There is a reason that Maine calls itself Vacationland: there are mountains to climb, bike trails to ride, rivers to canoe, boutiques to browse.... the vacationing possibilities are endless. In the winter time, we like to visit my parents in Maine and take advantage of their perfect sledding hill and icy, snow conditions. And in the summer, we like to visit my parents and take advantage of their glorious back yard and close proximity to gorgeous beaches. The closest beach is not one for bogie boarding, as the waves are almost non-existent, but it is the perfect place for a swim.
Once a year, in Maine, I take a salt-water bath.
Why is that a big deal, you ask? ha! Obviously, you've never been to Maine and put a toe into the water. For if you did, you would know that swimming in the Atlantic Ocean in Maine is only for the strong of heart.
The water in Maine is FREEZING.
Entering the ocean - even in August - is an amazing feat of strength similar to what the Polar Bear Clubs do in the winter.
I like to swim in Maine with my sister, Elizabeth. If we are both in Maine at the same time (and we usually are), Elizabeth and I will venture to the beach in our old lady bathing suits, carrying our old lady towels.
This year, the beach was covered in a thick layer of cold fog. It is preferable to have a hot sun, but we are brave and went for it anyway.
We did sit on our towels for a moment and waited to see what Georgia and Josie thought of the water, first.
Georgia and Josie said the water was fine. Of course, it was next to impossible for us to understand them with their teeth chattering so loudly.
There were very few people in the water. The beach was crowded with vacationers but most were wearing fleecy coats with towels wrapped around their legs.
I only go in the ocean to swim once a year and I was determined to not wuss out in 2011.
I should take a moment and let you all know that I DO go in the water on our Block Island Vacation.
The water is warmer in Rhode Island and I like to jump over the huge waves. That said, I never really go past my knee caps or mid-thighs.
The beach at Maine has more of a floating / swimming vibe and I enjoy my yearly float on my back with my sister where we can relax and gossip for a while.
It's what we do.
Henry joined us this year, but he didn't get much further than the edge.
I almost didn't get much further, myself. After forcing myself to run quickly up to my waist, I spent the next few minutes, yelling at the girls to stop splashing me.
I kept my arms high out of the water. I thought this might help them stay warmer longer.
Oh My Gosh, it was cold. Every once in a while, we would hit a warm spot that I would normally think was due to some nearby child relieving himself. Since there were no nearby children, I had no idea what the warm spots were. I appreciated them nonetheless.
Here we are, two-thirds of The Sisters Grim, floating in the sea.
and there is Henry, still not in the water.
Actually, once you got used to the shockingly cold temperature, the water felt very good. It's crisp and clean and rather invigorating. I tried to get Gordy to join us, but he was having none of it.
Oh, how these pictures make me laugh. I love the image of Henry, shivering, while his mother and aunt bob along the waves. Next year, I am going to find Elizabeth and I a matching set of Old Lady Bathing Caps - the kind with the appliqued flowers. Obviously, it would have made the photos even more hysterically funny.
I think this is the moment right before Henry gave up and got out of the water.
The ocean was a success to some of us, but to others, it was a big, big mistake.
After we dried off and warmed up a bit, we took the kids to the swimming hole. The sun was shining here and the water was a whole lot more pleasant.
Josie jumped right in:
So did Henry, but he said the water was still pretty cold.
The swimming hole is down the street from Granny & Grandfather's house and is really a river.
The children love to jump off the cement "float."
Henry was still pretty chilled from his half-emersion in the icy Atlantic. It took him a few minutes of hot sunshine to get up the courage to go into the water.
But his desire to do flips outweighed his fear of the cold.
We can all scratch Swimming in Maine off our yearly lists of things to do!