Beachy Keen

Meet my friend Nicole. As a marine scientist , a swimmer and native Californian, she knows a thing or two about beaches.

* * *

Hello readers. I hope you’ll pardon my intrusion into the world that is Hank and Willie, but our friend Anna is taking a blog break, and I have been given this opportunity to try my hand at blogging. I’m generally a lurker on this blog, but occasionally I rise to provide comments or request some help from “Anna the Wise.” You may remember a particular apple pie recipe last fall that was described for a friend in California. Yep, that’s me. And the pie… it was delicious, but I need to work on my presentation.

As for what I can to contribute to a post at Hank and Willie…Well, I have no children. I am not a chef. And photography, in my world, consists of pointing the camera in the right direction and hoping for a miracle. So, I’ve decided that for this entry I’ll focus on something that I know a lot about – beaches. No, not the Bette Midler movie that you hate to admit makes you cry, but it does. I was thinking instead of discussing beautiful, sandy beaches. It’s summer, after all.

Everyone should have one place they can go to, or some activity, that allows for relaxation and contemplation. Some people take up yoga. Others enjoy a glass of wine on the porch in the evening. I go to the beach. Being fair skinned, I’m not much of a sunbather, but I reach my moment of zen when I walk on the sand, listen to the sounds of the rolling surf, and pick up bits and pieces of marine organisms and debris. Thus, I am always in search of the next best piece of sand to stroll upon.

I have lived or traveled along all of this country’s coasts (yes, I’ll include the Great Lakes as the fourth coast). I have visited long, narrow beaches; short, fat beaches; beaches made of sand; beaches made of pebbles; beaches made of barnacle shells; and all combinations in between. I’m not too particular about what I look for in a beach, but the best ones for strolling have soft sand and plenty of room to explore.

Marin County’s Stinson Beach

I’ll give you two of my favorites. On the West Coast, you can’t beat Stinson Beach. Located just north of San Francisco, this long stretch of sand is the beach of my childhood. For me, Stinson is linked with happy days playing in the surf (the ice cold Pacific surf), BBQs, vanilla and chocolate swirled ice cream cones, endless walks with friends and family, and you can even bring the dog.

Napatree Beach in Watch Hill, Rhode Island

On the East Coast, I’m drawn to Napatree Beach in Rhode Island. A long barrier beach, once the home of fabulous beach houses—until the Hurricane of 1938—this beach has soft sand, gentle waves (at least in summer) and some beautiful dunes.

So, Hank & Willie fans, where would you recommend that I take my next walk? What beach has been in the back of your mind while you’ve been reading this entry? And, more importantly, are you willing to share its location with others…?


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15 Responses to “Beachy Keen”

  1. Sarah G now B Says:

    I am daydreaming about being at the beach now!
    Growing up my family went to White Horse Beach in Plymouth.
    My favorite beach now that I’m north shore is Crane Beach in Ipswich.
    Hapuna Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii is heaven.
    Amalfi coast of Italy has glorious emerald water, dark sand and Italian food. How can you beat that?

  2. Sarah Says:

    Darnit, and we’re still two months out from our next beach visit!

    Okay, I’m not a beach expert, so these are based mostly on sentimental reasons.

    * Rogers Beach in Westhampton Beach, NY. Best in the off-season (no crowds) or when the MTV Beach House is not in residence.
    * that stretch of beach outside my cousin’s beach house in Corolla, NC
    * beach in front of our hotel in Destin, Florida (that is some seriously blue water)
    * not technically a beachy beach, but we loved Hanauma Bay on Oahu —
    * also we loved that quiet stretch of beach on the North Shore of Oahu where they filmed the crash of flight 815 for “Lost.”

  3. Kate Says:

    Santorini, Rhodes, Mykonos…Sure most are pretty rocky, but you can’t beat a beach in Greece

  4. Mike Says:

    Awesome topic!

    Saquish Beach off Duxbury, MA. This barrier spit is still home to maybe 100 cottages, one of which has been in my family since Grandpa Ed built it in the ’50’s. Residents and guests only access in the summer (a restriction only made necessary in recent years by the SUV boom), 4WD or boat access only, no phones (including cell phones in our house), no electricity, 200 yard tides on the sand flats facing Plymouth Harbor, great for castle building, beach bocce, soccer, etc. Sand consistency alternates between pavement-hard and meringue soft that holds footprints six inches deep. Nighttimes of bonfires and bioluminescence. The dogs and kids run free and sleep hard. Can’t wait for our August trip.

  5. laura Says:

    Rhode Island and Nearby Massachusetts:
    I love 2nd beach in Newport–probably my favorite from growing up. For a cheaper alternative, Horseneck Beach in Westport, MA is great and I think it’s still only $7 to park, even on weekends! For a social beach side scene, the ourdoor bar at the Atlantic Beach Club on 1st Beach in Middletown is great!

    For collecting sea glass, Barrington Beach in Barrington, RI can’t be beat. It’s parking is only open to residents, but anyone can bike or walk in. I spent a lot of time at this beach growing up and my sister even took her first swimming lessons there. Water shoes are a necessity for swimming, but it’s great for little kids to play in the sand and water.

    Misquamicut Beach in Westerly is great in September when all of the crowds are gone. There’s plenty of parking, and the beach has a nice long stretch to walk.

    North Shore Massachusetts:
    Crane Beach in Ipswich, MA is my current favorite. If you’re willing to walk you can always find a spot that’s not crowded, but get there early (or late in the afternoon) because the parking lot fills up! Singing Breach in Manchester-by-the-Sea is really nice but it’s residents only so I’ve only been in the off season. I was disappointed by Wingersheek Beach in Gloucester.

    South Shore Massachusetts:
    Duxbury Beach is the only south shore beach I’ve been to and it was pretty good, especially if you know someone with a permit to drive onto the beach itself.

    When I lived in Greenwich I went to Greenwich Point Beach. The Beach and park is only open to residents and the town are Nazi’s when it comes to who can access the beach. You have to go to the town hall and get a beach pass which requires proof of residency in the form of an official ID plus a deed, lease, or sworn affidavit from your roommate. The park is really a very nice park, but the beach is nothing to write home about, other than being a great stretch of sand and shallow gentle water for young children.

    Groton Long Point has beautiful beaches too. I lived there in the off season and love to walk all the way around the point either on the sidewalk or on the beach. Stargazing from the beaches is great.

    Long Island:
    The best pretty rocks I’ve every found were at Orient Point Beach on the North Fork of Long Island (not far from the ferry terminal). There are lots of different colors of smooth granite rocks–yellows, peaches, pinks.

    West Coast:
    Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast was really impressive to this New Englander. The first time I went it was January and was pouring, but then I went back in July and it was fabulous!

    I think the most interesting beach I have been to was in Cuba. The day I went was a day off from work for most Cubans because Fidel was making a speech so we were surrounded by Cubans rather than tourists. I can’t remember the name of the beach, but it was only about 20 minutes east of Havana. The taxi driver who brought me to the beach thought it was very strange that I was collecting trash–I was collecting sea glass and some shells. There was a ton of sea glass and I was surprised at how much litter there was at the beach because all of Havana and the towns we went to were spotless (because the government hires a lot of people to collect trash and sweep the plazas).

  6. laura Says:

    And…Hi Nicole!

  7. JenBun Says:

    My childhood favorite beach was good ol’ Coronado island, right here in San Diego, California.

    And I will never forget my first trip to Hanauma Bay, on Oahu– with the sand, the reef, the gorgeous water, and all the brightly colored fish. A little jammed with tourists these days, but still beautiful!

  8. sheasy Says:

    I love Stinson Beach – It is close enought to get there and really enjoy it from where I live. Can’t wait to see what beaches are suggested.

  9. Anna Says:

    How much do I love commenting on my own blog?

    And this topic, too.

    Today I loved Echo Lake in Maine, and Wonderland on the open Atlantic.

    I love Chapin Beach on the bay side of Cape Cod, a gorgeous, tucked away gem that I discovered one year with the WM S92 crew–it was HEAVEN.

    Also love a beach in West Falmouth, something like haddies beach, or something?
    Guess it is good that I don’t know the name, it is that awesome. It has a tidal river up to a marsh that makes it into practically a natural water park, riding the current up and down with the tide. Plus a lovely shallow place for the wee ones protected by a sandbar.

    A beach I can’t remember in Maui where I saw a sea turtle, it was a teeny little sandy beach without a name, on the extreme east end of Wailea. Paradise. Also the end of the island past Hana, where you aren’t supposed to drive with a rental car, the part that all of a sudden looks like Ireland. Beautiful.

    I am a sucker for my hometown favorite, East Beach in Watch Hill, RI. The waves, the sand, the houses, the ice cream, the carousel. I like to be there for my August birthday each year.

    Also, Watch Hill Beach on Fire Island is amazing. Simply amazing.

    But the best one of all…the shell beaches of Sanibel and Captiva in Florida. The most gorgeous place in the world, lined with shells and sea life.

  10. Rush and Sarah Says:

    Sarah and I are partial to King’s Beach in Newport.

  11. Jess K. Says:

    If you park at Robert Moses State Park beach at the lighthouse (on Long Island) you can walk along the beach for about a mile, and there you are, right on Fire Island! Or, you can take the ferry. I love Fire Island because the beach is amazing and there are no cars or noises or anything. It’s the most unadulterated surf around!

    I’m feeling so fortunate to relate to so many of these beach memories! Even the “north coast” of the great lakes. I’ll also never forget the beaches and dunes of Oregon, Trunk Bay in St. John, and Oyster Bay in St. Martin.

    Oh and the wave that cleaned my clock last weekend at Jones Beach. Still have sand in the ears.

  12. sdh Says:

    In addition to King’s Beach in Newport, I love Popham Beach in Maine. Also love the beaches in Provincetown. There’s a great beach in Dennis, MA that we used to go to a lot when I was growing up. We called it Debbie’s beach because my aunt Debbie used to rent a house there every summer. I don’t know what it’s really called.
    My hometown beach, Minot in Scituate, isn’t good anymore because there’s no longer sand there at high tide. dang global warming and coastal erosion! 😦

  13. Mike Says:

    Can’t argue with Napatree…it’s pretty much my favorite place in the world — especially in winter. and i think it was cemented as my favorite when renee agreed to marry me there!

  14. Shannon Says:

    Hi Nicole!!!!!!!! My favs are on Cape Cod: Coast Guard Beach and First Encounter Beach, both in Eastham. I also love the beaches of St. John, USVI: Maho Bay Beach and Trunk Bay. Looks like I need to spend more time at Napatree (we usually go to East Beach).

  15. Fire Surround · Says:

    beach houses are really nice and it would always be a warm and relaxing place .~-

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