Thursday, July 29, 2010

Clementine's First Trip to the Beach!

I haven't been in the circumstances to be a "beach person" in so long it's easy to forget how very very much I am one. Really. I just love the beach. I was blessed with a beach childhood. As a Navy brat, the beach was never far. I was shoveling Hawaiian sand into my mouth before I could walk, or so I'm told, and after that was the Atlantic in Virginia, which I remember as monotonously same and without landmarks (not that I cared as a kid), and really really crowded.

Then, score: four years of perfect childhood summers (and all seasons, really) in Southern Italy, living two blocks from Serapo Beach in Gaeta, about an hour north of Naples. Every day at the beach. Every every every day. And yes, these were the '80s and yes, there were whispers even then about the sun not being "healthy" but whatever -- who could believe it? I was a brown berry of a child. The sea was warm, the Italians were wonderful, some parent or other could usually be counted on to spring for a peddleboat and if not, heck, there were cliffs to climb, grottos to explore, islands to swim to, castles to build, gelato to eat. Idyllic and perfect. My next beach? Not so much. Oostend, on Belgium's North Sea coast. North Sea? Not the Mediterranean. Moving on. High school beach: Huntington and Newport in southern California. Not my favorite, but you know. It did the trick, and had cute life guards, which let's be honest is a large part of what high school girls look for in a beach.

In college and came the shift to cold oceans where the coastal landscapes (Northern California and now the Pacific Northwest) became very beautiful . . . and very cold and very windy. I stress the beautiful part, but you know, that's not all it's about. The endless lolling, the sand-encrustation of childhood, swimming for hours and hours, drying salty, all that stuff, it's of the distant past, and I miss it. And I want Clementine (and hopeful future sibling) to have it, though with much much more sunblock. And doofy wide-brimmed hats they will complain about.

I didn't mean to go on about that. It's funny though, how easy it is to mislay a part of yourself. My beach self has been in a little box for years, and she's yammering for release. Mexico? Italy? I don't know. When? Not this summer, I guess. Maybe next. At least we got to the coast on a beautiful weekend, though it was far too short!

Our favorite beach town is Manzanita, about an hour and a half from Portland. Just north of it, in Oswald West State Park, is this lovely little beach, I think it's called Short Sands:

Clementine's first encounter with sand was not love-at-first-sight! It clung to her toes and fingers and it distressed her, that she couldn't wipe it off. She was not a fan, and stayed firmly planted on the safety of the beach blanket!

The next day, however, we spent a long loll at Nehalem Bay State Park, on the bay side (it's a sandspit with ocean beach on one side and lovely lovely river mouth on the other) and she got over her aversion in a big way. This little beach (accessed off the boat ramp parking, if you're going there) is one of our favorite spots: it's an alien driftwood landscape with a gentle shore, dunes on the far end, kayakers gliding past, and the town of Wheeler far across the water. Once we got Clementine set up with buckets of water and toys and holes to dig, she was entranced. It was so incredibly adorable that I forgot to take photos. Here we are, though:

And here's what it looks like in Wheeler, on the other side of the bay:

(I did a more travelogue kind of post of this same stretch of coast a few years ago -- check it out, me pre-pink!)
All the playing really tired the little muppet out, and at 6:30 on Manzanita beach, before we could even have a bath, conk! Out like a light for 13 hours!

Funny how carrying a baby has cut back my non-baby photography. All my pictures of this trip were of my sweeties! Or taken by Jim of his sweeties. Anyway, it was a lovely little get-away, but I'm still totally jonesing for a REAL BEACH VACATION. Though I can tell you right now, Jim, my love, ideal partner in all other things, is not probably going to be the ideal partner in a lolly beach vacation. Six years post-melanoma, he is understandably a bit freaked by the sun. Creamy little Clementine Pie has a life of icky sticky ooey gooey sunblock ahead of her, as it must be. I just wish sunblock wasn't so . . . so . . . you know. So icky. (Speaking of which, recent reports on how sunscreen is, amazingly, not regulated! There is super crappy stuff in it, including estrogen, so consumer beware! Especially for your babies, try to seek out the natural stuff. It's $$, but hell. Who wants to slather their baby with hormones???)

Okay, that's all. Cheers!

Favorite beach getaways, anyone? Dream beach getaways?


Tere Kirkland said...

What lovely pictures! That Clementine is a cutie!

I'm a beach person, for sure, but the nearest beach is Grand Isle, and that is unfortunately not good for swimming right now.

The last time I went to the real beach was Daytona in 2008, but we were staying in my grandparents condo while we evacuated for Gustave. Not exactly great beach weather, and not relaxing enough to be considered a vacation.

I was an army brat myself, and one of the best beaches I ever went to was in Italy, south of Pisa. Turquoise water, pink shells, soft sand, it was the best!

When I win the lottery, THAT is where I'm going on vacation. ;)

dawn said...

waikiki is beautiful...but crowded. we tackled diamondhead yesterday morning and snorkeling at hanauma bay is on the agenda...then up to punalu'u. so, we've got great beach time in our forecast for the next five days. thinking of the taylor clan this week. thanks for posting!

Amy said...

I love all the pictures, whether they're all of Clementine or not! Everyone's having such a good time!

I can't see people complaining about icky sunscreen without stopping to convert people to spray sunscreen. I, too, have issues with icky, sticky, runny, messy sunscreen. I hate it, and yet, I am vampire white, live at altitude and am all-around prone to burning. And I'm an outside person! What's a girl to do?

Those Neutrogena spray-on sunscreens really do work (and provide UVA and UVB protection). I use the sport one, and so far, I haven't burned through it and I haven't managed to sweat it off. And it's easy to apply to parts in hair, which are always the greasiest, grossest of all the sunscreen places. I hope that helps! Have a great rest of your summer!

xegbp said...

Old favorite: tiny little beach village on the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria, rented a second story room from a grandmother, that had huge wide windows with billowing white curtains and the smell of the sea all night.

New favorite: went to Cape Cod this July and discovered the atlantic, beautiful water, lovely beaches and quaint towns.

tone almhjell said...

Oh, Clementine. So beautiful <3

My favourite beach so far is Les Salines on the south tip of Martinique. A wide band of white, fine-grained sand, tranquil blue waters, palm trees leaning out to provide shade, fruit peddlers selling fresh pineapples and coconuts and papaya.

And then there's the little beach at the end of my mother in law's garden, not particularly pretty, but the view is nice and the water's warm (for Norway) and my Pan and I someimes climb into a little rubber boat and row to the other side of the bay, sunwarm skin against sunwarm skin.

Jan said...

Lovely! :)
I was also a child of the beach, and since my 20s have lived away from it and don't realise how I miss it, until I go back and the salty air hits me like a tonne of bricks, so to speak, and I get a rush of "home" feelings. A warmth seeping into my bones where I forgot I could feel!
I was so beach obsessed, all of my poetry and painting and writing in my youth was beach-themed, lol.
My beach was an Australian one. Southern Italy sounds like absolute heaven though.
BTW I love your pink hair, it looks so pretty on you! :)

Amber said...

LOVE tha pic of her in front of the town, in the grass and hat! So adorable.