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.
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.