“Let me get this straight,” I said to my then boyfriend/now husband, raising one eyebrow. “You want me to waste two weeks of vacation time to go camping in Rhode Island? An hour from home?” Thus far, our vacations had been to the Florida Keys, Nashville, New Orleans and the Grand Canyon. Not that I disliked the local seaport where he suggested we spend our summer vacation. But it was a day trip, not an entire vacation!
But he was adamant. Since he was determined to go, with or without me, I reluctantly agreed. Well, sort of. “I’ll take one week off,” I acquiesced. “But I am working the second week.” After all, I reasoned, it was close enough to commute, being about the same driving distance to my office as our home.
When the time came, he was noticeably more enthusiastic than I, humming as he packed the truck and hooked up the camper. I was happy to have a week off from work but remained skeptical about the destination. “What if it rains?” I whined. “I’m taking my own car in case I want to come home for the night.”
As if to prove a point, the weather was beach-perfect for seven days in a row. The fishing village of Galilee became as familiar as our home town. I loved the freshly-caught seafood offerings at restaurants where you could eat outdoors, with sandy feet and still wearing your damp bathing suit. The water was clear and sand as soft as velvet. The daily scenery included Point Judith lighthouse and, on a clear day, Block Island.
But the best part was that our kids and grandkids visited, often joining us for a day on the beach, followed by a lobster boil at the campsite. Even our two New Hampshire grandsons were camping, too, along with their parents, of course. Several friends came for the day and stayed for dinner and a campfire. The week flew by. And it was all good.
Too good, actually. When Monday morning arrived and the sun shined warmly, I was not, as they say, a happy camper. The first thing I did when I got to work was beg, borrow and plead for two more days off at the end of the week. I couldn’t sleep in my own bed at home because I missed the distant fog horn. I woke up disappointed every morning because I couldn’t smell the salt air or hear the cry of the osprey. At long last, Wednesday arrived and I left work a little early, headed for the campground. Truth be told, I skipped the campground and went straight to the beach, having worn my bathing suit to work, underneath my clothes. It was a glorious re-union between my newly enlightened self and the place I had come to love.
Our annual trips continue and have become a highlight in our busy year. These days, I am retired, so there are no vacation request forms needed. And certainly no arm twisting to convince me to spend two weeks an hour’s drive from home. As a matter of fact, that’s usually where you can find me on any given hot summer’s day: Float-ing in the gentle surf, watching the fishing boats come and go and counting the days until our next Camping vacation, when I won’t have to drive all the way home.