Every year, the U.S. experiences The Great Migration. No, no, I’m not talking about an event from history. I’m referring to that time of year when we Americans go coastal and head for the beach towns to seek relief from the heat. The Great Migration gets off to a modest start in late April, picks up in early May and is full-blown by June. It peaks in July and August, then dies down as families pack up and get their kids back home for the school year.
I usually skip The Great Migration in favor of a quieter time of year. For me, books are a definite part of a beach trip, since there is ample opportunity to sit back and read while I’m enjoying my seafood and French fries with Old Bay seasoning (putting this crab seasoning on French fries is a Delmarva Peninsula thing, I think) and ice tea. In fact, books are responsible for my trips to some beach towns, like Chincoteague, Virginia and Newport, Rhode Island.
As a kid, I read the Misty of Chincoteague books written by Marguerite Henry and wanted to see the town where they originated. Chincoteague is a small town off the coast of Virginia, famous for the Annual Pony Penning and the Misty books. It’s a relaxing place to visit and even has Misty’s footprints preserved in concrete in front of the Roxy Movie Theatre.
Chincoteague also has a tiny but beautiful library, right on the waterfront. If you’re ever in town, it’s worth a visit.
As for Newport, I had read several books about the Vanderbilt family and the Gilded Age. Several of the books mentioned the “beach cottages” of the Vanderbilts, so I included The Breakers in Newport as I was doing my odyssey through New England years ago (click on the link to see what the inside looks like). One of the Vanderbilts must have had a sense of humor by calling this house a “beach cottage”; it was a sumptuous mansion overlooking the water. And if this home was a mere “cottage,” I wonder what their New York mansion was like?
For now, I’m content to stay away from the beach and read my beach books in air-conditioned comfort as the D.C. metro area undergoes a heat wave. But sooner or later, I’m heading for the beach, books in tow.