Before the husband and I became a couple, I enjoyed only an occasional visit to the Atlantic. He changed that for me, and love for the sea (and him) has become stronger each year.
Growing up in Connecticut, a trip to the beach meant driving down Route 9 until we found ocean. Public (crowded) beaches are what I remember, and that ocean is trapped behind Long Island Sound. We sometimes drove further east to the coast of Rhode Island. Finally – there were beach visits to Cape Cod, generally getting lost in Providence, RI on the way there or back. (No Google maps or GPS…) We visited the beach in summer most times – but when my in-laws lived in Chatham, Massachusetts for a year, one winter visit I saw surf frozen on the sand.
In May of 1980, we started our honeymoon in Old Saybrook, CT next to the Atlantic.
Once transplanted to Virginia (1989), we made a summer trip for a long weekend to see what this Outer Banks we’d heard about was like. Two adults and five littles (four offspring, one niece) in a not very large motel room with a pool nearby – crowded, yes – but we were hooked.
We had found our new Atlantic Ocean.
Some eastcoasters enjoy Virginia Beach, some head to Myrtle Beach, but we felt at home at the OBX. Yes, there have been a couple of years at other places – Holden Beach (NC), Jekyll Island (GA), and even the rocky shores of Nova Scotia for the daughters and me. Sidenote: After a few years, following some complaining from offspring about how b.o.r.i.n.g the beach was, they were rewarded with the Melting Vacation (100 degrees) in Williamsburg. After experiencing a vacation in one hundred degrees in a place modeled after a time with no AC, with actual ACTIVITIES they were forced to do, they were ready to return to the ocean the next year. No further complaints.
There are vacationers who fill every moment away from home with plans of what to see and do, but there are the other types of vacationers. The sort who walk along the shoreline collecting shells, who rise early to view a sunrise (with camera and coffee cup in hand), who occasionally head to a restaurant or a garden or an aquarium – and then return back to the familiar sound of ocean waves. Even those who do not sunbathe (or tan) can find a home at the shore.
During some of the annual visits, a rental house was big enough to hold more than the immediate family. A cousin, or a sister and her family, or some friends for a day or two of that year’s trip, and yes – old photos will show that there have been people along who have now become distant memories.
The OBX even became home to my engagement ring as it slipped from my finger into the sand one (thinner) year. (Mile Marker 10) Hopefully it became a treasure on someone else’s finger eventually.
Most trips have been off-season in order to more easily afford that oceanfront view – but there was one “in season” trip. It was over the July 4th holiday and the view of the fireworks while sitting between two distant piers was impressive – and loud!
This year, it has been a quiet week in a small rental home perfect for just two. The ocean and husband remain constant – and although it feels different having just me and him, it has been great. The grocery purchase was much easier. Yes, I surf (not on the ocean waves), he studies, we read, I take pictures, we walk on the sand, we talk, cook, and try out a couple of new (to us) restaurants.
I’ve suggested upping our OBX frequency to the husband since it’s just the two of us now … But…
… I ponder the idea of a family reunion here next year. 🙂 Those littles are now grown with spouses or almost spouses (and jobs with salaries – :-).
There are new memories waiting to be made!