Summer is in full swing here on the island. The tourists are out in full force. Houses are rented, Food Lion (the only chain grocery store on the island) is a madhouse, and the beach is packed. Those pictures I posted this winter of miles of empty beach are no more. There are trucks parked and shade tents pitched on the beach as far as the eye can see.
Life moves to a different rhythm on an island that is a tourist hotspot. Most of the vacation houses here are weekly rentals, either Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday. We call the weekend “turnover days,” because one set of tourists is going home and a new set is arriving. An army of cleaners gets the houses ready for the new arrivals, the grocery stores restock and those of us who live here full time hope that the tourists are not the loud, drunk kind who litter and trespass through our yards. Now that school is out, it’s families who make the drive to the sandbar to sit their asses in beach chairs and toes in the sand, to quote the famous country song.
In a tourist economy, all the money for the year is made in the summer months. Everyone hustles in the summer; many people (including myself) work two or three jobs. When we have a rare day off, we head to the beach. Sometimes we ditch work a little early to go surfing or fishing. People who choose to make a home here tend to have a good work/life balance. You don’t live here if you like being trapped in an office all day.
My family is soaking up our first summer as island residents. I grew up here, so I know this routine, the hot, hectic days of summer when I have to share my little slice of heaven with out of towners. My husband and kids are brand new to this life, but they are fully enjoying living at the beach.
We met a fantastic group of homeschoolers and we have a fun crew of families to hang out with. We have kids from two to teens. This week we had two beach days with the kids. We dragged surfboards, boogie boards, shade tents and coolers over the dune for a few hours of bliss. The weather has been perfect- turquoise water, light wind, fun little waves for the kids to ride. Both of my kids are getting tan skin and bleached hair. They’re starting to look like they live here.
I was so busy last week between kids’ activities and kayak tours that I didn’t even ride my horse. I still feed 3 horses and a donkey every day, and go to the barn twice a day, whether I have time to ride or not. The horses hang out in the shade, swat flies and munch hay. They’re not crazy about hot weather.
Tomorrow we are supposed to feel the affects of Tropical Storm Claudette. We are in the aptly named “cone of destruction.” Most likely it will be high wind and some tide, nothing unusual for here. I’ll have a couple days of high winds, not suitable for kayak tours or horseback riding on the beach. I plan to sit in my chair, drink coffee and catch up on some reading.
See you on the other side…