Summer vacation for my kids this year was a whopping 14 weeks; something about an early end to school in June and a late Labor Day. Whatever the reason it meant a ton of scrambling for summer activities for my kids. A group of parents decided to do a sort of ‘Family Camp’, where the week is split up so that one set of parents watches the group each day. The kids have fun and parents don’t have to pay for so many day camps and can at least get some work done. I have to say the kids made out like bandits; they went to a water park, swimming pools, museums, parks and one day a trip to Stinson Beach.
The stunning stretch, down Highway 1 from San Francisco in Marin County, is a small hippie beach community that has a posh side to it. A friend and her family were renting a house for a few weeks and generously invited us to come, that day I happened to have 2 extra boys in tow. I thought it would be too much but she said “Bring it on”. Although stunning, the water at Stinson is cold and the last time I was there we had to run from the water because of a shark sighting. Often it is too foggy or blustery, but on this spectacular August day, the stars had aligned. We brought the signature bagels and schmears and descended on the fabulous house. It turned out another mom was there with her two kids, as well as some neighbor kids, so there were about 10 kids in all ranging from aged 5-13. We tucked into a yummy spread and then let the kids loose on the beach. Some had wet suits but the water was just borderline, warm enough to be enticing, but definitely chilly. The waves were perfect, the beach practically empty. The boys (the crew was mostly boys) decided to have a battle of the holes; who could dig the deepest and best hole. I sat in an Adirondack chair and had an intense conversation with another mom who I had just met. The kids would periodically return to the compound for sustenance and a warm up in the Jacuzzi; it all felt very Kennedy-like, but with a California twist. At one point I looked at my friend, who had invited me and said we have to go boogie boarding. She and I had taken a trip to Costa Rica a few years ago, ostensibly for my 40th birthday, along with ten other moms, to do yoga and learn how to surf. She and I had been partnered up and dubbed ourselves the wonder twins and would bump knuckles if we had a good ride or to pump ourselves up. Surfing was great fun, a challenge met and something I’d love to do again, but truth be told I get the same exhilarating feeling from boogie boarding with much less hassle. This day at Stinson was glorious… it took a while to adjust to the water, but once ensconced it was pure joy. It sounds cheesy, but I felt like I was 15 again; there is nothing like catching a wave at the right point and gliding all the way to shore. I think my boys were impressed. Chilled to the bone, I didn’t want it to end, but we needed to get back to the city, drive the windy Highway 1 before dark. We said our thank-yous and good-byes and on our way out of town stopped for ice cream at Odyssey Video; pretty much the only ice cream shop in town. The boys all fell asleep; a good fatigue as we made our way back across the Golden Gate.