Confession: I have horrendous urban envy. There are times when I think I could be eternally happy if I just lived in a moderately sized city. Oh, the joy that would flow through me if I lived on a street (not a "road") with a sidewalk. Imagine the thrill of tossing small boy in the jog stroller with medium boy on his bike and strolling the neighborhood for a visit to the playground or library or even to a friend's house. There is euphoria in dreaming of my future self sending future children down the street with a 5 dollar bill and orders to pick up milk at the grocery store.
Further confession: I'd be happy in the city for 2 weeks.... a month tops. Summer in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire has reminded me of all the reasons why.
Reason #1: Nineteen Mile Bay.
LOCATION: It's just over a mile away from our house... Three minutes tops in the car.
QUALITY: The water is shallow and fairly warm so there's plenty of safe frolicking and wading area for all. The pavilion is well-tended with at least 1/2 dozen picnic tables which provides great shelter from the sun or rain.
NOT TOO BUSY: Even on the very busy July 4th weekend I was able to find a parking spot and there was plenty of room on the sand and in the water for serious American Birthday Fun. (You may recall it was HOT that weekend).
BUT BUSY ENOUGH: That being said, even on chillier or slightly gloomier days when we are being adventurous by trying the beach, there has not been a visit this summer when we didn't see some of my kids' friends from school or daycare. Most of these families, it seems, possess much cooler beach toys than we do and they are always willing to share.
SWIMMING LESSONS: This is the first year I've signed my boys up for swimming lessons and you just can't do better than Nineteen Mile Bay. The swimming instructors are completely professional and infinitely patient. The lessons are for 30 minutes, 4 days a week for the month of July. My 6-year-old has two other little girls in his class and my 4-year-old has just one other little boy. Cost per kid? Thirty dollars. Total. For 16 lessons. Incredible! The boys' confidence has increased incredibly in the few lessons they have had so far. I don't think either of them are the next Mark Spitz or that young kid with the ears and arms from the last couple of Olympics... but in fairly short order they will certainly be better swimmers than their mother!
COST: Free. To anyone. You don't need a parking sticker or a pass of any kind. Just come, park, and enjoy.
So when urban envy strikes, I remind myself that it would be mighty tough to find all that good stuff at a beach in an urban setting.
Coming soon.... more reasons to love it where I'm at!