Beaching it up North

by Alice

The last beach I visited was in Naples, FL. It sounds tropical and exotic, but I think most of that is because it evokes the idea of its counterpart in Italy. If you’re interested, by all means, don’t let me stop you. But I much prefer the northern beaches of Long Island.

(Though before you base your opinion on mine, I would suggest you check out my friend Ed’s blog where he’s posted some lovely photos of the Naples area. He’s been there all summer.)

Last weekend, after a long Saturday at IKEA where people were pushing past me with all sorts of odds and ends (rugs, cabinets, trees, the list goes on), I needed a break. So on Sunday I took a train away from the city, and then caught another train….waited for a while….hopped on a ferry…and finally landed at Fire Island, New York City’s bohemian getaway (www.fireisland.com/history).

OK, so it took me a lot longer to get there than I anticipated, about 3 hours. And I’ve since discovered that a lot of beaches are much closer (Did I mention that Amanda picked the beach? I blame her for our tedious traveling), BUT I think it was worth it.

So Amanda and I arrived, wind-blown hair and sun-screened skin, to Ocean Beach, a tiny part of a very long and skinny stip of island off of Long Island. We walked past all sorts of little bungalows on our way to the shore, and kids were spilling out in separate little gangs, looking like they were up to mischief, until the 80-year-old local behind them called out “Hi Tommy! Hi Joey! Hi Ben!” And suddenly, as they waved and grinned, they became respectful young boys again, just walking down to the dock.

The sand was hot (as it should be), the water was clear and blue (as it should be but usually isn’t), and the lifeguards were attentive… to each other (as expected — why did I never have that job?). The high was in the mid-80s and not a cloud was in the sky, so we struggled to find a spot big enough for Amanda’s blanket, and we settled in for the day.

I felt like a local New Yorker. Here I was, going to the beach for just a day on my weekend, making intervals of tanning and wave riding, and ending it with a few beers, shimp and clams during happy hour before riding back into the city. It was fabulous.

Who needs Florida? I’ll retire to Fire Island where I can have beach and snow!

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