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The Joy of Living by the Beach

I grew up on Long Island, not more than 20 minutes from a beach or pier. The beach was a very big part of my childhood. We ‘lived’ each summer day on Long Island’s East End during the summer. Hanging out at the beaches in Mattituck. Friends of the family had a house there and we would use it as our base of operations during those summer days. We were on the beach all day long and we loved it. If we weren’t there we were on our sailboat. Sailing to Fire Island to relax and enjoy the ocean side of the island. Most of our neighbors had boats and we all seemed to hang out on Fire Island together. All the kids on my block were within a 6-year age range of each other and we all got along. It was a great way to spend our summers.

My husband’s childhood was spent at his family/extended families ‘compound’. A group of houses and land on Lake Winnipesaukee in Gilford, New Hampshire. He spent his time on the lake, fishing, going out in the rowboat with his sister. Of course, I’m sure getting into mischief as well. They both loved those summers. He talks about how he and his sister would spread Coppertone suntan oil, yes, oil all over their bodies. They baked in the sun. Yes, that is what we did when we were young and stupid. But oh, the memories. Childhood memories. Idyllic memories.

When I got married and started having kids, I wanted those kinds of memories for them as well. However, although we lived close to the ocean, there weren’t any beaches. It is coastline and harbors but not really beaches. We used to go to Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester, Mass. This beach was an hour’s drive away from our old home. But the difference from my childhood is that there is no ‘home base’ for us up in Gloucester. Spending the whole day was tiring and it just wasn’t the same as my childhood.

The girls frolicking in the water on the beach
Scooter to the beach anyone?

I was young when I realized the calming effect the ocean had on me. I remember getting my first car at 17 yrs old, driving down to the docks, rolling down my windows, yes, rolling down, I had a 1973 Ford Mustang, and just sitting on the dock listening to the ocean lap against the pier. The salt air, the calmness that came over me. I didn’t realize then that it would be the fastest and easiest way for me to get the calm back in my life when things got hectic. Just walking a few minutes in silence along the ocean’s edge does a world of good for my mind and soul. It gives me time to think and be alone. Some times I think we need that more than anything else in life.

Clint and I bought a vacation house in Vermont when we got married. To help afford it, we rent it out. Since the house is not ‘just ours’, we can’t leave our gear there. This makes the house not as inviting for me. Plus I was still looking for the water aspect. Yes, there are lakes but for me, it’s not the same. I still wanted the ocean. So when we started looking for a new house 3 years ago, I wanted to see if we could be close to the ocean. I’m honestly not sure how we found this house. However, we were able to find a fixer-upper just a 5-minute walk to the beach. It’s been an adventure. We still have a lot to do but walking to the beach and spending just a half-hour there sometimes really helps to reset me for another day.

snow angels on the beach in winter
A Christmas snowstorm. Ainsley can’t resist making a snow angel.
walk on the beach
A short Christmas walk before the craziness of the day starts

However, this feeling of being with the ocean, not just the calm but enjoyment as well is part of this town. There is a lot of history in our little town. There are a few Facebook groups for our town. Others post old pictures of the town most are of the beach or ocean. In fact last night I saw a great photo. It was an old black and white photo of the main town beach. Bicycles leaning against the railing along the seawall as far as the eye can see. There were a ton of people were on the beach since it was low tide. I really think the beach brings people together. A commonplace to sit, relax and enjoy each other’s company.

sunset on the beach
Of course, having sunsets like this doesn’t hurt either.
pizza delivery
Pizza being delivered to the beach by our local pizza parlor. Talk about customer service.

One of the first purchases we made after moving into this house was our tidal clock. Now that it’s daylight savings it’s easy to go for a walk after dinner. We had our ritual walk tonight a little later than usual but we made it. As soon as we crossed the road I could feel the salty air on my cheeks and the calm coming over me. Clint and the girls walked to the left in search of shells and sea glass. I went to the right just walking. Lost in no thoughts just breathing in and allowing that salt air to do its magic. The magic of calming.

Ainsley quickly found me and we walked on together, not talking but just being, walking. By the time we got home, everyone was calmer and more settled. A much nicer state of being. This is what the ocean does for me. I’m so grateful we moved to this town so I can have this peace. I also am grateful that my kids too are growing up on the ocean.

If you enjoyed this please check out my post about the simple joys of summer. You should also check out what the Travel Channel says is the best beach in your state here. They chose a beach on Martha’s Vineyard that I haven’t been to. I guess I need to put that on our list of beaches to visit.

Do you have a special place where you find peace? If not I hope this has inspired you to find a place just for you.

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Beth Shields

    As I read your post, I had to chuckle and reflect. I was born in Michigan, in the country and across from a lake. I looked at your winter pictures and remember well how cold and beautiful seeing the lake in the winter time. Aside from the memories, I think the best is seeing you get pizza delivered to you on the beach! Really?!?! True customer service for sure. Thanks for your post.

    1. Leeanne

      My kids love going to the beach in the winter, the ocean is so different when it is snowing. Yes, the pizza places in town and very accomodating.

  2. Kendra

    What a beautiful stroll down your memory lane of living by the beach. It sounds incredible for sure! My sister also had a 1973 Ford Mustang with roll-down windows. It was turquoise blue with a white top. I, unfortunately, got hit by another vehicle while driving it and it was totaled in the Fall of 1987. I’ve always lived in land-locked Colorado, so hearing your stories of growing up near the beach is so fun to hear. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Leeanne

      I lived in Colorado for 5 years so I know what it means to live in a landlocked state as well. I didn’t realize how much the ocean was important to me until I visited my parents for the first time after I moved to Colorado. I went to sit by the ocean and I realized how different it is inland. Still, Colorado is beautiful.

  3. Trisha

    Being from Michigan, we are never more than 80 miles from a Great Lake, so we LOVE living near the beach! (All of the beaches actually!) Now I just need to find a pizza company that will deliver to the beach! What an awesome idea!

    1. Leeanne

      I think if you asked a pizza shop that is in a town near a beach to deliver to you they probably would. People at the beaches need to eat too.

  4. kmf

    Ahhhhh…the joys of living on the beach. You are living the dream! It’s scientifically proven that the ocean has healing powers. I would love to be living and within walking distance of the beach. While we’re not near the beach, we do have a beautiful lake and beach just a few blocks away…and it too has calming effects

    1. Leeanne

      I think all water has a calming effect. I can sit by a river or lake and just hear the water rushing by or lapping the shore and be in the zone.

  5. Tricia Snow

    I agree with you about the joy of living at the beach It also has a calming effect on me. We go almost weekly during good weather to recharge and connect with our family.

    1. Leeanne

      I love that you finding it relaxing and recharging and that you can go so often. We love going for a walk after dinner too. Super nice right before bed to relax the girls.

  6. Pam

    How wonderful. I would love to have a beach house someday. You are right that there is something so calming about the ocean.

    1. Leeanne

      It’s funny that we’ve only lived by the beach for 4 years but my girls are feeling the pull of the ocean as well. We always come back into town by way of the ocean drive so we can roll down the windows and smell the salty air. So great.

  7. Alexis Farmer

    I feel you 100% on living by a beach! I didn’t live by the ocean growing up, but lived by the lake and realized how much I took it for granted when I got older.

    1. Leeanne

      It’s that funny how it takes up until adulthood to appreciate things like living near the water? Super simple but so impactful.

  8. Heather Jandrue

    The ocean does the same for me. I instantly feel calmer. I would love to own a second home by the water. It is a goal of mine in the next 10 years. I am so happy you are able to experience this.

    1. Leeanne

      Thanks. The ocean does have some magical powers for sure.

  9. Lisa Manderino

    I agree the ocean has a calming effect! I love being near the ocean too, I wish we lived closer!

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, but you still live in a very beautiful place.

  10. Kristen W Allred

    I feel spoiled living just a couple of hours away from NC Beaches. I grew up in Utah where I only went to the beach once in my life – that was a 12 drive to a beach in California. It sounds wonderful to have a childhood of beach memories!

    1. Leeanne

      I have to admit we loved going to the beach and didn’t realize how special it was until we all moved away. Now my brothers live on the coasts because they needed the ocean too.

  11. I’d love to live by the beach. Hubby…he’d rather live in the mountains. As a family, we’re finding out that we love the mountains where there’s a lake and/or river. Maybe that will be our compromise.

    1. Leeanne

      I agree with you, the mountains with water is the best. In fact, that is why I love Vancouver so much. It actually means where the mountains meet the sea. I know I could live there happily.

  12. Michele

    Living on the East Coast all my life we have been blessed to be near so many great beaches. The waves have always been soothing to my soul!

    1. Leeanne

      I am in total agreed with you.

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