I love Georgia, as most readers know. I love the animals and the pastures and the cycle of births and seeing the baby donkeys, foals, goats, birds. I love the birds and their abundant songs. I love the flowers and the early spring and mild winters.
But one thing I miss is the ocean.
I grew up in The Ocean State (RI) where you are never more than 43 miles from it and usually a lot closer. As a kid I used to ride my bike to my grandmother’s beach house in the summer. As a teenager I used to drive with a car full of girls to Scarborough Beach or Olivo’s Beach or Charleston Beach…and lay in the sun slathered in baby oil to get a tan and talk about school with my friends. My family used to take summer vacations by renting a house in The Bay State (Massachusetts) at Cape Cod or Block Island off RI. We took Sunday drives to Newport and had to use the ferry to get there and then went all around Ocean Drive to see the Gilded Age mansions. The ocean was a huge figure and character in my life growing up.
As an adult I lived for the most art in the Lakes Region of Maine, on a lake and only half an hour from the ocean. A Saturday fun day trip was to drive to Portland and get a lunch and then go on to Pemaquid or Cape Elizabeth and clamber around the parks where the lighthouses were. Or to take a ferry ride on the Casco Bay Lines around some of the near islands off Portland, just because.
So being 4-6 hours from the ocean instead of 4-6 minutes, or 40 minutes, is a hardship. I do miss it. But I have my memories of all the oceans and beaches I visited, from the Bahamas to Labrador, to the Adriatic to the Mediterranean. Here are three favorites in photos.
Venice Florida is on the Gulf Shore of Florida, a state known for holding the southernmost point in the US, Key West (or really Dry Tortugas, even more south than that, another beachy place I visited). But for a long time I enjoyed vacationing in the middle western part of FL at Sarasota-Venice. Here is the Venice Pier, extending out over the warm Gulf of Mexico waters, in that special aqua color. The waves are light, the pelicans are lazy and the fishermen are relaxed. It is a soft place.
On the other side, we have the Atlantic. There is a harsher light, a sharper ocean, but so pretty nonetheless. When you’ve been at the beach all day and you just don’t want to leave, you linger. The sun is fading in brightness and strength. The warmth is leaking out of the day. Even the shrill and restless gulls are stilling. You stay. The sand is cooling and you dig your toes deeper to find that sandy, sun-captured warmth, but can’t. You drape a towel around your shoulders to stave off the coming chill. The waves are now wavelets, and the day is hushing. You know you need to leave. Everyone else has. Yet you stay. This is that moment.
|Myrtle Beach SC|
Even more craggy are the beaches at Maine and Nova Scotia and Labrador. I’ve visited all of these and the rocks and waves meet in an unending battle for sovereignty. Their voices crash and resound in opposition to the inevitable erosion, carrying the eternal battle to the whales and seals and puffins. These beaches are for the hardy, the capable, the enduring beachgoer. These beaches demand, not relax. They hide in fog and pound through storms. They are starkly beautiful and remain some of my favorite places of all.
|Jasper Beach, Machiasport, ME|
Ahhh, the beach.
Dr. Beach, Stephen Leatherman, certified beach expert, lists his top ten US beaches each year
Since 1937, Scarborough/Olivo’s Beach complex
Back in the day, macaroni picnics dusted with beach sand at Olivo’s