From the time I was four-years-old, all the way up through high school, my family would rent a cottage in Newport, RI every summer.
The cottage, unlike Newport, was not glamorous. We had no TV, no phone, no air conditioning. We traipsed sand in all the livelong day. We ate simply and, often, voraciously. There was no pool. No wet bar. No gym access. There was a tiny shower with an even tinier water heater and mismatched dishes that we washed by hand.
Those are my very favorite vacation memories.
We also spent Easters in Canada and summer weeks in the midwest. We ventured out to Arizona a few times and we explored Europe. Mine was definitely not a travel-deprived childhood. Still, those weeks at the beach cottage were arguably the most relaxing and soul-healing of any other trips we would take.
When A. was barely five months old, we packed up our little family from our Indiana home where we had just moved. We drove out to Newport and stayed in the tiny cottage we had rented right next to the one in which my parents were staying. My sister and her family were just a couple cottages down. Again, I relished this sandy getaway and watched in delight as my baby boy slept like a ROCK to the calming lull of crashing waves.
The next year they refurbished all the cottages into high-end fancy-pants accomodations and started charging around a grand a night to stay there. Instantly, it was totally out of our reach. Also? It was no longer the kind of vacation that I craved– the simple, soothing, not exactly “roughing it” sort of vacation that allowed me soft sheets and showers, but nothing truly luxurious.
It was sad.
This past Spring, we realized that we’d be able to take a summer vacation. My husband asked us all questions about what we wanted to do, where we wanted to go, what we were looking for.
My answer was brief: “The Beach.”
I had no other requests. When pressed, I added, “Proximity matters more than accomodations to me.”
We explored coastal homes, hotels, cottages, and condos from Nova Scotia to South Carolina. He researched and researched and researched some more. Me? I scanned the pictures to determine how many steps it would take until my feet sank to the ankles in sand.
We ended up here:
(The view ten steps beyond our stairs.)
(Gorgeous crashing waves.)
(A little sunrise with my cofffee, beach all mine.)
(The contrast of stormy sky and turquoise sea was spellbinding– and the storm never hit us.)
(The view from my seat at the kitchen table.)
I’ll share more about the trip and details very soon. But, for now, know this…
I was able to relax. To recharge. To find that complete and often elusive balance of peace and joy. I slept like a baby. I’d stare into the distance and just grin like a fully content puppy, lolling in the sun during a belly scratch. I was simply drunk on delight.
All because I rediscovered the beach cottage getaway.