Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bye-bye summer

Labor Day seemed to really mark the end of summer - schools opened again, some leaves are already hinting at their fall glamor, our local "beach" was pad-locked and the days are growing shorter.

There was much to enjoy - the New England love for ice cream being one! As you drive along the winding roads, you're certain to run into a local ice cream stand often founded as a corollary to the diary farm. Usually just a small building marked by an over-flowing parking lot and lines of people in front of windows surrounded by huge boards filled with scores of ice cream flavors. Nearby our home, we went to the Bedford Farms Ice Cream stand where Peanut carefully balanced her own cone of "pink ice cream" as it slowly shrank in size. For the record, she nearly finished it all by herself!

The region is dotted with lakes and I was surprised to find so many with beaches -- on the map, at least! It turned out that many beaches are owned by the local community in which they fall and are closed to outside visitors. Only town residents can come splash and play. We were fortunate that down the road from our apartment was a 'pay & play' beach. Its just a small strip of sand on a lake, but when you're Peanut's size, that's all you really need to make it a beach. For $3 (paid to the lifeguards), we all got a spot on the sand. We arrived in the evening so we had the beach all to ourselves.

Little Tex spent his beach days lounging in our portable, pop-up baby cabana to protect him from the sun. I'm pretty fanatical about keeping Peanut coated in sunblock and Tex hidden in the shade since we come from such Northern backgrounds.

One lesson I'll remember for next summer is also about coastal beaches where parking is often limited to residents or priced up to $25/day -- either get there super early or invest in a regional beach parking pass. For example, by joining the Crane Beach Trustees for $150/year, you can get free admission to the beach for 4 family members. Coming from a part of Florida where our beaches were all free, its still a hard nut to swallow. Contrast it even further with Finland's idea of 'Everyman's Right' and it seems down right outrageous to charge such sums for public access!

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