the beach

I love living in California for many reasons, but one of my favorites is the close proximity of the beach.

We live about 15 minute drive away from one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline right off of highway one.

Sparkly crystal blue ocean dotted with surfers dressed in wet suits. Shiny and black, looking a bit like the sea lions who populate the local shores.

A little ways down the road is the famous Mavericks with waves taller than two-story houses. Professional surfers only; thrilled in the danger of surfing some of the world’s biggest waves. Rated on the steepness of the drop, length of the ride, and size of the wave. A unique brotherhood of few, the winner always splits the winnings between all the contestants.

Worn fishing boats bob in the marina. Hard working weathered fisherman hawk their catch of the day. Walk down the dock and pick your favorite crab or fish. Freshly caught just that morning.

Long stretches of vegetable and fruit stands line the highway. Piles of fresh produce, tempting all those driving by with healthy goodness. Make sure you stop for fresh jam, honey, or corn so sweet you can eat it raw.

Horse ranches like the Sea Horse and Blue Moon stretched out in lazy spreads above the sea cliffs. Long dusty tails swinging in the early morning sun, waiting to stroll the long sandy beaches with both locals and tourists.

Along the way, you’ll find quirky restaurants dotting the coast. Each serving up their own special recipes for seafood and steaming bowls of  chowder. Warm crusty sourdough bread wrapped in red checkered fabric. Butter melting softly in the center, a little slice of heaven when you take your first bite.

Spectacular views from the deck are just a bonus.

We go the the beach often. We go early to avoid the long lines of traffic that come after 9am; eager beach goers traveling the one lane winding road to the sea.

If we are going for some good sand digging and gentle waves for wading, we head to the small inlet protected by a big rock jetty next to Sam’s Chowder House.

The sand is soft and warm. The water cool and calm. Dogs run up and down the beach, tails wagging with excitement. Fisherman dot the rocky pier, hoping to catch lunch or dinner.

The girls run to the water, ready to search for pint size sea life. Crabs, sea snails, star fish and anemones populate the tide pools. Mini marine biologists in the making.

They fill their brightly colored plastic pails to the top with sand. Tipping them over in hopes of making a castle. Streams of seaweed strewn across the turrets. Shell windows and doors. Sticks and rocks further decorate the walls. Water fills the moat.

Occasionally, a treasured piece of sea glass is found. It’ll find its way into small pockets and be taken home. Nature scrubbed jewel out of a piece of trash.

The sun warms the earth and adds a pink glow to their cheeks.

Pant legs rolled up. Splashing in the shallows of the bay. It is not long before pants and t-shirts are soaked. Sand and salt water clinging to every stretch of fabric like cement. Only a clean set of clothes will solve this dilemma. However, an amazing amount of sand will still find its way into the car.

Happy giggles float across the ocean air.

Little girl feet making a line of tiny footprints across the beach.

Mia lays down and makes a sand angel; snow angel beach style.

The fresh air seeps into the girls’ consciousness and sleepiness sneaks up and taps each one on the shoulder. It whispers sweet dreams and beckons a long nap.

We walk back to the car and eyes gently close even before we drive away.

With summer approaching, mornings like this will be frequent.

I smile, this is the good stuff. The stuff that creates happy memories of family.

The stuff that makes the girls’ feel warm and happy.

The stuff of love.

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