Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Vacation of Memories

Jill and I just returned from a memorable week hitting every single state in New England. We began on the weekend with special friends from my UConn days in New Hampshire right on the Connecticut River, Vermont border in a beautiful old farm house. Lots and lots of wonderful conversations and memories.

On Sunday we departed, headed south, and wound up in Matunuck on the southern coast of Rhode Island. Now, Matunuck is a very special place to all the Tiffanys. It is an old potato/corn field turned into a campground in the late 1940's. It began as a place people put up tents and lived right on the beach. Eventually, small camps were built replacing the tents. My dad built his camp in 1949 which was about 12'x 12'---truly not spacious but good enough and all the summers of my youth were spent in this magical place. In 1955, Hurricane Carol came blowing through and deposited our little camp about a half mile inland in a thousand pieces. In 1956, our dad built a new camp spacious in comparison to the first one---at least 15'x 15'! That camp still stands though it's changed color, had a shower and slider added but overall still pretty much looks the same.

These camps are absolutely on top of one another. Sneeze and your neighbor will add the "god bless you" and you really have to be careful shaking your dust mop out since you might break a window of your neighbor. You do not own the land and you pay a yearly amount for garbage pickup, maintenance of the community johns and rental of the land. In my youth, the cost was about $75 a season and today it's $2,400. Compared to the cost of a vacation for four, it's still not a bad deal to live right on the beach.
In recent years, erosion due to increasing water levels has become a very serious problem for the entire area just as it has on Peaks Island. In the winter of 2005, the beach's store was nearly lost. It was totally moved back across the street last year and is expected to reopen next season. Down the beach sit four beautiful early 1900's large summer houses. Each has been moved back and attempts are being made to build dunes in front of the houses to act as berns. Even in the campgrounds, all the old sand dunes were lost in this year's Patriot's Day Nor'easter so the water is inching closer and closer.

We spent our days there reading, snoozing, walking the beach, keeping out the daily news except for the traffic reports out of New York (now, that was a huge smile) and generally eating our way through the area. I did manage to capture some pictures which hopefully will convey the nature of this very special place. Our heartfelt thanks to a special friend who let us borrow her camp for a few days. Thank you Carol, the memories were wonderful.


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