Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Life in Beaches

My life can be measured in Beaches. Almost all (with the exception of the birth of my children and my wedding day) the special days in my life revolve around a beach. When I was little we would visit Rehoboth Beach in Maryland.

Image courtesy of Paul McGehee Art

My great-aunt and great-uncle had apartments right on the beach. As family we could rent the place for dirt cheap (the ONLY way my parents roll) if we helped clean the apartments at the end of our stay. Looking back as an adult, I was too little to help but I’m sure it couldn’t have been much fun for my mother. However, my memories of the beach were magical.

Then we moved to the Midwest and for awhile I was beach-less.

When I traveled to France at age twenty, I spent a fascinating and liberating three days on the beach in Nice.

My senior year of college, I road-tripped to Ft. Lauderdale with my college pals and spent my days on the beach drinking beer and posing in my bikini.

When I met my husband in college, his parents lived in Myrtle Beach so I was lucky enough to visit the beaches in South Carolina several times.

Sunrise on Myrtle Beach

Our first vacation together we visited the beach in Pacific Grove. Our bed and breakfast was across from the boulders with a room overlooking the shore. We left the windows open at night to listen to the susurrous of waves as we slept.

Seven Gables Inn in Pacific Grove

For my honeymoon, my husband and I visited three islands in Hawaii and I learned to snorkel and spent most of my days either in or on the ocean.

Finally as an adult I moved West and my love affair with beaches resumed. I did have to alter my perception when I realized that the ocean on the West Coast is COLD. Our first vacation after my son was born was to the beach in Santa Barbara. I have the cutest picture (not digital sadly) of him in his diaper and a little white hat with beach balls on it, squeezing sand through his pudgy little fingers and smiling.

Rio Del Mar beach

Every year when my kids were little we would trek to Rio Del Mar for a few days. Boogie boards, skim boards, sand pails and shovels to make castles and dig for sand crabs. Coming home entailed shower after shower to get all the sand from our hair but the inconvenience was worth every moment we wrung out of the trip.

We also spent at least one weekend a year in Monterey (arguably one of the most beautiful places on earth), crawling over the rocks and peering into tide-pools to search for anemones, crabs and little fish.

In the past few years, I visited the Mexican coast at Puerta Aventuras. The white sand beach of the Caribbean at Atlantis in the Bahamas.

The ancient fishing pools of King Kamehameha

The absolutely amazing Kohala coast of the Big Island where we swam with turtles and other tropical fish in a shallow reef.

And most recently, we spent a day on the beach on Tybee Island in Georgia.

The Lighthouse at Tybee Island

The ocean is integral and necessary to my survival. I know that I will continue to make visiting beaches a priority in my travels and I’ll treasure those memories just as much.

Hope you enjoyed this little road trip! And if you have a beach that you love and that I need to visit--TELL ME! :)


ps. I started thinking about all the beaches I’ve visited in my life and marveled that there were so many. I purposely did not read any of the other Pens’ posts before I wrote this. I didn’t want to be influenced or feel that I couldn’t express my deep love for the ocean because it had already been done before.

But what I have to say now, is y'all are crazy. The shush of the waves, the sun searing your skin, the scrubby roughness of sand against your feet. The soothing waves of ocean, walking the shoreline, searching for dolphins, turtles, seals. Scouring tide pools for the variety of creatures that live in the crevasses. The endless magnificent power of water and the sheer openess of the Universe. Sunlight and moonlight shimmering on the waves. How can you not LOVE the beach?


Barbara said...

Hear, hear! Up here on the Great Lakes our beaches are rocky but I still can't stay away. I need to look upon water--a bay, a lake, even a stream can set calm me.

Lisa Hughey said...

Barbara--YES! One of my very best memories of the beach on Lake Michigan is when I lived in the city with a bunch of friends. One Saturday, hung over and poor, we decided to schlep to the beach. So we hailed a cab, told him we had five bucks (back then $5 would get you somewhere), and asked him to get us as close as possible but to leave himself a tip. He turned off the meter and drove us most of the way there. :) We spent the day people watching and laughing.

Adrienne Miller said...

I'm with you, sister. I *love* me some beachtime! And I love Tybee Island too. Though it's been too long since I've been there. Ten years this fall. I need to find a way to get back to the south.

Lisa Hughey said...

A- Tybee was lovely. And we hit the day just right. That is my picture of the lighthouse from our spot on the beach and it was empty. We saw some really pretty (dead thankfully) jellyfish when we walked up and down the shore and I'd forgotten how WARM Atlantic water is. :)

Juliet Blackwell said...

Wow, love this! I wanna go on vacation with YOU!

Sophie Littlefield said...

funny, i have known about your love of beaches for years, but seeing the travelogue really underscored it! when i'm a megarich dude i am going to buy you that capitola place :)

L.G.C. Smith said...

I find it interesting that you love the beach so much it overrides your typical safety concerns. Beaches are dangerous, dangerous places. Undertows. Rogue waves. Slippery rocks. Selkies. Sea monsters. The list goes on and on. And you dismiss them all. That's true love.

Mysti Berry said...

I love the incredibly LOUD surf on the north end of Kauai (west of Princeville! Drive over the six bridges at least to get away from yuppytown. Not a swimmer's beach, but the sound every night, I loved it.

FYI, me and a bunch of locals used to go to a beach in Aptos and spend the day digging the biggest hole we could. That was it. Rio Del Mar is just north of aptos, yes?

Rachael Herron said...

I love the taxi/tip story the most. There's a whole novel beginning there, I think. Lovely.

Lisa Hughey said...

Julie--any time :)

Sophie--it was kind of amazing when I started tallying all of the beaches I've been to :)

Lynn--ah, this wasn't to say that I was Ms. Relaxed while my kids swam but I made sure they were really good swimmers and I watched with my eagle eyes :)

Mysti--we stayed at the Sofitel (which washed a way a few years ago) no good swimming but absolutely gorgeous sunsets. And yes, that is Rio Del Mar. It's a great family/casual beach.

Rachael--re the taxi driver, we were so tickled. It made our entire day.

Of course after this post and despite my recent visit to Tybee I have a hankering to go to the beach. :)

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