Friday, August 23, 2013

A Week in Ocean City

A grand house steps away from the beach. (click on photos to enlarge)
TD and I are back from a much-needed vacation in Ocean City, New Jersey, where we rented a nice beach bungalow for a week. TD is from the area and his mother lived nearby so the idea was to spend some time with her but you may recall that she passed away very quickly in June. We were glad to go to Ocean City anyway and visit with his relatives and enjoy its spectacular beach.

Ocean City is actually an island located south of Atlantic City, which is also an island. Methodist ministers founded Ocean City in 1879, and the town is still "dry," with no alcohol sold within its borders. Ocean City is well-known for its big boardwalk, complete with an old-fashioned ferris wheel.

We stayed in the northern "garden district" where there are still many old homes like the big one pictured at the top of this post. Grace Kelly's family, which came from Philadelphia, had a summer home in Ocean City. Writer Gay Talese was born and raised in Ocean City, and owned a family summer home there until his wife, editor Nan Talese, unbeknownst to him, bought another weekend home in Roxbury, Ct.
We rented bicycles for the week, and enjoyed pedaling around looking at the  houses and gardens.

Some of the big family homes made quite a statement, but I also liked the smaller, simpler bungalows. Tendrils of green ivy were painted on the front of this charming cottage.

Many of the houses had awnings over the windows to keep the hot sunshine out of the interior rooms. Awnings came in many striped color combinations but I was drawn to those in tailored grey and white.

This grey bungalow had a handsome "pinstripe" awning, and the yard was surrounded by chic white impatiens plants. I personally like things to be simple like this; I don't like a lot of clashing colors distracting the eye.

We saw Ted's family on several nights, and it was fun to hear them recall old reminiscences. Every day we went to the beach which is long, wide and crowded with aficionados. Whole families, from great grandparents to infants, came down to the beach, with wagons and carts loaded with chairs, umbrellas, lunch, and all kinds of accoutrements. This community takes its beach-going very seriously!
A path to the ocean -

Stairway to heaven -

Clear skies ahead -

One day dark storm clouds rolled in but other than that we had good weather.

Lifeguards on duty -

TD pedals home from the beach -

On the beach at dusk – we are coming up on our 28th anniversary! 

The beach is always relaxing and restorative for us. And being with Ted's family, I learned more about him, even after all these years. It was a quiet, peaceful vacation; one of those places that was hard to leave, both physically and mentally. I hope you are enjoying these August days too.

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Trip to Fire Island, plus an iPhone Saga

Walking on the beach. Later I realized that is decorator Miles Redd in the light blue shorts 
TD and I were invited out to Fire Island Pines this past weekend to visit our friends David and Gary. You may remember we visited them last summer, and it was lovely to be invited back. They are wonderful, easy-going hosts and we have a very relaxing time.

The train out to Sayville on Friday afternoon was completely packed with summer travelers. At Jamaica we had to change trains. The conductor announced that we would be arriving on track 6. We were directed to cross through the train sitting on track 7 and board the train on track 8. Confusing! We pulled into Jamaica and several hundred people rushed along the platforms to make the transfer. I was ahead, TD was behind. I ran on to a car and found one seat. TD found a seat nearby. I sat down and reached into my pocket for my iPhone. No phone.

It fell out of my pocket on the first train.

I had just bought a new iPhone 5 because the microphone on my first phone was not working. Those things are so light and slim! It slipped out of my pocket. I told TD. I was crushed. Plus there is a sense of helplessness when you lose your phone, email, camera, photos and everything else that is on the iPhone.

In Sayville, we got on a little van to get to the ferry to cross the Great South Bay for Fire Island Pines. In the van, I borrowed TD's phone to call my phone. I was hoping someone found it and would answer. As I was holding TD's phone, it rang. It said "Bart is calling." It was a call from my phone. "Hello!" I said, "You have my phone." The guy said, "I found it on the train. Do you want me to return it to Long Island Railroad Lost and Found. No, actually, I want the reward."

"Ok," I said. "Can you give me your name and number in case the battery runs down on my phone." "No," he said. "Just call your phone back." He said to come to the Baldwin train station to pick it up. I told him I didn't know where Baldwin was but would figure it out and come for it on Sunday on the way back into New York. 

On Sunday from TD's phone I texted my phone and said we would be on a train in Baldwin at 5:30. The guy texted back: $50@5:30. Ok I said. I told him I would be at the first door of the first car for a hand off so I wouldn't have to get off the train and wait for the next one. As we approached Baldwin I was anxious. What if he hasn't there? What if he suddenly demanded more money? What if there was some sort of scuffle. "Spread out the money so he can see it," TD said. I took my bags to the door in case I needed to jump off. As the train pulled in to the station I braced myself at the door. TD watched out the window and said, "Here he comes, I see him." The doors opened. The guy was holding my phone in paper towels (no finger prints?). I handed him the bills and he gave me my phone. "Your security code is 1,2,3,4," he said. "What?" I said. The train doors closed. He had turned on the phone's Passcode Lock. I was very glad to get my phone back, and I will use the Passcode Lock from now on so that strangers cannot go through my phone.

In between the drama on Friday and Sunday, we had a great weekend!
Saturday the weather was beautiful and bright.

Volleyball game on the beach

A gorgeous garden along Midway Walk. 

For cocktail hour before dinner we went to Low Tea Dance at Sip 'N Twirl where fab DJ Lina Bradford was playing her favorites.

A blue whale on the boardwalk.

You can't help but have fun on Fire Island.
I can't believe it's now August already. Summer goes by so fast.
A hope you are having a good summer dear reader.