An Atlantic Ocean fan

I got to the beach this past weekend. That’s a much bigger deal than it might sound.

When I lived in Connecticut, we used to drive two hours to a beach in Rhode Island. It was big, it was never crowded, and it was the Atlantic Ocean in all its wild beauty. It was our family beach and we loved it. We went several times each summer, and I often piled the kids in the car on a hot day and let them spend the day playing in the sand. They’d sleep all the way home.

I’ve been to the Pacific Ocean and even the Caribbean, and they’re lovely. But I’m an Atlantic fan. I like its moody, misty chill.


I went back to our family beach once or twice after moving back to the Hudson Valley, but the drive was so long, and the town had practically eliminated public parking. So if you didn’t live there, there wasn’t much point in trying to go for the day.

Now we are in the heart of the Catskills, and I had, to be frank, given up on the ocean. I’ve got my sea of grass in the meadow beside our house, and I was content.

But my son and his family live in Connecticut, and they invited me to join them for a day at Hammonasset State Park. It’s not really the Atlantic – it’s Long Island Sound. It’s tamer. And the beach was crowded. We didn’t stay long, and we worked hard to try to keep ourselves apart from the other beachgoers.

But that salt air. The smell of beach roses. It was like finding an old friend after years apart.

I love New York. I really do. But there is nothing like the Atlantic Ocean.

Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.