside Inn on Forest Beach Road near Annapolis. Better yet, find someone who will take you crabbing early on a summer morning and cook the catch with you.

17. Enjoy one last concert outdoors on a warm Sunday afternoon or under the stars. Go to www.baltimore.org / pages / calendar_concert.htm to find a list of who's playing where.

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18. Lounge in a hammock and read a substantial novel -- not Harry Potter, The Da Vinci Code or The Devil Wears Prada. Or read an insubstantial novel, like Harry Potter, The Da Vinci Code or The Devil Wears Prada.

19. Sort through your fall clothing; get rid of anything you didn't wear last year, and make a list of the pieces or accessories you will need after Labor Day. Then shop the outlets on the Eastern Shore and Delaware.

20. Use the season's abundant tomatoes to make salsa; buy some blue corn chips; stir up a pitcher of sangria and invite some friends over and tell your family this was dinner.

21. At the last minute, go to the No Scalp Zone at Camden Yards, get a good seat and see the Orioles play.

22. Have a martini while sitting outdoors at Victor's Cafe in Baltimore. It has one of the best views of the Inner Harbor.

23. Get an Ashton or Butera cigar, go to Fells Point's waterfront and sit at the water's edge, smoking and watching boats.

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24. Head to Rocks State Park in Harford County, an 855-acre gem with great picnic opportunities. Don't miss the King and Queen Seat, rock outcroppings with breathtaking views. Call the park at 410-557-7994, or visit the Web site, www. dnr.state.md.us / publiclands / central / rocks.html.

25. Take out the sleeping bags and camp out in the back yard under the stars with your kids. Talk about all the fun you had this summer before you fall asleep.

Sun staffers Susan Reimer, Peter Jensen, Arthur Hirsch, Amanda Smear, Elizabeth Large and Bruce Friedland contributed to this article.


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