Beaches & Boardwalks

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Beaches and boardwalks … Can you think of a better place to spend a perfect, sunny summer day in July? I have been to many beaches over the years and one of my very favorites is in Ocean City, MD. My family and I spent a week there every summer while I was growing up. Ocean City is a resort town famous for its ten miles of pristine beaches off the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. It is also well known for its wooden boardwalks lined with a variety of restaurants and eateries, piers and shops.

My siblings and I played for hours on the beach building complex sand forts and then watching the waves rush in and swoop away all of our hard work. We ended the days with our lips blue from jumping in the chilly ocean waves, and sunburned faces from spending too much time on the hot, sunny beach.

Cape Cod, MA

After the sun started to drop from the sky and we were very hungry from a day of play, we would walk the boardwalk with our parents in search of a restaurant and to visit the many quaint little shops (the saltwater taffy and fudge shops were my favorites). Maryland is well known for its bluefin crabs; one of our favorite meals was fresh crabs steamed in spicy Old Bay seasoning, then poured onto a newspaper-covered table and ready for us to crack open. Crab cakes served on a toasted bun were also a favorite.

Mornings in Ocean City were always very special. After the tide rolled out, the beach was covered in seashells. We would get up very early and head to the water with our sand buckets to comb the beach in a sibling contest to find the most beautiful shells.

Another beach I fell in love with during a family vacation was in Cape Cod, MA. I loved watching waves crash over huge boulders on the beach near the cottage where we stayed. In the morning, we set out lobster traps in the ocean and then, enjoyed eating steamed lobsters dripping with butter for dinner. We also enjoyed clambakes – cooking clams, mussels, you name it – right on the beach, steamed on fire-heated stones covered in seaweed.

One of my very favorite East Coast beaches, however, is in Pensacola, FL where the sand is as white as Michigan snow and the ocean is warm. One summer, we visited my grandson, Mack, who was stationed at the Pensacola NAS. Along with some of his fellow Marines, we enjoyed a beautiful beach day near the pier. As the sun was setting and the sky glowed a deep orange, yellow and red, the Blue Angels flew over us as they headed back to their home base. What a sight!

While I miss the sound of crashing waves and the salty Atlantic water, I am now quite a fan of beaches right here in Michigan, especially those on the Great Lakes. Every year, my family and I return to a cottage by Lake Huron on the sunrise side of the state. And it’s almost impossible to describe the beauty of Lake Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – a stunning 35-mile stretch of the eastern coastline.

Yes, some of my most beloved memories are of beaches and boardwalks. I will continue to make memories on the shores with my grandchildren and maybe even one day, with my great-grandchildren.

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