During my summers while teaching, I tried to get to the beach as much as possible. If it was a sunny day, I was either at the beach or at my parents' house enjoying their pool. Each summer I would buy a Massachusetts State Park Pass to use at the beaches, mostly Horseneck. I would go to the beach with either a group of teacher friends, my cousin Paige, my mom, my aunt Alison, or some combination of them all.
People often ask me what I do all day long at the beach. First of all, I need to have a good beach read with me at all times. I read many books all summer long. I also enjoy reading magazines. Usually Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, or some sort of cooking magazine. I love going for walks on the beach. It's a great way to fit in some extra exercise. Horseneck is pretty long so it's a perfect place to walk. I could either go to the right and walk over to the next 2 beaches, a private beach and a town beach. Or I could walk to the left and there's a camping area and lots of pretty rocks. I like looking for rocks and especially sea glass. I use the rocks and glass to decorate my home. I have collected sea glass, along with my mom, for years. It fascinates me that every piece has a story behind it and the colors and textures are beautiful. One day I went for a walk with my mom and my cousin Paige. We were looking for sea glass all along the way. We walked down to the camping area and didn't find any. On the way back my mom spotted the most beautiful blue piece of sea glass. Paige and I had walked right past it and did not even see it. It was huge, the biggest piece I've ever seen. I was so happy for my mom that she had discovered this gem. I actually ended up borrowing and taking it back to Horseneck one day for a “photo shoot”. It was just so pretty and I knew it would photograph well. I have a print of it framed in my bedroom. My mom has a print as well, and of course she still has the gorgeous blue piece of sea glass.
Beach chat is also a big part of the day. It's great to catch up and talk about everything and anything. Some of my favorite conversations ever have taken place on the beach. Some the funniest and some of the most serious. There's just something about the beach that makes it the perfect place to talk. Along with these chats, we also lunch and snack.
Chair #11 was the meetup spot during these days. I have photographed many of the lifeguard chairs here. I have a large one of chair #11 framed in my home. There's just something about a lifeguard chair that I love. I have one black and white photo of the chairs all stacked up to be stored for the winter after the season ended. I also have some taken during the prettiest of beach days. And I have taken some during sunset. These are some of my most popular prints, as well as my favorites.
I love going to beach at night. Sometimes my mom and I and sometimes some other family members would spend the day at the beach and then the rest of the family would meet us there at dinner time. We would play corn hole, go for walks, take pictures, and relax & chat. Everyone would bring dishes to share. Sometimes we would have a theme, like Italian or all types of salads. Of course beer and wine go very well with dinner on the beach. I have taken some great sunset and other beach shots during these family dinners.
I recall one day we planned a girls' night at Horseneck. My mom and I spent the day there and then my aunts, cousins, and grandmother met us there. My grandmother was in her late 80s at the time and I am still so impressed that she was able to join us. She walked from the car through the sand to our spot near chair #11. It gets breezy in the evening on the shore and she would get cold easily anyway, so she'd be all bundled up in the middle of July, but who cares? She was there to spend time with her family and we loved having her there.
Those evenings always flew by. It felt like as soon as we carried everything from the car and set it all up it was time to pack it in and trek back to the car. But it was worth it, we had a blast.
Throughout my life I always played sports, gone to the gym, exercised, and ate healthy. As I got a little older I found it a little tougher to stay in shape and I was splurging a little too often. I was going to the gym at the time, but felt that I really needed a boost. I found Doug Bramwell and he changed my life. Doug is a personal trainer and nutritionist. He set me up with an eating plan and weekly check ins and also got me to sign up for boot camp on the beach at Horseneck. The classes were at 6:00 a.m. The first time I went I was so nervous. What am I doing? I hate getting up early. I won't be able to keep up with everyone. Yikes!! Well, I loved it. Everyone was so nice, Doug is funny and motivating and kept our workouts interesting. The beach I had spent so much time relaxing and lounging around on was now my “gym”. We went running on the beach, did tons of crazy circuit exercises, had races, and most memorable, ran in the dunes. Those dunes were so extremely hard but I was so proud of myself every time I conquered them. The first day of boot camp I couldn't run from one telephone pole to another. By the fall I was running up to 8 miles. I even wore my bathing suit under my gym clothes some days and went into the water to swim and cool off after our sessions were over. I shed the pounds and had a blast doing it. I am truly grateful for those super early mornings spent at one of my favorite places while accomplishing my fitness goals.
I've mentioned many photos I have taken at Horseneck, but one in particular is very special to me. I love taking pictures of walkways leading into beaches. First, because they are beautiful. But secondly because of what they represent. It's the anticipation of a beach day ahead. It's not knowing what you'll see once you get up and over the dunes. High tide or low tide? Depending on the time of day and the tide, what colors will the water be? Are the waves big or small today? Is it crowded? I had not been on Facebook very long, it was still pretty new to me and my friends, when I decided to post some of my Horseneck Beach photos. I posted a black and white one I had taken of the walkway leading in. Many people loved it and one of my dear friends asked me if she could have a copy of it to frame and hang in her bathroom. Of course I said yes! And this got me thinking, hey I could really do this. With some help from my artsy, talented brother and his wife, I set up an Etsy shop selling my landscape prints and then created my first website. One thing led to another and my little business was born! I started selling prints at fairs and shows. Then I began taking pictures of family and friends, which led to more family portrait sessions. That walkway print will always be special to my heart and I take nothing for granted as I continue to grow and build my little business.
I have moved to North Carolina and my summers are no longer spent on Horseneck Beach, but I treasure the fond memories I have, enjoy looking at the numerous photos I have taken there, and it will always be a place to visit when I'm up in Massachusetts.