I talk about Avalon a lot on this blog, and for good reason. We’re there nearly every weekend of summer from MDW to LDW, and a few off season weekends during fall, winter and spring as well. It’s hard to explain the magic of your favorite shore town, but I can try : ) To begin, Tim’s grandparents had a house for most of his childhood – they all talk so fondly about the tiny home and piles of cousins sleeping on the screened-in porch. His parents bought this current house in April of 2008 and two of his aunts now own condos 2 and 9 streets away. Tim’s mom and siblings are there pretty much full-time once summer starts – his brother and cousins have all had part-time jobs on the island as well.
I’ve always been a beach girl but I never understood the propensity to claim a favorite – if it had sun, sand and waves, I was in. That’s all changed, and it could have something to do with my love for Tim and his family – but now I’m an Avalon girl through and through.
The house is on the beach block so we don’t have far to go, but most of us refuse to wear sandals no matter how hot the sand or how rocky the road. We’re working on our “summer feet.” The path to the beach is one of my favorite places in the world – take a deep breath and you get sand, salty ocean, sunscreen, dunes and happiness all in one scent. We set up camp behind the lifeguards, but far enough back for room to play. Cornhole, bocce, wiffleball, football, and Tim’s favorite – beach volleyball. That boy would play 10 games a day if he could.
The beach hours are spent relaxing, reading, walking, digging, playing, listening to music, and reapplying sunscreen on a continuous loop. We carry down a huge cooler filled with Corona and lime (shhh) water, soda and snacks, but we almost always head back up to grill lunch by the pool. And we are well aware that we’re spoiled ; )
Mikayla will ask you no less than 14 times per hour to swim with her. Objects of all shapes and sizes will be launched at the basketball net from various distances – creating a rather large splash zone. We’ll grill whatever we’ve got – from burgers and dogs to chicken or leftover pizza, no one’s picky after a morning spent in the sun. Big bowls of fresh juicy watermelon and homemade potato salad, and plenty more cold Corona or vodka limeades.
A few more hours at the beach, or maybe an afternoon spent at the bay jumping off Avalon’s 30th street bridge, paddle-boarding, kayaking or taking a boat ride. No shower happy hour on the deck or down at the beach bar, endless appetizers or steak and seafood for dinner, a glass of wine watching the sun set. Warm showers to wash off the salt and sand. Nights spent playing board games, dancing at the Windrift or – if we’re lucky/energetic – both! Cousins arriving from both directions to join in. Late night buffalo chicken dip, leftover pizza from the cousin who delivers, and s’mores out back by the firepit.
We can bike just about anywhere on the island – it’s only 7 miles long. 96th street is filled with restaurants and shops of every kind, plus plenty of places to get a sweet treat. Mini golf is a crowd favorite, but newcomers claim we’re a bit competitive… and they’re correct ; ) There’s a 5k race or two to choose from almost every weekend of summer and we almost always return from the run covered in sweat to a bag of Kohler’s donuts on the counter, a reward for our early morning of hard work.
I could type a million more words about our summer weekends spent down the shore, but I’ll spare you the monologue and just say this: When we turn off Route 9 and drive over the bridge, we put the windows all the way down and the music all the way up, and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world every. single. time. to be able to spend these days in Avalon with my favorite person on earth.