Feb 17, 2010

Winter Trip to the Beach

I’m not one for the beach anymore as I would prefer to spend my time in the woods or on a stream but seeing we are looking to rent a cottage this summer at the shore, we made a winter trip to the Rhode Island Beaches.  As a kid, I loved the beach and my mom would always try to rent a cottage for a week along the CT shoreline, normally in the Niantic area.  Ofcourse we loved to swim, but we always spent time fishing, crabbing, collecting sea shells and anything else we could find to do on the beach or in the water, but as I have gotten older the beach just isn’t my cup of tea anymore.  I do enjoy some saltwater fishing every year but as far as vacation time goes, I would prefer to save my time for the woods.  I just can’t seem to find any enjoyment in lying around on the sand anymore, but I’m sure I can still keep myself occupied exploring the Coastal wildlife.

One good thing about an offseason trip to the shore – no crowds.  Our first stop was Charlestown Beach in Charlestown, RI.  My only other previous trips to Rhode Island beaches were day trips made to Misquamicut Beach which is a little south of Charlestown.  Charelstown was your typical beach cottage environment with one nice exception – Access to a couple of Salt Ponds.  One being Green Hill pond and the other being Ninigret Pond.  Ninigret Pond is also home the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge and Ninigret State Conservation area.  Green Hill Pond has approximately 3,420 acres of watershed area of which 470 acres of water area are the pond itself.  Ninigret Pond has over 7,000 acres of watershed area with over 1,500 acres consisting of the actual Pond itself.  Now I have lived within 1.5 hours of this and have NEVER been there.  I actually started to get a little excited about our summer plans for a cottage rental.  Now, I know my kids and they will definitely excel at being beach bums, especially with access to large waves which is the reason the kids want to vacation at Rhode Island beaches and not the CT shoreline.  But me, I will be working at filling my vacation time by exploring both the Green Hill and Ninigret ponds as well as chasing striped bass from the shore and maybe even some clamming.  I already found some spots to rent kayaks and small boats which I can use on the ponds which should help me find some interesting areas of the ponds to enjoy and hopefully take some pictures and maybe some video. 

After our exploration of Charelstown beach, we headed just south to explore the East Beach area and the Quonnie Beach area.  East Beach sits along the RI coast with its back against Ninigret Pond and Quonochontaug Pond just to its south.  Quonnie as the locals refer to it is just less than 3,000 acres of watershed which approx 750 acres is the pond itself.  Quonnie also includes a breachway which provides access to both the pond and Block island Sound and is supposed to be one of the better local fishing spots which I will most certainly be checking out.

One of the things the trip to shore reminded me of is just how much there really is to explore outside as well as how busy our lives have gotten as we grow up.  My late father-in-law used to take regular, sometimes daily trips to the shore where he would just sit, relax and take in the scenery even if for only for minutes at a time.  The shoreline was his place for clearing his head and rejuvenating himself.  The more I think about it the more I am ashamed to admit that with the Atlantic coast less than 1.5 hours from my house that I have spent less than a couple weeks worth of work hours this past year exploring all the great outdoor opportunities that the Coastline has to offer and most of that was fishing on a boat, not chasing crabs in the rocks, not paddling around the tranquil salt ponds and not paying much attention to the incredible outdoor opportunities of our shoreline.

I think it’s time I take a page from my Father-in-law’s retired playbook and get back in touch with the shoreline.   Anyone want to join me?


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