High Summer

In the blissful quiet before the seasons begin to turn, take time to get away with friends, appreciate art, a good book or find true escapism in the beauty of nature.

“And thus, without a wing / Or service of a keel / Our summer made her light escape / Into the beautiful”

Emily Dickinson

High summer is a lazy affair: it’s blissfully warm but achingly slow. As the Sunday of the seasons, it marks that transitional moment before we begin the ascent into autumn. ‘The doldrums of August’, writer Denis Mackail once called it.

Many seek out cooler climates. Seaside towns and villages swell with people, while the usual humdrum of the city is replaced with an eerie quiet. In Our Beloved Month Of August, a film about a young director lost in the Portuguese countryside, precisely nothing gets done. No real storyline emerges. Like the film, in these months we stop and remain suspended, much like a pendulum reversing its swing.

Late July and August signal a time to centre and find a quiet reflection. Here, we process the year’s experiences so far, as we rest and reset. The Islamic New Year, which will begin on the 29 July, teaches this. The religious festival presents a time for Muslims to reflect on the passing of time. Later in the season, the Yom Kippur holiday sets aside a time for meaningful atonement and reflection in Judaism.


Summer doesn’t feel complete without a road trip on the horizon. For dramatic ocean vistas and swerving turns, we recommend driving up the Pacific Coast Highway from Malibu to Big Sur for the quintessential American drive. Or take the Hokkaidō road trip and explore Japan’s wild North. Either way, our High Summer playlist creates the perfect backdrop for roadside adventures.

The riotous Feria de las Flores takes place within Medellín’s streets from the 8 August. Thousands descend to celebrate the artistry of the silleteros or local flower vendors, whose artistry is celebrated throughout this annual festival. Watch for explosive displays of ‘staccato’ carnations, purple Peruvian lilies, and bright goldenrod. In London, Notting Hill Carnival takes place from 27 August – an all-singing, all-dancing celebration of the Caribbean diaspora.


Late summer is a time to begin thinking ahead to your autumnal garden. For a burst of colour, keep space for the golden hues of the sunflower, whose head follows the sun’s path. According to Grecian myth, Apollo, the God of the sun, punished his lover Clytie by turning her into one – and even in floral form, she continued to gaze at him throughout the day. Overwintering vegetables should also be planted out now – try broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts and kale.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the fifth season begins in late august. Late summer is grounded in the earth element and presents a balancing act between yang and yin energy. It’s wise to reach for those leafy vegetables – kale in particular – during this time to nourish the self. Look out for delicious Crab apples and Elderberries which are ripening in abundance too.


The exhibition at The British Museum, London, is a cross-cultural look at female deities who’ve ruled over 5,000 years of history. From Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, to the Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion, the show gives us a global understanding of the influence of female spiritual power (Until 25 September).

The last supermoon of the year sits in the house of Aquarius. As its name implies, the Sturgeon Moon brings with it gratitude for the large swell of fish that would appear in the Great Lakes. Look to the skies on 11 August at 9:36 P.M. Eastern Standard Time to see it.


The lazy heat of high summer is an ideal time to pause. Cities are filled with quiet enclaves in which to escape while providing plenty of cultural activity. In downtown Athens, boutique hotel Shila is styled as a late 1920s residence, but its library lounge and wild rooftop garden have a timeless charm. Hong Kong-based city-dwellers who need to recharge can head to Tai O Heritage Hotel. This storied site was once a police station but is now the lap of luxury.

For a Scandinavian getaway, try The Monica. Located in the old streets of Ærøskøbing, the luxury boutique hotel makes for the perfect base to explore the real Denmark. And with the hotelier herself in the kitchen, it won’t fail to make you feel right at home while being blissfully far away.

A good book can cause us to travel across time and space, as the heroine of discovers. This generational exploration of love by Jamie Ford, debuts on 2 August.

And what better way to rest and recharge than in the company of good friends? Scatter your dining table with the season’s tastiest recipes and wildest flowers for a high summer gathering like no other.