As my tired eyes flutter open due to the sound of passersby outside my ajar window, I can’t help but smile. Not only because my mouth waters from the smell of Nanny and Pop cooking breakfast, but because a new day at my favorite place has begun. I crawl out of the warmth and comfort of my blankets and untangle my tossed about sheets to make my bed look as good as new, just how Nanny likes it. I walk over to my dresser search for a swimsuit top and bottom that match; quietly hoping I don’t later find myself wearing the same one as my cousin, bringing us back to our 10-year-old selves where we would match 24-7. I finally tie up my bathing suit, brush my teeth, and toss my hair up in a beach-wind-friendly bun before heading down the stairs to satisfy my grumbling stomach.

Downstairs I find the familiar faces of my family members (and occasionally friends) with whom I have a quick conversation with on my way to the kitchen. I eat breakfast quickly with my two cousins, who are more like sisters, before grabbing my bag and towel, slathering on sunscreen and heading to the beach. The walk up the street to the beach is familiar yet always enjoyable. It is guaranteed that I will run into at least one person my family or I know, and as I look around I notice that every other house holds a story or a memory of someone from our past or present. Such as the house with the rope fence my cousins and I used to hit when we were younger every morning, as if it was the “pass” to get to the beach or the house our friends who we hold a lifetime of memories with used to rent every summer.

Once on the beach, we spread out our belongings and set up camp because as the day continues more family members and lifelong friends join us as they do every day year after year. Between going in the ocean, tanning, ice cream, and walks to and from the beach house, days on the beach, unfortunately, go by rather quickly. Usually, the first round of us beachgoers starts returning to the house around 5:00 pm to shower and get ready for a delicious dinner. Dinner is always followed by some sort of last minute adventure. Whether it be mini golfing, the boardwalk, night crabbing, bike riding, walking to getting ice cream or simply spending time together at the house, we are always laughing until we cry and adding to our long list of memories.

As it gets later into the night, everyone begins to go their separate ways. It’s usually super late before I finally decide to go to sleep just to wake up and start the routine over again, though it’s a routine that I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember. Having a place where you and your loved ones can escape to to spend time together and make countless memories is truly something special. And so with that being said I’d like to use this as a thank you to my Nanny and Pop for creating a place like this for all of us.