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You call this summer?

Families have to beach it when they can

Children enjoyed swimming at Buffumville Lake on Monday. Many of them said they plan to swim as much as they can before the start of the school year. Christopher Tanguay. (click for larger version)
August 10, 2009
As sunsets inch their way earlier and earlier, and advertising circulars and radio jingles tout the start of the upcoming school year, people everywhere are trying to squeeze as much summer as they can into the last month of the recreation season.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Massachusetts accumulated approximately 7 inches of rain during the month of June. That rainfall nearly doubled one month later, as July amassed more than 13 and a half inches of rain, stranding youngsters indoors during the months most of them look forward to as a time to enjoy the outdoors.

At Buffumville Lake in Charlton, Evan Gaylord and Jonathan Irish got in some late summer fishing on Monday. Neither Gaylord nor Irish are particularly anxious to return to Charlton Middle School.

"There wasn't all that much time to do anything," Gaylord said of June and July from a boat ramp on Buffumville. "There was too much rain, we couldn't get out."

In between raindrops, the boys did their share of hiking and camping, including a trip to New Hampshire, but even in the sunshine, the incredible rainfall had them altering their plans. A favorite fishing spot on Buffumville was off limits to them after the rain raised the water level.

"You couldn't do much, that's for sure," Irish said.

Evan's mother, Brooke Gaylord agreed.

"[The rain] kind of spoiled it really," she said. "They really couldn't use the pool."

George Snell, park host at Buffumville said, "On the nice days, we've seen a large increase," in visitors.

On Monday, Snell reported more than 400 beachgoers filtering in and out of the park — a welcomed change.

"June was down quite a bit," Snell said of attendance at the park that officially closes on Sept. 13.

Enjoying the sunshine on Monday were Janet Ortiz and her daughter Ciara Rodriguez, 10-years-old, of Worcester.

"It really [stinks]," Ortiz said. "The kids are going back to school in what, three weeks and there's been very little sun."

Joined by their cousins, 13-year-old Allianna and 15-year-old Shaquille Agbanyo, Monday was only the second time the family had been to the beach this summer.

"It's been bad because of all the rain," Rodriguez said. "I didn't want to go outside."

Allianna said the highlight of her summer was a trip to Six Flags amusement park in Agawam, but even then she was caught in a downpour.

Shaquille said that while he didn't necessarily mind hanging out, playing video games for most of the summer, he would have preferred a few more days conducive to baseball and basketball.

"Last year, I didn't stay away from this place," Ortiz said of the beach, saying she will most likely bring the kids to the beach again before the end of the summer if the warm weather holds out.

While Seamus Carey, also of Worcester, and his brother Cian said the rain caused them to miss out on dirt bike riding and more days at the beach, not everyone feels shortchanged by the pervasive precipitation.

At Cedar Lake in Sturbridge, 11-year-old Kasey Willman and her friend Emma Warren enjoyed one of many afternoons of swimming they've had this year.

While both girls said they got to do everything they wanted this summer — including a weekend at Hampton Beach — and did not miss out on anything because of the rain, Willman's mother Allison has a different opinion of the wet summer.

"I feel it was gypped because it was so rainy," Willman said. "I couldn't do anything with them unless it was going to the movies."

News staff writer Christopher Tanguay may be reached at (508) 909-4132, or by e-mail at ctanguay@stonebridgepress.com.

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