This summer is all about getting creative in how we hang out. This week, we have how to make the most of your outdoor space, which is, with a bit of work, a decent place to spend time with friends this year. We’ve also got a good road trip for you, and some tips on working out in the heat.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and, as much as possible, it’s still a good idea to stay home.

Sitting on your stoop is a great way to get fresh air and see other people.
Cynthia Greer
Sitting on your stoop is a great way to get fresh air and see other people.

Your reopening questions, answered:

Plan this

  • We’ve got the best online events this week, including a 10-minute theater fest and a really cute event from World Cafe Live where kids perform songs and poems about their pandemic lives: inquirer.com/calendar. And our kids calendar is updated every Sunday with ways to keep the kids occupied while you work: inquirer.com/kidscalendar.
  • How to do summer better this year: Everything you need to know about making the most of this summer is all here in one place: inquirer.com/summer, and we’re adding more stories every week.

Do this:

Welcome to the new social spot: Our stoops, backyards, even fire escapes. With social distancing still the norm, whatever outdoor space we have is the best place to be. Elizabeth Wellington dug into how to make your lackluster outdoor space a little more welcoming, for social distanced hangs or just a little R&R. Here are some of her tips:

  • Think about comfort and utility. If you have the space add end tables for drinks and reading material. Be mindful of the space. You don’t want so much clutter that you can’t walk around. But leave room for plants. “Greenery is everything,” Blackburn said.
  • Get yourself some greenery. “The key is choosing the right size containers for the space,” Joseph Crescenzo, store manager of the Northeast Philadelphia Lowe’s wrote in an email. Pots that are too big can be a tripping hazard. Too small, your plants will go unnoticed. Try bright blooms like yellow daylilies or a flowering vine, like sweet pea. “These can withstand the summer heat or even the occasional drought,” Crescenzo said.
  • Your porch is an extension of your living room, says Jaimi Blackburn, a Villanova-based certified interior decorator. “It’s the first thing that people see so you want it to be welcoming and reflect your style.” So, Blackburn said, give it some color. “Pick a color that makes you happy,” she said. “I love pink and have pink flowers on my porch with all pink accents.”
  • Make sure you have a comfortable place to sit down, says Rasheeda Gray, of Jenkintown’s Gray Space Interior Design. Whether it’s a stoop, a porch or a yard, pick up seat cushions, or comfy chairs that will last the weather. If you don’t want to lay out the cash, use some old pillows or cushions to stay comfy, just make sure they have a washable cover. Pro tip: Keep cushions, magazines, chalk, jump ropes and citronella candles in a storage bin near the front door so you can get your hands on everything quickly.

More excellent summer-outside tips in Elizabeth’s full piece.

Know this

Gyms are still closed in Philly. But it’s really, really hot out. So, if you’re thinking of working out in the heat, especially if you are wearing mask, you need to be careful. Grace Dickinson lays out how to work out without getting worn out. Here are some important things to remember.

  • Think about timing. Temperatures peak between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Plan to avoid that window, ideally by several hours.
  • Hydrate early. Going into a summer workout dehydrated is one of the worst things you can do, experts say. Drink water throughout the day, not just before heading out. And remember, most public water fountains are currently out of commission, so plan ahead.
  • Cotton is not your friend. Go for fabrics labeled moisture-wicking: These are quick-drying, sweat-absorbing materials. And you cool down when your sweat evaporates, so go light on the clothing.
  • Running surfaces: Trails > concrete > asphalt. Pavement absorbs light and radiation and emits it as heat, so stick to sidewalks or grass when possible. Better yet, hit a trail an hour or two away from a city, where temperatures are almost always cooler.
  • Know the warning signs. If parts of your body start to cramp or you get a headache, you may be nearing your limits. Other signs include feeling weak, light-headed, nauseous, clammy, cold, and pale. If these symptoms occur, stop immediately, and try to cool yourself off.

More excellent tips on exercising safely in the heat in Grace’s full story.

Visit this

Need a day trip? Yeah, so do we. A few weeks ago, Nick Vadala brought you an excellent list of road-trip-worthy craft breweries in Pennsylvania, along with local attractions to visit while you’re there. Now, by popular demand, we’ve given New Jersey craft breweries the same love.