For our outing this weekend, we decided to go to the beach. Yes, Connecticut has beaches! It's on the Long Island Sound, and while most of the beaches are private, there are some public ones as well. Being the researchers that I am, I searched online, and found a site that described all the beaches. We picked Rocky Neck State Park, because they said it had soft white sand and shallow water so it was good for kids. I guess the other beaches are much more rocky and less comfortable to sit on. They also said it never got as crowded even in the busy summer months. Well, I'd hate to see the other beaches, because this was what it was like:
Check out my handsome husband in the foreground ;-) I don't think the picture does it justice, but it was packed. People had their blankets/umbrellas set up just a few yards apart. And people brought everything, not just blankets, umbrellas, and coolers, but we saw 2 people hauling in gas grills! Full size ones, like you'd have on your patio! I've never seen anything like it.
See, I grew up in Pensacola, Florida, and while I've often made fun of it (well, it is known as the Redneck Riviera) and taken it for granted, I realize now that it was pretty awesome. The beaches were actually white, like pure sugar. I can't believe that website described the beach we went to as having white sand. If it was ever white, then it must be really dirty now, as you can see by the pictures! I hate to think what made it turn brown! On the Northwest Florida beaches, you never have to sit right next to strangers. There'd be 100s of feet between blankets. See, here are a few random photos I found online (I don't have any of my old photos with me in CT, they're all stored away in Iowa):
Sure, it might get more crowded than that during Spring Break, but typically the most crowded it'd get is like the 2nd photo. I guess there is just so much beach that it was easy to find uncrowded spots, like the 1st photo. So as we sat on the crowded, noisy beach, trying to get a peek at the water, not wanting to leave our blanket together for fear of getting our stuff swiped, I was a bit nostalgic for the beaches of my childhood. The ones I took so much for granted that I remember visits home from college where I wouldn't even go to the beach. It was just there. I'd love to show Oliver those white soft sandy beaches and that beautiful water someday!
Still, Oliver didn't know the difference, and he had fun regardless. At first, he was not enjoying the sand. He kept showing me his hand asking me to brush the sand off. That'll make for a long day! Then I got him settled with his snack so he could just sit on the blanket and check things out:
Then Daddy got him used to the sand by burying his feet in it. Check out the look on his face, like "What have you done to me?"
You can just barely make out the water behind him. Then they made sand castles and that was it, he loved the sand:
The non-white sand. Marty & Oliver did check out the water a few times, but reported back that it was pretty cold, so I didn't go in. I'd say we lasted maybe an hour, hour and a half tops on our beach visit. They did have a building with showers so we were able to get a little cleaned up and went to lunch at an overpriced diner not far away. It took about an hour do drive to the beach and an hour back, and on the way back I-95 was completely stopped going the other direction, for at least 20 miles. We are very lucky we didn't get stuck in that! We'll have to be careful about where we go on these busy summer weekends, because my nightmare is getting stuck on the interstate with a toddler.
I'm not sure the day was worth it overall. It was a lot of driving for a so-so visit. It wasn't relaxing. But it was an experience, and now we know what the Connecticut beaches are like. Please, if I have any Connecticut readers, don't take offense. I think if we went on a less busy weekend, it would have been much more enjoyable. I'm really not big on crowds, and it was just such a different experience than what I'm used to at the beach. It did inspire Marty. Now he wants to build his dream home on the beach...in Florida.