After a busy May, filled to the brim with cooking, baking and family work, June is here. The days seem a little lighter and airier. I let myself sleep in a couple of mornings and luxuriate in waking up without an alarm, daylight streaming in the window. I stretch and slowly start into my day. Stella the dog gets her walk and then we sit on the front porch or the back deck for a relaxed breakfast. Once the first cup of coffee hits, I’m ready for whatever the hours bring.

Our summer weekends usually start after our morning shift at the Goshen Farmers Market. The bustling hours fly by and pounds of cheese go out the door. Then it’s time to unwind, relax, put our feet up. This Saturday, we head north to the Fruit Hills Winery on the outskirts of Bristol. A musician is playing on the deck and the weather is perfect for a glass of wine overlooking the vineyards. We see old friends and customers and chat for a while with David Muir, the vintner.

The large wooden deck fills with people here to relax with friends, listen to music, and share some wine. Up on this hillside, Goshen seems a world away. With the apple trees and grapevines as backdrop, we soak in the fellowship happening all around us. Then we drive home and the hailstorm comes, shredding everything in its path.

On Sunday, we go for our usual walk/run after a leisurely breakfast. Then, we survey the damage and clean up the yard. We are looking forward to the early evening bluegrass concert at Goshen Brewing Co. The weather today couldn’t be more perfect for an outdoor event.

We grab the dog, our two camping chairs and set up in the lawn of the brewery. A multigenerational crowd gathers for food, drink and music. We see old friends and customers and chat with Alma and Jerry who are sitting beside us. The large lawn fills up with people here to relax with friends, listen to music and share some beer. Here by the river, Goshen seems a world away. We soak in the music and the community around us. And then head home, songs still ringing in our ears.

Two days, two ways. Both the winery and the brewery provide a gathering place for people to meet and talk and share. They bring music to a wider audience. They encourage community. It’s about the face to face and cell phones are mostly in pockets. And then it hits me: this truly is Goshen and not a world away. This is what brings people together. Let’s hope for many more afternoons on the deck and evenings on the lawn throughout the summer. I’ll drink to that!

La Bonne Vie’s Rachel Shenk has been an artisan baker for 30 years. Born and raised in Belgium, she has lived in Goshen since 1973. She has been writing about food, traveling and the good life for about 10 years. You can connect with her on her Facebook page, La Bonne Vie, or at her cheese shop in Goshen, The Wedge.

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