IMG_0110I recently had the pleasure of spending a long weekend with my boyfriend Alex, and my dog Natasha, at Alex’s family beach cottage in Niantic Connecticut. To me, the family beach cottage feels as though it’s been preserved from another time. Everything is bright carved wood, cream colored curtains and grandmothers crystal. Little has been changed since it was built in 1930.

IMG_0126I love the beach. It’s a great excuse to let my hair go wavy wild in the salt water and to stay fresh faced and natural. Alex and I went to the beach in the early morning to avoid the strongest hours of sunshine. We lathered on the chemical-free tangerine scented sunscreen, strapped the beach chairs to our backs, and kissed the dog good bye. The waves were small and mild and the water was cool but not freezing. I’ve never liked getting knocked down by violent waves or turning blue from frigid waters. In Niantic, I was able to swim out and back without worrying about getting carried away. For a Midwestern girl, these were ideal waters for a long swim and a chance to enjoy the freedom and tranquility of a calm sea.

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Downtown Niantic is a long stretch of street with restaurants, shops, an old movie theater, and easy access to the beach. For breakfast, we went to Café Sol, a local coffee shop that displayed colorful artwork on the walls and had an impressive flower garden and patio out front. As a former barista, I have high standards when it comes to coffee, and I can tell you whole heartedly that Café Sols cold-brewed iced coffee exceeded my expectations. Alex and I both ordered breakfast sandwiches that were also fantastic. It seemed as though everyone in town was congregating there for breakfast, the patio full of people lingering outside drinking coffee while their dogs reclined in the shade of the tall flowers.

IMG_0128After breakfast, we walked up to McCook Point where we found a lovely little beach and a grassy park that overlooked the ocean. We had a nice walk around and found a bench where we could sit and look out on the whole of Niantic.

IMG_0104On our way back to the cottage, we stopped at Scotti’s family farm stand to pick up some fresh veggies for dinner. The farm has been in operation since 1944 and Alex’s mother told me that their family has been buying produce from the farm for years. There’s a little store area set up in front of a large field of corn and a tall old house. I loved that I could actually see where the food was growing. A friendly woman helped me pick out the best ears of corn, while an old curly haired dog snored behind the counter. All the produce smelled and looked amazing. Everything was vibrant and perfectly ripe.

IMG_0109Alex said my dinner of Cajun salmon with shrimp and corn was the best meal I’d ever made for him and that he’ll remember those tomatoes for the rest of his life. I know I will too.

IMG_0134To remember my weekend in Niantic CT (and the worlds tastiest tomatoes), I made a Gold Overlay Sandollar Necklace and a Bronze Sandollar Bracelet with sand from McCook Point. I love gold jewelry and how the warmth of the metal compliments the little flecks of gold in the sand. I’ll wear these pieces all winter and count down the days till I can go back next summer.

Has anyone else spent time at a fantastic beach this summer? Share where you went and why you loved it on Facebook!

Websites of the places I went:
www.cafesolniantic.com
www.facebook.com/scottisfarm

Caitlin Casey is a Sandartist at Dune Jewelry whose first love will always be the lakes of Minnesota. She has an MFA in Creative Writing, enjoys road trips with her dog Natasha, and dreams about visiting deserts. She goes to work happy every morning and is excited to continue making jewelry and writing for Dune Jewelry.