Yesterday Matt and I took the girls out to Crane Beach in Ipswich. Matt had been to this beach once before with his sister and her family and had been looking forward to making the trip with me and the girls. This beach is about a 45 minute drive from where we live. There's a hefty admission fee-$25 per vehicle for people who are not members of the Trustees of Reservations. Unfortunately, that's exactly the category we fall into. They do offer memberships and members have the option to purchase a beach parking sticker for an additional fee putting an annual pass to this beach right around $150.
When we first moved to the area, we bought an annual pass to the Museum of Science at the premium level in order to benefit from the 2-hours of free parking that comes with it. We're definitely considering buying the annual pass for Crane as well, although we're not sold yet. Matt pointed out that we'd probably only want to go to the beach between the months of May-October (that's a stretch--it's probably more realistically like June-September). Still, if we went to the beach 6 times throughout those summer months, the pass would pay for itself in parking savings.
There are more pro's on our list than con's for sure: this beach has a well-kept bathhouse (one for men, one for women, obviously) vending machines and a snack-shack that provide cold beverages and lunch for your day out, picnic tables under shade, a very-present lifeguard staff and my favorite feature, sand that passes as acceptable to someone who was raised on Pacific-coast beaches. I was told by a co-worker of Matt's this past weekend that they actually bulldoze rocks away from the beach in order to keep the sand more fine and less rocky than the beaches that are typical of the metro Boston area (hence the expensive admission charge!).
We haven't checked out any of the other beaches that have come recommended to us yet, so maybe we'll do that before we commit to a year at Crane. We'll have to get to it soon though, beach season is upon us!
So while the adults figure out the logistics of where to "play", the girls were busy actually playing. They had a great time at the beach and this was their first experience at a beach where they were old enough to enjoy their surroundings.
These girls are all about scooping! They spent hours just shoveling sand into and out of their buckets.
I have a love/hate relationship with Target. I don't like their return policies and I think that their staff is incompetent, in a nutshell. However, I love their products. They have great clothes for kids, great prices on makeup (my favorite brand of mascara sells for about $2 less at Target than at Walmart--what's with that?), plus they have that $1 section in the front of their stores, which is where I found these awesome buckets with shovels included (you might remember me mentioning this section in a previous post where I talk about their lovely Easter hats we found for them)! They are definite must-have's for our beach outings. I also found the girls' swimming suits there. I loved these ones not only because they have polka-dots (I have developed a love of polka-dots over the last several years) but because they are ONE piece. I'm not against people wearing bikini's, and I have owned and worn many a bikini myself, but I do not find bikini's appropriate for my 1 year old children. Alright---the one-piece thing and they have tutu's on them as well! We love tutu's!
While Sophie was taking in the view, I snapped this shot of her piggy--this is the first time I've done braids in her hair, and they turned out so adorable! The moist sea-air and the spray-on sunscreen sort of destroyed the look in the end, but they were adorable while they lasted, and I'll definitely be doing them again!
The girls alternated between the sun and the shade. We bought a beach umbrella at Costco, which we instantly decided was a wise investment!
Sophie wasn't as openly thrilled about the beach as Olivia was, but every once in a while she'd crack a smile. I love it when she smiles :)
They haven't figure out how to pack the sand down into the bucket and use the shape of the bucket to make sand castles yet. We're relying on their cousin Linus to show them how it's done on the next trip to the beach!
While Matt was great about staying in the shade and applying lots of sunscreen, I ended up with a sunburn on my shoulders and legs. It's not too bad, and I've got the aloe vera goin' on, so in a few more days I should be back to normal!
When people ask me how I like it here, I usually tell them that it's different, but in a good way. I grew up with the mountains, and now I live on the coast. It's a fair trade, if I do say so myself.