The Surprising Beauty of Crane Beach

The Surprising Beauty of Crane Beach

Castle Hill above Crane Beach derives its history from December 29, 1634, when a group of Ipswich town men voted “that the Neck of Land wheareuppon the great Hill standeth, which is known by the name of the Castle Hill, lyeinge on the other side of this River towards the Sea, shall remayne unto the common use of the Towne forever.” – Wikipedia, Castle Hill above Ipswich, Massachusetts     I missed posting here last week, but it was a busy week — two of my sons and I traveled to Boston to be with the closest of friends, ones who-are-like-family who live there now. It was a wonderful time. We had the chance to travel to Crane Beach near Ipswich, Massachusetts for a day. There were so many other things we enjoyed during our week in Boston, including paddleboarding on the Charles River, and a U2 concert (which was out of this world), but my photographs from Crane Beach are ones I have to share. Crane Beach, Massachusetts We drove out on a Tuesday after July 4th weekend, a day which was forecast for rain. The weather turned out to be incredibly clear and sunny, until about the time we left in late afternoon. I’ve spent a day on Crane Beach 15 years ago, and the experience was nice, but the beach was very crowded — probably the most crowded beach I’ve ever seen. This time, however, Crane Beach was empty. And the skies were so blue. The sand, white. The water, warm-ish and clear. It all was unexpected, a surprise. My boys and I enjoyed every minute,...
Little Gasparilla Island, Florida: a Photojournal

Little Gasparilla Island, Florida: a Photojournal

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. – unknown This was me all last week (below). Toes in sand, sun overhead, aquamarine waters stretched out as far as I could see. I spent a week on a small island south of Sarasota, Florida, for my boys’ spring break from school. When I planned it only weeks ago, I thought the island would be perfect, a way to get away from it all, a retreat. The island has no bridge, no stores, no restaurants — nothing but spread-out houses, sand, pristine water, a state park full of wildlife, and gazillions of shells. We arrived by water taxi toting a week worth of food along with our other essentials. If my boys were worried about running out of food, I was even more nervous about getting it there — coolers, endless bags, enough to feed 3 teenage boys for the week — but we did it. It worked out. And truthfully, the week on Little Gasparilla was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever had. The weather was dreamy: 75 – 85 every day, sunny, calm water. The sunsets were mesmerizing. And we even saw a manatee, who swam ever so slowly past my middle son as he stood on the sand bar. I am deeply grateful for the time there. More than all of the aesthetics, though, the week was the retreat I needed. I’ve been going through probably the roughest...
Coronado, California: a Photojournal

Coronado, California: a Photojournal

“And every day her loveliness, shines pure, without a flaw; new charms entrance our every glance, and fill our souls with awe!” -L. Frank Baum (author of the Wizard of Oz), on Coronado   I visited San Diego, California, in August this year, when I drove there with my oldest son as part of our mom-son roadtrip. Now, having visited, briefly, I can say San Diego is beautiful — but my favorite part was getting to see my friend Carrie and tour her beloved Coronado. Coronado is resort city (island) located in San Diego County, California, across San Diego Bay from downtown San Diego, and is an island connected to the mainland by a tombolo, which they call the Silver Strand. The Hotel del Coronado is a historic landmark on the island, built in 1888, and is famous for inspiring L. Frank Baum, who wrote The Wizard of Oz at the hotel on Coronado between 1904 – 1910. I took many photographs, which say far more than words… Coronado, California: a Photojournal     Have you visited California? Where is your favorite spot? (Mine might be Coronado, aka Paradise!) Related posts: Half Moon Bay, California: a Photojournal Little Gasparilla Island, Florida: a Photojournal 7 Days in Tuscany: A Photojournal Venice, Italy: the Color and Charm, a Photojournal Amsterdam for a Weekend: A...
Half Moon Bay, California: a Photojournal

Half Moon Bay, California: a Photojournal

“It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time.” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road   Two weeks ago, my oldest son and I ventured across country for a Mom-Son Road Trip. It was one of the greatest adventures I’ve gone on, and one I hope to make a tradition with my younger two sons when they’re 15-years-old (I wrote about why here last week). One of the most beautiful places we saw while in California was Half Moon Bay, a legendary crescent moon-shaped beach just south of San Francisco. The road leading west into Half Moon Bay winds with tight curves across a high ridge of mountains. We followed a lumbering truck up and around to the peak in the road, and from the east, the colors were brilliant–the blue of an inland lake reflecting a brilliant sky, the evergreen trees and brighter green farmland and the amber-colored hills. But when we reached the top, we expected Pacific blue, as far as we could see, and instead found it shrouded in dense fog, the whole landscape a pale monochrome. After we arrived, we realized even with a wall of fog hugging the coastline, Half Moon Bay is still a stunning beauty. The cliffs at Half Moon Bay are high, and run along the entire crescent...
The World’s Most Beautiful Beach

The World’s Most Beautiful Beach

“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” ― Maya Angelou, from Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now  Take Me to the Ocean When my husband and I lived in New Orleans, many weekends, we drove past the swamps and murky coastlines in search of a beautiful beach. We had almost no money, but scraped together enough to pay for the gas to venture there and back in one day, wherever there would be. We found the first nice beach at Gulf Shores, Alabama, and then Ft. Walton, Pensacola, and Destin, Florida. But to find a calmer, less touristy beach, we ventured even further. That was when we found what we loved, paradise. In the less known area where the local highway 30 splits to 30A, that is where the beaches are the world’s most beautiful. The road becomes a two-lane, no stop lights kind of scenic road which seems to take eons to drive even a mile. Grayton Beach, Water Color and Seaside resort communities, Seagrove Beach, and then Seacrest, line up along the Emerald Coast, a dazzling stretch of powdered sugar white beaches and a shimmering aqua coastline. It is a quiet stretch where...
At the Beach

At the Beach

“… so that the monotonous fall of the waves on the beach, which for the most part beat a measured and soothing tattoo to her thoughts seemed consolingly to repeat over and over again…” — Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse At the beach walking the warm sand, watching pelicans and gulls glide above the surf, delighting at dolphin leaping above the waves, spending countless hours with my family building sandcastles, collecting shells, digging holes, and making memories. I’m at my favorite place on earth this week, with my family at the beach. Have a great week! Related posts: Finding Seashells Sailboats, Shells, and Sunsets: Photos from a Florida Beach The World’s Most Beautiful Beach Sea Side: Retreat along the Mediterranean Destination Coastline: Sunsets, a...
Sailboats, Shells, and Sunsets: Photos from a Florida Beach

Sailboats, Shells, and Sunsets: Photos from a Florida Beach

“Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches.” -from “The Princess Bride” – Wesley to Buttercup I simply love being at the beach. Sometimes I wonder why or how I can love it so much, but then maybe the key to it is in the b-e-i-n-g. The beach is the perfect place to just BE. My ideal world is a universe of beaches. Last week, my family and I returned to Prague from a couple weeks in the US, and ended our US time with a week on the Gulf coast of Florida. The beach there was dreamy — clear water, sugar sand, full sun, and calm waves. We were lucky, though. The week before we arrived, a Tropical Storm dumped rain on the Tampa / Clearwater area. There is something about the luxury of having days in a row ordered not by the hour on a clock, but by the tides. About the sand wearing off rough spots on the feet and in the mind. About the days ending with the great sun bobbing into the sea, while dolphin play games just an arms length away, so close they could be touched. The beach is made of magic. Here, some photos of my favorite things about the beach: There is no more vivid painting in the world than each moment at the beach leading up to the sunset. The colors heat up from midday’s pale blues to the flaming blood reds and oranges as the sun melts into the sea. Heart-stopping, every time. Sailboats: is there...
Finding Seashells

Finding Seashells

Finding Seashells Come walk with me Along the sea Where dusk sits on the land And search with me For shells are free, And treasures hide in sand.  -Author Unknown This week, I’m vacationing with my family at the beach … one of my very favorite places and things to do in all the world. I love spending timeless days along the seashore with my loved ones, collecting shells and walking the powdery sand. Have a wonderful week and time leading up to Independence Day! And enjoy your time with your family and friends. Related posts: Sea Side: Retreat along the Mediterranean At the Beach 7 Ingredients of a Great Getaway Vacation The Surprising Beauty of Crane Beach Eight Days under the Tuscan...
The Magic of Low Light: Photography

The Magic of Low Light: Photography

Photography is the art of writing with light. -Gerardo Suter I love visiting the ocean, and having time on the beach. To me, there is something about the rhythmic crashing of waves, the wide feeling of timelessness, and the gentle scrubbing of the saltwater and sugary sand to wipe away all of the world’s cares. I love being at the beach. When I brought my first camera to the beach, I made the classic mistake time and time again. And I was always disappointed with my photographs. The colors always appeared washed out, my subjects were always squinting, and the objects I was trying to capture for remembrance always turned out pale. One morning, when I was up with the sun, I watched the woman staying next door to us, out with her impressive camera. After she was done taking photographs, she chatted with me for a moment, and made a comment I’ll never forget. “At the beach, don’t even bother to take photos when the sun is high. Only shoot at sunrise or sunset.” Since then, I have found her words to be true, for more than just taking photos at the beach. Because when the lighting is low, the colors are rich, and the photographs become magical. When I had a backyard garden in the United States with many roses, my favorite time to be in the garden was at dawn, with my camera in hand, as the light turned the dew into diamonds, and the roses and other flowers sparkled like gemstones in the low sunlight. I began comparing the photographs I took in low light...
7 Ingredients of a Great Getaway Vacation

7 Ingredients of a Great Getaway Vacation

Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.” -Leonardo da Vinci   I once had a friend ask me how I could enjoy taking vacation. Looking back at her, I didn’t know what she meant. She explained further. “I don’t get to relax at all when we’re on vacation. The kids are always at each other. Mealtimes are the worst, and they never want to ride in the car, or airplane. It’s like we shouldn’t even try to go, because vacation never turns out like I hope.” I didn’t really have an answer for my friend on that day, but the conversation has never left my thoughts. Since we’ve lived in Europe, my family and I (my husband and I have 3 school-aged boys) have had the incredible opportunity to travel extensively. But, we have taken advice from very wise friends before we left the US. They encouraged us to travel as much as possible, because the expat assignment is such a unique opportunity to see the world with our family. We have taken that advice to heart. So far in our 2 1/2 years in Prague, we’ve traveled to 21 countries, and in this year alone, we have stood with our toes in the Baltic, North, Mediterranean, Tyrrhenian, Ligurian, Adriatic, and Aegean Seas. (the 7 Seas!) Dreamy. Absolutely! But, all travel...