Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Beachy, Beautiful Weekend

I have just spent two glorious days on the beach--two separate beaches, that is. I cannot remember the last time I spent two consecutive days on a beach. Needless to say, this is the first time I have sunburn in a long time--even though I lathered up with the SPF 45. Still, it was all worth it. Yesterday I spent some time with some girlfriends from work, and it was great to spend time with those gals. Then I got to spend more time with some girlfriends at book club, where we discussed The Devil in the White City. One of our members brought us each bags of Cracker Jack, since this confection was invented at the World Columbian Exposition in 1893.

At book club, most of us agreed that The Devil in the White City was not one of those books you could really get into and plow through; there were so many facts, you had to read a little, pause, and take some time to absorb what you had just read. Many said that the print in the book made it hard to read, it was so small. (As the book club's youngest member, I didn't have a problem reading the print).

Then today, I spent the first half of the day at Ocean Beach Park in New London, a return to my old stomping grounds. I discovered that Ocean Beach was just as nice as it was when I left, if not nicer. They're sprucing up and rebuilding the boardwalk and raising funds to renovate the arcade and the Sandbar Cafe. I wish I had taken pictures, but it felt so good to just relax in the sand. The one bummer, however, were the sporadic jellyfish that were in the water, a feature which is not all that common to Ocean Beach (at least the times I've been there).

From Ocean Beach, around 2 PM I headed to Sailfest. I stayed there for about two hours, then returned home, bummed that I didn't feel like staying for the fireworks. To be truthful, there were many Sailfest veterans who had come prepared to stay for the fireworks: they set up camp along the City Pier during the wee hours of the morning. They arrived with their beach chairs, food, and even pup tents to take naps.

And Sailfest organizers were prepared for these people! They took blue painter's tape and they taped a line along the center of the pier! Signs were posted that directed people to put their beach chairs, blankets, and pup tents at the waterfront side of the pier. Safety first, according to the signs!

And I especially wasn't prepared for the parking situation. New London is a city with an area of only six--that's right, six--square miles. There were areas with very limited parking, and it wasn't cheap. I parked in the cheapest lot, at $7.00, which was also the lot farthest away from the action. And I was wearing my flip flops from the beach, not the wisest choice of footwear. (My blisters from last week have healed, but now my left heel is bothering me beaucoup). These lots were actually the parking lots of various corporate buildings around the area, and they charged between $10 and $25 for parking.

I had gotten there at 2 so I could hang out for a while, then drive to Mystic for a while to spend some time there before returning at 6 to secure a place for the fireworks. However, the combo of expensive parking, sore feet, and crowds led me to return home. I know I could have caught the fireworks from Conn College or the Crystal Mall, but I didn't have much to occupy myself for the hours in between. That, and I was by myself, so it wasn't like I could ask someone to hold my place for me.

So, now I have experienced two occasions coming so close to seeing live fireworks, but barely missing out. I watched the DC fireworks from my hotel room, but could hear them, in full stereo, because my hotel was a couple of miles away from the Mall. I am bummed...but determined to see fireworks sometime this year!

Still, I've gotten more time at the beach this summer than I did last summer...and that makes me feel pretty good. :)

No comments: