Friday, August 26, 2016

In the Summer Swim

The view from the beach house in Connecticut (click on photos to enlarge).
TD and I have had a wonderful summer and have been able to get out of town a lot on the weekends. We used to go to visit my parents in Guilford, Connecticut, taking the train out of Grand Central Station on a Friday night after a week of work. But my mother has passed away and my father has moved to Colorado and the family house was sold so TD and I have gotten creative regarding getting out of town in the summer. Also, we have lovely invitations!

TD and I both like to be near the water, specifically salt water. Ted grew up in Atlantic City and so he spent his childhood on the beach, and my family took summer vacations on the Jersey Shore on Long Beach Island, which is where my great aunt Margie, who lived in Philadelphia, had a summer beach house. We drove to the Jersey Shore from upstate New York, six of us in the station wagon, and there I was introduced to the ocean and the soothing, calming sound of the waves.

Then in college I spent two summers on the island of Martha's Vineyard where I was very close to the ocean. I especially liked the "up island" end of Martha's Vineyard, previously called Gay Head and now called the Indian name Aquinnah, which is very wild and free and feels like the end of the earth to me. I recently came across this photo of my family on the beach there. This is from around 1985 - clockwise from the top, Eric, me, Cynthia, my mother, my father, and Thom.

I love to swim in the ocean and float along. When I'm in the ocean drifting I feel like I'm detached from the earth and earthly concerns and in the care of something greater, floating along in my life on my adventures and all is well. The water is a spiritual place for me.

One weekend in July, Ted's cousins the Pero's invited us to the Jersey Shore for the weekend and we went to the Ocean City beach, which is huge and wide. We spent a fun week there a couple years ago. It's packed with people as far as the eye can see having fun at the beach -

Another weekend, we took a ferry to the Sandy Hook National Park beach in New Jersey. On the boat ride back, this is the view as you return to Manhattan. New York City sparkles - it's like approaching the Emerald City.

Our friends Gary and David invited us for a weekend to their home in Fire Island, Pines -

With the ferries coming and going in and out of the harbor, carrying passengers to and from, the Pines really is a special place -

Southampton was the destination one weekend when we were hosted by my brother Thom and his family. We arrived on Friday afternoon and went promptly to the beach where neighbors had set up camp with billowing umbrellas and sheets for shade. I thought the arrangement looked very "Gerald and Sara Murphy in the South of France."

TD and I took a bike ride into the village to pick up some things. With its high green hedges and majestic trees, Southampton really is a beautiful town.

One weekend we took a subway and a bus to the beach at Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways at the end of Brooklyn, which we had not been to before. Another time, we took the train to Jones Beach. But the best part of the summer was when we rented a beach house in Guilford on the Long Island Sound for a week in August. We came in the back door and walked through the house to find this view of the water out the front (and at the top of this post).

It was a wonderful house and we enjoyed being there on the water so much.

The view was so beautiful that we could barely close our eyes day or night -

To take a break from the sun we drove one day to New Haven to the Yale Center for British Art, which has recently been renovated. In the Long Gallery (pictured below) on the top floor, paintings are now hung and stacked by theme - Landscapes, Portraits, etc., for a dazzling display of English art. It's a jaw-dropping room and offered the perfect combination of a heady dose of art on a sunny beach holiday. Admission is free. Do get to the Yale Center for British Art if you can -

Back on our little seaside point, we enjoyed a small community beach where neighbors of all ages came to sit in the sand and swim out to a floating raft. My brother Eric and his wife Tracy came out to visit.
At night we took walks around the neighborhood -

And tried to commit to memory the beautiful vistas

Summertime is a happy time of travels and get togethers, and I'm always a little wistful when Labor Day comes along. I hope you are have having a wonderful summer too --