By SOPHIA BAUER
Staying in Mt. Pleasant for the summer is entirely worth it, as the town clears out, businesses and bars become relaxed and casual, and there are a number of summer festivals and outdoor activities for locals and students alike to enjoy.
“The Bird is amazing in the summer. Whether you’re 21 or not, the Bird offers something for everything,” says local Mt. Pleasant resident Sarah Winchester, who has spent several summers in Mt. Pleasant.
During the day, The Bird Bar & Grill serves a good, all-American style menu. In the evening, it is a far cry from the packed nights of the school year. Located at 223 S. Main, the Bird is pleasantly empty, allowing patrons to truly enjoy a relaxed atmosphere while they have a beer. Many locals and older CMU students who have previously enjoyed Mt. Pleasant summers agree that the Bird is one of the best parts of the summer.
Another summer treasure is Doozie’s, a locally owned seasonal ice cream shop located on Pickard, across from Ponderosa. Winchester says her favorite item of Doozie’s is the arctic freeze, but be sure to bring cash, as they don’t take credit cards.
The Downtown Drugs Soda Shoppe is another hidden gem in Mt. Pleasant. Located on Broadway between Max and Emily’s and Jimmy John’s, the Soda Shoppe is an old-fashioned drugstore with a soda counter. They serve sandwiches, floats, shakes, malts, and more, all reasonably priced and delicious.
Finally, Kaya Coffee House offers summer hours. Across from the Malt Shop on University, Kaya offers a wide range of coffee, tea and food. In the summer, Kaya is usually relaxed and empty, and it offers plenty of excellent summer refreshment, such as their Espresso Shake and a variety of iced teas.
Kaya: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. weekdays
9 a.m. – 7 p.m. weekends
Doozie’s: 2 – 10 p.m.
The Soda Shoppe: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The Bird: 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 a.m.
During the summer, Mt. Pleasant is home to a number of activities and festivals. The local Farmer’s Market begins in June, running until October. Held at Island Park every Thursday and the Town Center in downtown Mt. Pleasant every Saturday, the Farmer’s Market offers a wide range of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and crafts.
Parks and Tubing
Mt. Pleasant contains an expansive park system, a feature that everyone should take advantage of during the summer. Island Park, Nelson Park and Mill Pond are connected through paved paths and winding trails. Each park provides its own entertainment.
Mill Pond is a popular swimming location. Island Park contains a skate park, a playground, outdoor seating, baseball fields, and the popular Splash Park, among other features. During the summer, the parks offer many outlets for outdoor play, as well as adult softball leagues, for which information can be found on mt-pleasant.org.
By far one of the most popular features of summer in Mt. Pleasant is tubing. There are many tubing routes. The most popular runs from Chip Waters to Island Park, a route of about an hour and a half to two hours. Considered by many to be the most entertaining route, it spans two passages of rapids and travels underneath a train bridge, from which people frequently jump into the water.
Two cars are an advantage for tubing, to park at each end of the route in order to avoid having to walk long distances back to the car. Popular places to start a tubing journey include Deerfield Park, Chip-A- Waters, Lincoln Road Bridge, and Meridian Road Bridge. Most routes can be ended at Island Park, but an infinite amount of routes can be formed and tubers can get off anywhere along the way. Tube routes can span anywhere from an hour to eight hours, depending on where one gets on and off. The longest route is from Deerfield Park to Island Park, taking about eight to 10 hours.
For those new to tubing, the most important aspect is the tube itself. “You should not buy a River Rat tube,” says Winchester. “It’s a good investment to buy a nice tube, because trust me, it really sucks when you’re 25 minutes into a four-hour tubing trip and your tube pops.” Winchester prefers a River Run tube; they are of good quality. She says hers has lasted three years.
Winchester recommends bringing beverages, an inflatable cooler, and a pair of shoes. A water-safe container is also a good idea to hold items such as cell phones, lighters, cigarettes, and a dry towel for hands.
“Summer in Mt. Pleasant is an experience that you can’t have during the school year,” Winchester says. “Everything is new and fresh, and you get to experience everything all over again, from a whole new perspective.”