Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sentimental Journey

We're just back from our long beach weekend. 

The stay at Dan and Becky's cottage at Virginia Beach was lovely.  There were two Catholic couples and two Orthodox, plus children, but I don't think anything about religion or theology was discussed even once. 

The cottage, rented out during the late Spring through mid-Autumn, has TWENTY bed spaces, before we even count the crib, the double futon, or various sofas.  Six and a half baths, including one with jacuzzi.  It's of course meant to be shared among several families.  The rooms facing the ocean have very large windows for a dramatic, panoramic view of sand and surf. 

The house, like almost all beach houses on this coast, is build on stilts, and in strong winds, it moves.  As I said to Dan, "This house really rocks!"  That was disconcerting at first.  Dan says you have to have some flexibility built in.  Okay, but no beach house I've ever been in swayed.

And the weather cooperated, for a great bonus!

We stayed Saturday and Sunday nights, then set out for the Outer Banks of North Carolina, for some "just us" time.  Stayed at the Days Inn at Milepost 6, which was clean and decent, had an ocean view, and included a continental breakfast. 

We re-visited places we have enjoyed so much in the past.  First, of course, we wanted to see what for some 25 years or more used to be my parents' cottage.  Dear family, you'd be pleased with what's been done to it.  The most obvious improvement is a wooden walkway/bridge from the porch over the dunes.  You no longer have to climb over the dune through that swathe; you can walk on wood all the way.  Plus, at one point, the walkway opens up into a square area for barbeques or just for sitting and reading, with a tap for rinsing sandy feet.

Inside, it's the same furniture, except two chairs have had their cushions re-covered.  Even the bedspread in the master bedroom is the same.  The flooring throughout is laminate now, made to look like dark wooden planks, and is quite handsome.  Easier to clean, too, than that indoor-ourdoor carpet we had.  There is copper cladding around the stove and surrounding the kitchen sink.  I think it's just a sheet of copper, but stamped to look like tiles. 

In the bare sand outside, we found a tiny green sprout of something.  We looked at it with pity; there was no chance for it to survive that far from the dune.  I said, "Good luck, little friend," but Demetrios didn't think that was good enough, so we very carefully cleared away the sand from around it and got it out by the (surprisingly deep!) root.  I said I had just the place to carry it until we got home; it was the little plastic box in which I carry my tooth-guard.  (Small device I had made that fits over my top teeth to protect them from my habit of humming little tunes and keeping time with my teeth.)  I keep the tooth-guard moist by means of a water-soaked paper towel at the bottom of the box.

Then we found half a dozen more such plants.  Can't rescue every one, but we have brought a total of 3 home with us and planted them in a styrofoam cup with a half-inch of sand in the bottom (and small holes punched in the bottom) and some of the new topsoil from our new flower garden.  It's strange how much we hope we can keep them alive, even though they probably are just weeds.  But I have to admit, my thumb is so brown I can kill silk plants!  If anybody has any tips for me, please share them!

The Ocean Plaza Hotel near our cottage is no longer there; no surprise.  The beach had eroded around it and the waves used to go right under it at high tide.  No sign of it left.

Next we found Vada's cottage in Kitty Hawk, directly across from the Wright Brothers Memorial.  Stopped in front of it for a while and told Vada how much we miss her.  Death is such a strange thing; a person is here one day and the next is gone, permanently...

Then we went to find "Dad's Dream," where we've held two big family reunions.  It's been sold now and goes by the new name, "Seventh Heaven".

Then, further north to Corolla where we found "Asia House," simply the most beautiful house, by far, I've ever set foot in, the most romantic, the most exotic.  When it was new and for sale, I wanted it so badly I could taste it.  And that was very strange, because a moment's thought was enough then and is again enough now to persuade me I don't really.  I don't really want it because it's on the Outer Banks.  If I'm to have a beach house, let it be someplace else, where I can swim all year.  And let it be on the beach!  Which means, vulernable to everty hurricane, tropical storm, and nor'easter that comes along.  This house has a view, from the topmost room, of both the ocean and the sound, but it isn't particularly near either.    And this time of year, the neighborhood is a virtual ghost town, so it feels very strange.  Still, I seem at some point to have taken mental possession of Asia House, and I still feel possessive of it. 

We did locate it, and we just parked in front of it and admired it, again.  It, too, has a new name:  "Park Avenue".  I'm going to post pictures we once took of the inside of that place, assuming I can find them.  So beautiful.  Dream house in every way except location, location, location.

There's a new knitting store at about Milepost 9, called "Knitting Addiction," so of course I had to have a look in there.  Good place to drool over, but a single hank of that gorgeous alpaca yarn  costs up to $42.00 and it would take more than one of them to make anything more than a scarf.  No thanks.

The Tangier Outlet Mall is still there, at MP 16, and "The Glass Shop," as we call it, Michael's by its real name, still sells suncatchers and fancy marbles and fossils and geodes and such.  The Corning outlet is gone. 

Anyway, we thoroughly enjoyed re-visiting old haunts, and then we drove home while it was still light out, and now we are ready to fall into bed.  It's good to be home!