Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The Beach in Winter
I’ve always wanted to have a vacation right on the beach. Although I have to be somewhere close to the world’s worst ‘googler’, I’ve hopefully searched beaches in various locations online for years looking for an affordable cottage where I could step out my door in the morning and onto the sand, cup of coffee in hand. But until this past week, the dream had alluded me.
Half of my family recently moved to the Boston area, and when I visited them last week, the amount of snow there — around 70 inches and rising since Christmas — was a novelty for me, and I quite enjoyed it (I didn’t have to shovel it!). Those who live there, however — and natives among them — are pretty adamant at this point that they’re ready for a break. So we (my daughter, son-in-law and two grand kids) escaped the head-high snowbanks of the city and went to Cape Cod for the weekend.
The Cape had received snow as well, but much less than Boston. I am not a fan of crowds, so a midwinter view of the Atlantic seemed to fit the bill, and this is the only time of year I can afford the rentals! My daughter, Mandy, an expert online searcher, found the beach house of my dreams. And since I’m now of an age to have a Bucket List and this sort of trip was on it, I was able to cross an item off my list.
The beauty of the beach half covered in snow and of the ocean in winter were breathtaking. But the most important thing was time spent watching the kids and their parents in their winter coats, gloves and hats out on the beach, just past the dunes and the snow line, searching for shells and building sand castles, climbing on the rock jetty, and watching my daughter, a nature photographer, walking the beach taking pictures. When I went down to the beach, bundled up against the wind, I sat for a long time on the sand and the rocks, soaking up the beauty. To my surprise, it was much warmer by the water than anywhere else.
A highlight was when we discovered that if you stand on the porch and throw bits of bread into the air, the space around you will suddenly fill with sea gulls, and they will hover right in front of you and catch their treats in midair! My grandson did this by the hour. And I got my dream of sitting on the porch in winter gear with my oldest daughter, drinking our morning coffee, the temperature just above freezing. It was fantastic.
I should let the pictures of the beach and ocean speak for themselves. But I will say that the people I met on Cape Cod were some of the kindest and friendliest I’ve met anywhere. We had one of what the grownups agreed was in the ‘Top Five” dinners of our lives at the Blue Moon Bistro in Dennis Village, and the Irish breakfasts and French toast mounded with fruit at Keltic Kitchen and at the Hearth and Kettle in West Yarmouth defied description. (Leave it to me to go straight to food as looming large in the ‘happy memories’ category.)
Although I crossed something off my Bucket List after this trip, it didn’t get any shorter. After I put a check next to, ‘Stay right on the beach and drink hot tea, coffee or cocoa on the porch,’ I went straight to the bottom of the list and added: ‘Do it again.’