Having grown up in central New Jersey, I have always loved the beach. I then spent close to 40 years in South Jersey and raised my two children on the beach there! Traveling and workamping for the past seven years, Bill and I have experienced many different beaches – the rocky coast of Maine, the lake beach of western Michigan, the white, sandy, gulf beach of Sarasota, Florida, and this summer the huge dune beaches of Cape Cod. Regardless of where you place your beach chair, beachgoers everywhere share many common characteristics! This was evident today, as Bill and I grabbed a cup of coffee and a donut – yes, a donut – and headed to Nauset Light Beach at 9:00 a.m.
Those of you who know us, or are following my blog, are probably wondering why we have been going to the beach so early in the day. Our usual beach routine has always been to hit the sand by early afternoon and enjoy the day as it slips into early evening. Well, here in Cape Cod, if you don’t get to the beach early, you won’t get a parking space or may have to wait in line to get into what they call the “staging area” from which you will be shuttled to the beach – oh, after paying $20 to park! To eliminate that hassle we have gotten accustomed to arriving early and enjoying the beach until early or mid-afternoon.
So, as we sit, we observe others arriving and realize that this beach is basically the same as all of the beaches we have experienced. The water may be colder, the shore may be rockier, but the beachgoers are the same. Today’s observations included the following – tell me you haven’t seen these people on your beach…
- The family with two gigantic tents – a young couple with two small children, and one of the couple’s parents. Seems harmless enough? We had never heard such loud people in our lives…child screaming as mother tried – and failed – to slather him with sunscreen…grandmother wanting to take a walk but wouldn’t wait for her grandson to get slathered…father of two young sons sneaking behind the gigantic tents to steal a drag or two on his electronic cigarette!
- Looking to our left we spied two “full-bodied” gals setting up their camp! One spent 10 minutes trying to attach an umbrella to her beach chair – in between pulling her bathing suit up over her chest and down over her backside! Then the next time I glanced over they were shoving Cheetos into their mouths at record speed!
- You also can’t help but notice those beachgoers we affectionately call “shark bait” and just hope they have applied sufficient sunscreen so as not to burn to a crisp but hopefully to attract a little skin color!
- Dogs are permitted on the National Seashore beaches in Cape Cod as long as they remain on leashes, so imagine the canine scene – every type of dog imaginable can be found on the beach. I’m not sure how kind that is, especially on very hot days but will not judge since I am not a dog owner!
- Of course we witnessed the family horseshoe, where family members arrange their chairs in a semi-circle, complete with food, beverages, and several runaway umbrellas!
- A relatively new sight on the beach is the “Inflatable Air Lounger,” which can comfortably hold a family of four – I guess!
- Remarkably, here in Cape Cod, there are few, if any, seagulls! When sitting on other beaches in the country, there is an entire protocol related to these scavengers – put your small children under a towel behind your beach chair to eat lunch…take one bite at a time of your piece of fruit and then hide it while you chew… and the list goes on!
Several times in my life I have threatened to write a book entitled, The Beach Rules, emphasizing the greatness of the beach as well as the proper way to act as a beachgoer! For example, here in Cape Cod, as on many other beaches throughout the country, people have no idea how to place themselves and their gear in reference to others. When the shoreline seems endless, why is it that people plop themselves down within mere feet of other bathers? We even saw two women pick up and move away after a family violated that most basic beach rule! Also, here, where the dunes are so steep, you have to walk down a rather long stair structure to get down to the beach – the stairs are clearly marked “Down” and “Up.” Can I tell you how many people we witnessed walking down the up staircase today?
Don’t get me wrong – we love the beach and all of the oddities that go with the beauty. We had a lovely morning reading, chatting, spotting seals swimming in the ocean near shore, resting and watching our fellow beach bums! On the way home, we stopped at the Friendly Fisherman to try what they say is the best lobster roll on the Cape. To date, we have tasted several lobster rolls with the same claim – and our taste test continues!
All in all, a most restful and humorous day on the beach!
Stay Calm and Travel On…