Summer lovin'

Our annual guide to summer in the City (and beyond)

Summer 2007 fairs and festivals guide

Guide to local nude beaches

Bay Area public pools

Upcoming summer blockbusters

Quick local summer escapes

40th anniversary Summer of Love events

The Summer of Love™. That's what we've been talking about round here. 1967. Timothy Leary. Flower children. Forty years ago this summer, it all happened here. The one summer that was officially about Love with a capital L.

But I've been thinking. Aren't they all summers of love? Mine are. Starting in fourth grade, with red Otter Pops, my condominium complex swimming pool, a pink and white bathing suit with the middle cut out, and my crush on Neil Malesich — who was short, yes, but could do a mean backflip into the deep end — I learned that summertime and romance are inextricably connected.

And not just in the literal sense of vacation romances and mini-golf dates (yes, I saw the Karate Kid). It's that feeling of infatuation and discovery and newness and nostalgia-for-the-moment about all kinds of things: your front porch or backyard, a slightly charred chicken breast, new flip-flops, new friends, mango juice on your fingers, blockbuster movies, mojitos, kiddie pools. Not just the first time either, but over and over, every year, as you start craving summer the way you'd anticipate the visit of a long-distance lover. Summer arrives, and it's all new again — the chlorine and the sunburns and the hot pavement.

And so here it is May, and I can already feel it coming: warm winds, bare skin against bare skin, kisses that taste like beer and barbecue sauce, music turned up and windows rolled down, sandy hands tugging at short hems, fruity rum drinks, block parties, fireworks glittering above rooftops. Late nights, foreign locales, hotties made even hotter by circumstance and sunshine. It's summer — and I'm falling in love. (Molly Freedenberg)