They call it the "local's summer." The traffic lights are turned off, most of the stores are closed, and the beaches are empty. October here on Long Beach Island is probably the best thing we've discovered, and we've been making this trip now for 5 years! It is a tradition I love, and in my mind, summer isn't really over until this weekend is. And now we're here, at the end of our autumn beach weekend.
I arrived on Friday night after work and spent the night at the house with my mom. By the time I arrived, it was dark, gloomy, and cold. It was a rainy night, and the wind was literally howling "like a lost soul on the moors" (as my mom said) :) Honestly, it was creepy! In conjunction with the crashing waves, it was angry weather, to say the least. The slowest, most miserable and cold, spitting rain hovered over the island for what seemed like forever. In a way, the entire atmosphere was perfect for a cold seaside night: dense, eerie fog...the light of the dredging ships out in the distance...rain pattering on the gigantic floor-to-ceiling windows facing the Atlantic. We made the most of it by lighting some candles, having some pasta and red wine, and watching Angela's Ashes before dozing off on the couches. I'd take a cozy night like this ANY night.
The following day, everyone else arrived: S, my sisters, and my dad. It kept raining. I think the grey skies and rain had us all a little stir crazy at one point or another but we were saved by our godsend $1 refills from How You Brewin' (best coffee on the island)! It keeeeept on raining. We passed the time with coffee, more coffee, and some board games. I rushed to get some homework done, but when I finally did, it began to clear up. Finally!!
On Sunday morning, we got breakfast at one of our favorite diners (one of the few places down here open year round!). I had planned on asking my sisters, A & J, to be my maids of honor for my wedding! I know maids of honor proposals are a thing now, so I had brainstormed my idea ahead of time. We're still over a year out, but I knew that the timing down the shore would be perfect and I wanted to do it in a fun way to incorporate our autumn beach tradition. So...I whipped up some calligraphy and had it printed on some mugs.
The plan was to have the servers bring out our coffees...but in these mugs for A&J! We ALWAYS get coffee together, so I figured it fit us all perfectly. So, at the table, when it came time to order drinks, no one ordered coffee....so I had to butt in and order a round for the table. No one suspected a thing, but when the coffees came out A was so perplexed on why her mug had a picture of her on it...she was creeped! I was just happy the server got the mugs right (they're identical twins)...Next, they brought out some flowers, followed by lotsa pancakes, eggs and bacon! And more coffee!
And as it always does, the sun came out, and we had a beautiful rest of the weekend. The sunrise on Monday morning was absolutely stunning, with lots of dramatic blues and oranges and moody clouds. I didn't really eat healthy, I didn't exercise, and I didn't drink a ton of water. BUT: I did have this awesome sense of awareness. I intentionally let myself relax, disposing my current cares and worries for the time being in favor for some family and tradition. I'll tell you what...having a piping hot coffee on a cool and windy beach is blissful. Sunsets and sunrises beautiful, especially when a big dredging ship is on the horizon (isn't it though!?). October is for the locals. This time of year is the best island's kept secret.
I think perhaps the best thing about this weekend is the inevitable mental reset. Just like any weekend getaway, I think it does something to my head (in a good way)! and keeps me focused, recharged, and a little indulged. I'm really lucky to be here with my favorite people in one of my favorite places.