It may be only June 2, but I think it's safe to say (at least as far as the temperature is concerned) that summer has arrived.
The warm weather has brought with it the desire of many to find some outdoor activities, or maybe something to experience on those rare moments away from work or responsibilities at home.
We live in an interesting area. The Ohio Valley is a place with a series of smaller communities, each with their own identity. Each town, city or village showcases itself through a variety of businesses, attractions and events.
This time of year, many of those events are available for our residents and usually get pretty good crowds.
Yet, I still hear complaints from people, both young and old, that there is nothing to do in our area.
That, of course, is a misstatement. I don't know if it's because there simply aren't the events they want to see or if perhaps they just don't want to bother taking the time to look for some type of activity.
I can assure you, though, there most certainly are things to do in the Ohio Valley.
In our area, we have the opportunity to visit many communities within an hour's drive.
If you want to check out a local festival in the next few months, just about every town has one. Weirton and Steubenville each have celebrations of the local Greek culture, Wheeling has the Italian Festival, all of our county's have a county fair, and those are just a few off the top of my head.
This weekend, there was a chili cookoff in Wheeling.
Each Thursday there is a free concert in Steubenville, and every Friday there is one in Weirton.
Last night, there was the Brooke-Hancock Relay for Life.
In the coming weeks, there will be several motorcycle runs, many to benefit local organizations and charities. There also will be golf tournaments, also many for charities.
We have several youth sports available in our area, with soccer just wrapping up, baseball going strong, and football getting ready for the start of their season in the not-too-distant future.
The Millsop Community Center offers a variety of activities. All it takes is for people to take part.
Tomlinson Run State Park and Brooke Hills Park have pools, miniature golf, hiking trails, fishing and picnic areas.
And these are just some of the things within a reasonably few minutes from most of our homes.
Let's not forget Oglebay Park, where there is always something to do, no matter the time of year.
Grand Vue Park in Marshall County also is gearing up for the season, bringing back the zipline course it installed within the last couple of years. It's not that far away, and it could be a real adventure for those who have never done it, myself included.
We have several recreational trails for people to walk and bicycle on, museums to learn more about our history, a river to boat on. It's all right at our fingertips.
And, if that's all just a little too suburban for you, remember we're not too far from Pittsburgh.
In "Da Burgh," there is everything from amusement parks to professional sports teams, art galleries, theaters, museums, large concert venues, convention centers, etc.
For those "Foodies" out there, each town has numerous restaurants and eateries to sample, whether you're looking for a burger out of a trailer, a new style of wing, or some type of fine-dining experience. Maybe you simply heard about a new soft-serve ice cream place down the street? Or a somewhere with a more ethnic feel to it? There's a large selection in our valley.
The whole point is, whether you want to relax with friends, try something new or just go to see a movie or check out a ball game, we have the selection right within our reach.
So, instead of just sitting around and complaining, take some time to actually look at what our area has to offer.
You might just be surprised.
(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)