|Pirates Cove Beach|
My husband, son and I just recently returned from a one month stay at the beautiful Rye Beach area of New Hampshire. A truly lovely stretch of shore line that is a gem among beaches on the East Coast. Known for its flat, packed sand areas that emerge during low tide. It is a terrific spot to build sand castles and dig holes, a favorite past time of anyone of any age especially judging from the array and abundance of structures and pits we saw littered about on the beach. In fact, to steal a line from an often quoted movie "Field of Dreams" "If you build it, they will come." I used that line on my son quite often since all it took was the makings of small hole to lure in any child within a quarter mile radius. Appreciative glances from sun kissed kids abounded as my son heard "cool" "awesome" and "whatcha doing?" so many times over the course of our summer weeks. It is a lure to be sure.
|Ty with one of his massive construction sites|
Now for me, the beach has been a draw since I was a tot running semi-naked on sandy shores from Cape Cod, MA to to Wildwood, NJ. I love the smell of the tangy salt air and still feel my heart quicken when we get closer to the ocean. Nothing thrills me more and I expect nothing ever will come close to a sun filled day at the beach. Nothing.
I am proud to say, I consider myself quite a beach bum and have perfected the skill over many years into an art form that is pure and true. For me, the beach means a sturdy, comfortable chair that is not too low to the ground (alas, my arthritic knees and ankles cannot move with as much ease as they did in my youth) a beach hat that covers my head and prevents my thinning scalp line from burning while protecting a good portion of my face and neck. I use one made by Scala, purchased on Nantucket last summer, that is broad brimmed, made of cotton, crushable, machine washable and quite frankly the best in my opinion. My husband favors hats made by Tilley, which are indeed excellent as well, just not my style. I have my favorite beach sandals or flips made by Reef. They are the most comfortable I have ever worn and if someone is in need of a bottle opener, the bottom of each sandal has one built right in. And yes, it has come in handy on occasion both for us and for other fellow beach mates.
Typically I also bring a light weight, waterproof back pack that is loaded down with canisters and bottles of sunblock, my prescription sunglasses, and books to read. Reading on the beach, if you have not done so, is quite simply sublime. I have read quite a few books this summer with a water theme no less: Linda Greenlaw's "Lobster Chronicles" and A. Manette Ansay's "Blue Water" were two of my favorites. Although, I did also happen to pick up a used copy of "The Perfect Storm" while vacationing and fell in love with its detailed account of that incredile storm felt by so many of us along the East Coast two decades ago. The book went into far more detail then the Hollywood made, George Clooney starring movie, and is truly worth the read for those who like me adore reading true, action adeventure. I love books that pit people against nature, be it on the sea, or snow covered mounrtain, I am in awe of natures ability to foil most of us into a false sense of security.
Lastly, I bring my boogie board. Yep. Fifty years old and still loving the waves! Although this year was made even more special by the addition of wet suits. The water in Rye does not typically warm up until August, so 60 degrees is fairly typical tempreratures for early summer. My son, who is lean and mean and carries little if any body fat on his torso loves the ocean but cannot last too long. We purchased a wet suit for him that enabled him to stay out for long periods of time in the cold Atlantic, so much so that my husband and I got jealous and decided we needed one too! So when my nephew came to stay with us one weekend, we all rented them, as a sort of test drive. Incredible! They made all the difference. We were all riding the waves in warmth and comfort that was so worth it. For those wet suit phobic people, it would seem that all the locals wear them, and to not wear one labels you a day tripper, bennie, or whatever term is used here in NH for those folks that do not live along the coast. So, I see a wet suit in my future for next summer.
|Ty and my husband looking very Rye Beach!|
The next best thing for all of us to do on the beach is to search for sea life among the newly exposed rocks just as the tide is at its lowest point. That is when you are able to find starfish, hermit crabs, tiny crabs, large crabs, snails, periwinkles, sea urchins and this year, to my son's great joy, an eel! All would be gently transferred from our nets into two green buckets along with some sand and rocks for the the comfort of our travelers. The buckets would be hauled back to our beach chairs for my son's temporary viewing pleasure as our rule of thumb is what ever you find gets returned ALIVE to the sea prior to our departure. I do hope this is a rule others practice as well.
We also bring along a few Frisbees, beach tennis and bocce ball for our more active times on the sand. I am confounded however by the vast array of sports being played on the beach. Everything from soccer to Whiffleball and football. All of this is great fun to watch but is most unfortunate that many decide to play within close range of babies, tots and everyone else on the beach. I saw more then one child get struck by a football. In fact, there was one uber mom who thought she could show off to her young teenage boys. She had a great throwing arm, but lacked skill at catching the football and almost ran down a tiny girl under one year old, sitting one the beach laughingly soaking up the sun, oblivious. Could have been a recipe for disaster! I was almost struck, as were friends of ours as well. So while it is most relaxing to head to the beach, you may need to keep your peripheral vision out for all the weekend warriors who use the beach as their personal sports arena.
Our stay was most restful, although it was tinged with a degree of upheaval and sadness. Alas, we said goodbye to our 16 year old beloved Siamese cat, Noah, the night before we left on vacation. That was so hard. We got word in the first week that my husbands mother has untreatable lung cancer which brought even more sad news into our lives. Next, my husband broke off a piece of his tooth eating a cherry that first weekend on the beach. I fell, or almost fell, (trust me, the sight of me almost falling was quite amusing as I stumbled trying to regain my balance) at a water park hurting my already sore ankle even more so. Our son found out he needed some minor surgery. (All went well, I am happy to report.) A friend's son came out of the water with a bloody nose, looking a bit dazed from his boogie board slamming into his face. Last but not least, I had my brand new body board, purchased that morning from Pioneers Surf Shop, mauled by a Pit Bull with me still attached to it!
Despite it all we had an wonderful time and look forward each summer to our time to recharge, reboot and rejuvenate our minds, hearts and spirit as only the beach can do for this family.