A guest post by Jennifer Matlack of Daisy Chestnut on Etsy
Even though I grew up in Ohio where Lake Erie was the closest body of water, as a child I was obsessed with the ocean. I remember watching The Man from Atlantis, Love Boat, and Fantasy Island and dreaming about one day swimming in a calm blue sea. For summer vacation, when we could afford one, my family would often go to Seaside and Point Pleasant, New Jersey for a week. I’d jump waves with my brother and collect clam shells, which seemed so exotic at the time.
I loved it all, but it wasn’t the beach I’d dreamed about–that beach never had crowds; it was just me, walking, daydreaming, looking for seashells, maybe catching a glimpse of a mermaid in the surf. It was a quiet beach surrounded by dunes and grass, not towering hotels and cheesy motels, restaurants, and stretches of paved parking lots.
At 29, I finally found that beach on Nantucket. My mother-in-law lives there, and on my first visit, my then-boyfriend-turned-husband and I walked to the beach behind her house. Eel Point. It was the beach I always dreamed of — and more. I fell in love with it for different reasons.
The first is that I can walk to it since my mom-in-law’s house is right next to it (lucky, I know) so there’s no driving, no parking lots. There’s no disconnect from the landscape. I simply walk out the door of the house, and I’m on the quiet path that leads to the water. On either side of the path it’s untouched, wild. Grassy dunes rise up. The wind lashes the pale green blades; it is all so soothing, and so incredibly beautiful. Right before you get to the beach, there’s a small hill. Only when you’re at the top of it do you see what’s waiting for you just feet away: the deep blue Atlantic. The sight of it always surprises and excites me. I feel like a kid again, full of wonder.
Eel Point is rarely busy, too; there have been days when only I’ve been there, walking, collecting shells. I’m 43 now, and feel so grateful that my seven-year-old daughter, Mae, gets to experience this quiet beauty. During our summer vacation on Nantucket we spend hours walking, playing, swimming there. That’s the other thing I love about Eel Point: The water is calm and shallow. I don’t worry about mighty waves, big fish, or dark depths. I can swim peacefully without worry.
For the last two years when we’ve visited, I’ve brought snorkel masks for me and Mae. Together we float by the shore, turning over rocks and shells, looking for crabs and other treasures. We are explorers! We shriek and splash and laugh and laugh. It’s a dream.