Horseneck Beach, Westport, MA
Westport, MA is a seaside town in Southeastern Massachusetts. Horseneck Beach is a state owned beach located on the Atlantic Ocean. My beach memories of days and evenings spent here are endless.
As a child I spent memorable fun beach days with my family here. We didn't venture here too often when I was young, but when we did I loved it. Most of those days were spent with my immediate family, mom, dad, and two brothers. Some days were spent with cousins, aunts, and my uncle. The surf is typically pretty rough here, so we needed parental supervision. We would swim and play in the sand for hours on end. Our moms would usually pack sandwiches and tons of snacks. No beach day is complete unless you snack your way through the day. Just be mindful of the pesky seagulls. They are quite bold and have been known to grab food right out of our hands. Some days our parents would bring cookout food and we would stay for dinner and cook on the grill. We would pack sweatshirts and stay for the evening eating and enjoying the sunset. I would be quite wiped out after a beach day like this. There is nothing like the beachy feel at the end of a long day. Warm skin, salty skin and hair, the scent of sunscreen, and the lazy, relaxed feeling. When we got home we would get into the shower with our bathing suits on to rinse off. Then we'd peel off our suits and about half my weight in sand and seaweed would spill out. After a nice cool shower, time for bed. The chilly sheets against my warm skin was soothing. The best nights of sleep were after a long day spent on the beach in the sun and surf. They still are.
Once I got older I stopped going to Horseneck with my family and started to go with my friends instead. All summer long we went as much as humanly possible. Every day off was spent here with various groups of friends and man, it was serious business. We would take turns driving and paying for the entry fee and gas. Packing up took much longer than the days of going to the neighborhood beach with Gramp. I would pack my cooler of lunch and waters. My beach bag contained tanning oil, SPF 2 or 4, beach towel, sheet, and a radio or walkman. We had our “spot” on the beach. We sat there every single time, next to lifeguard chair #7 and this way other friends could meet up with us or know where we were. Our day pretty much went like this: Set up, spray body with oil, tan face up, go for a walk, tan face down, go for a walk, repeat. In between that we'd eat and talk to friends. Going for a walk was a big part of the beach day with friends. At Horseneck there is a tar boardwalk along the top of the beach. We'd walk along here to go to the bathroom or snack bar. Overall, I ate pretty healthy, but I couldn't resist getting fries or clam cakes from the snack bar once in a while. It was also a social walk. As we walked, we saw lots of people we knew. We'd stop, chat, talk about where we were sitting so we could meet up, and of course discuss any night time plans we all had. We didn't do too much swimming in those days. Most of the day was spent tanning and chatting. Occasionally we'd go in if the water was really clear and warm. Sometimes we'd just put our feet in to cool off. Our beach day usually ended when one or all of us had to head to sports practice (field hockey for me). We'd show up to sessions sandy, sticky, and tan. Sometimes I wish I could send some SPF 30 back to my 1990's self, but oh well.
During college my beach days at Horseneck were pretty similar to high school. Some notable changes were that my friend circle grew smaller and my SPF increased a little, SPF 8. After about 6-8 hours on the beach, we'd head home. We all went to our own houses to take a nap and get ready for a night out. I would again have that post-beach feel that I loved oh so much. I'd go in my room and put a blanket over my bed or on the floor so I wouldn't get my room sandy. I would blast the AC and watch Oprah or some other day time show and take a nap. After my nap I'd shower the beach day off and get ready for a night out, usually with the same friends I went to the beach with. We'd talk on the phone and plan out who was driving, where we were going, and what to wear. Of course we had to choose outfits that best complimented our tans. Most nights we went to Providence to go dancing. Perfect day with friends: beach all day and dance all night.
After college there was a little break from Horseneck as I spent many summers in Rhode Island. But of course when I moved back to Massachusetts, Horseneck became one of my beaches of choice again. I have countless memories of days and evenings spent on Horseneck with family or friends. I started teaching elementary school and had the summers off and spent several days per week on the beach. I also spent lots of early, early mornings at Horseneck attending beach boot camp. As a photographer, many photos were taken here as well. It has changed a lot, but it will hold a special place in my heart and mind.