Les Vacances

Two weeks ago today, we were on the beach in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. It’s my third year vacationing up at Hampton with my in-laws, and this time the three of us stayed a whole week.

Hampton Beach is a quirky place. It’s a faded version of the old boardwalk style beach towns, in the spirit of Coney Island and Old Orchard Beach in Maine. What remains is an eclectic mix of families playing mini golf, swimming in the Atlantic, and eating fried dough and ice cream, and airbrushed teeshirts, piercing storefronts, and loud cruising on the Ocean Boulevard strip.

I love it. I do. I love the effervescent sound of the water hazards in the mini golf course adjacent to my in-laws’ rental. I love the sound of the tide coming in and out across the street. (Yes, the beach was literally across the boulevard from our front porch.) I love the Wednesday night fireworks, and the old-fashioned beach motels, especially the Sea Ranch, whose painted iron railings, and cottage-style motel court squeeze my heart.

Felix isn’t so much of an ocean man, but he loves the sand. Especially playing in large holes in the sand. This is what he did every day we spent at the beach.

He loved Blink’s Fry Doe. And mini-golf. And Memere and Poppa. And kite flying. He also loved hanging out and watching the motorcycles and cars cruise the boulevard.

He loved the playground.

Despite all this fun, I think Felix was ready to head home after about five days. His effervescence faded, his irritability increased, and his manners went right out the window. The final evening, I did the maternal walk of shame, weeping toddler on my hip, out of the restaurant where we’d been having dinner and back the two blocks to our rental. When we put him to bed that night, I said, “We’re going home in the morning.”

When he woke up, his first words were “Are we going home now?”

And while I love a week’s vacation as much as anyone? I was pretty glad to hit the road, too.

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15 responses to “Les Vacances

  1. that fry doe is as long as his arm! wow!

    the ocean is a great place to take in loads of effervescence.

    • It was pretty funny to watch him. He’d eat about half, and then give it to his Dad.
      “I’m all done.”
      I wish I had his ability to just stop!
      And yes, the ocean was excellent for all kinds of effervescence!

  2. Aw, I miss my house when I’m on vacation too…

  3. What lovely descriptions about Hampton Beach! (And lovely boy, too!)

    We’re leaving on Friday for a week at the NC shore, and as much as I love the week, I do also love the day we leave to come home.

    Your boy is wise!

    • There was a point on Thursday when Felix was behaving pretty badly that Mark looked at me in defeat and said, “Should we just go home tonight?”

      For the record, we only live about an hour and a quarter from Hampton. Early evacuation? Totally doable.

      Have fun in NC!

  4. Sorry it started to go down hill towards the end, but it clear he had a great time from those pics. He’s a cutie.

  5. I’ve done that walk of shame, too. Not the one people normally speak of, is it?

    • Nope. I felt oddly proud.

      “I am removing my son from this situation before his temper tantrum starts, so that you all may eat in peace. Applause, please?”

  6. As sad as the ending is I wouldn’t want it any other way. There’s something about homesickness that makes the whole tale so heartwarming. Felix sounds like such a cutie pie.

  7. What is this wondrous thing called fried dough? I have never had it. there is nothing better than dough..and frying it would just make it even better…it’s too hot in Texas to fry anything outside in the summer..I need to go somewhere that has fried dough!

    • It’s too damn hot here, too, to fry anything. Which is why you go to Blink’s Fry Dough where they teenagers fry said dough and douse it with powdered sugar and cinnamon for you.

      When the heat breaks? Buy some refrigerated pizza dough from the grocery store, deep fry pieces of it in corn oil and hit it with the powdered sugar and cinnamon while it’s still hot.

  8. one day I will retire to Hampton Beach.
    have I told you this?
    I have vacationed there every year of my life.
    its my true home.
    sigh. the weather sucked today. I miss summer.
    please delete this if I already commented this elsewhere.
    or? delete the least clever of the two remarks.
    thank you.

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