Saturday, November 27, 2010

Summer Sanctuary by Hannah Rosenberg

Are you sick and tired of the hot, sweltering days in the city? As a beach bum who has grown up in the hub, I think all of us can relate to reluctantly turning to MDC pools, crowded city fountains and polluted beaches to cool off in the summer. While Castle Island, Revere Beach and the Boston Frog Pond are awesome spots to stroll around or grab a bite to eat, it’s a little uncomfortable to tan on cigarette-scattered sand, much less step over dead jelly-fish and rocks to get in the water. That is why I am here to share with you a beautiful beach destination that may seem far away, but in fact is only a forty-five minute train ride from the heart of Boston.

Singing Beach is a breath of fresh air, literally. And, for just $13.50, the commuter rail will bring you there and back in less than an hour each way. Located in the charming town of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, Singing Beach, which is named for its odd sand that squeaks when you walk, is just a half-mile down the road from the train stop. Once there, rest assured you won’t be gazing at skyscrapers, but a vast lovely view of ocean, boats and islands. As a New England beach the water can be cold at times, but the waves you can often catch there are bigger than any you’ll experience in the city.

If you are tired of swimming and need a bite to eat, Singing Beach serves chili dogs, cheesy fries, pretzels and cold drinks right by the bath house. If you don’t want to spend much, or don’t want greasy food, that’s no problem: just hit up the friendly local food market or Beach St Café right when you get off the train. 

When you’re sunburned and sandy but aren’t ready to end the day just yet, make sure you check out Cala’s Restaurant, right across the street from the train stop. From 3-5pm this warm and casual spot serves select appetizers for half off and pours certain drafts for only $2! Arriving late? No worries, you can still get a mouth-watering burger for a good price. But don’t spend all your money there because Captain Dusty’s is just around the corner. This locally owned family ice-cream shop serves up the biggest “small” ice-cream cone I have ever seen and you can choose from over twenty-five homemade flavors, including my favorite, bubblegum. 

Still early for the train back? Manchester-by-the-Sea is home to many little quaint bookstores, antique shops and art galleries. If you don’t feel like being inside, there are wonderful views of the harbor and right across the street from Captain Dusty’s is Masconomo Park, with benches by the harbor, a playground and a baseball field. The park also holds events, concerts and even a carnival throughout the summer. 

Bay State residents are often surprised and excited to encounter another person who calls this beach "theirs" because many don’t know about its existence, or how convenient it is to get to. When asked what he thought about Singing Beach, having just discovered it this summer, a Boston waiter replied: "I was slightly disappointed that there were no seal pups and the sea swallowed my sunglasses but, I like how many people are oblivious about it because it adds to the peace and tranquility". 

So if you’re feeling stifling and sticky and you don’t have to work at night, hop on the commuter rail. Believe me; this seaside town beats any city beach, pool or fountain. 

Singing Beach:
119 Beach Street Manchester by the Sea, MA 01944 - (978) 526-2019

Captain Dusty’s:
60 Beach St Manchester, MA 01944-1436 - (978) 526-1663

Cala’s Restaurant:
7 Beach Street Manchester, MA 01944 - (978) 525-3304

Beach Street café:
35 Beach Street Manchester, MA 01944-1547- (978) 526-8049

Crosby’s Market:
3 Summer Street Manchester, MA 01944-1516 - (978) 526-4444

For driving and public transportation directions, parking information and admission fees visit: http://www.manchester.ma.us/pages/manchesterma_recreation/singingbeach

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