Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lovely Atlantic

Since I arrived in Daytona Beach, I could hear the sea calling to me. I’ve had so much to do with cleaning and unpacking that I had to ignore it but on Sunday afternoon, the siren finally lured me in and Gabe and I headed to the coast. We skipped the main beach in Daytona because the crowd there is not our speed and opted for the very lovely, more upscale town of Ormond Beach. We headed across the river over the bridge on Granada and turned north, away from Daytona on Atlantic Ave. We turned right on Neptune and found some empty beach parking with access to the shore. We loaded up the baby and padded down the ramp. I could smell the salty air and my heart pounded a little at the sound of the gulls and the waves. We stepped off the cement ramp onto fine, red sand. It was very soft and the wind was able to whip it around a little, making beautiful patterns and skiffs. Unlike the barren, rocky nature of the Pacific beaches, this beach had vegetation growing right up out of the sand. Houses that line the beach have back yards green with sea grass and reeds and their extensive wood decks reach almost to the water because they can; there’s no violent tide reaching up to try to wash them away.

I could hear that the waves were different from my beloved Pacific ones even before I had a chance to take a good look at them. Rather than crashing to the shore, furiously trying to drag some of the land back with them, these waves broke several hundred yards from the shore and rolled in gently, greeting the sand like and old friend. The water calmly spread across the sand, forming little pools of fairly warm water that Livvy liked to splash in and then carefully slid back to sea, leaving everything on the shore the way it was before. It was like a courteous tea party between the sea and the shore, at the end of which the sea kindly left a parting gift, a jelly fish or a pretty shell, before heading back home for an afternoon nap. Comparatively, a Pacific wave seems like a police raid where the door is broken down with a battering ram and the wave hastily overturns every item of furniture until it seizes whatever it was looking for and heads back to the station, deserting the shore before it’s had time to clean up or even hear any complaints.

I stopped for a minute to stare out at some “surfers” easily navigating the calm water and could tell that there was something else different. The horizon seemed closer to me than I was use to. I thought a minute, trying to figure it out and decided that it’s because the waves break so far out, the shore feels closer to the horizon. That coupled with the balmy air gave me the feeling that I was safer and less exposed to the elements. It was a stark contrast to the wild, untamed feeling I get from the Pacific coast. There, the sharp wind nips at my face, warning me not to go out too far and the ocean is a huge, vast landscape that leaves me feeling insignificant and a little reckless.

When we were ready to go home, Gabe headed back to the car with the baby a little ahead of me and I stood alone in the quiet for a minute, the only person on the shore for as far as I could see. I could feel the history of the place with the historic houses with their huge decks and balconies behind me and I knew that so many people had stood there before me. I could almost see an aristocratic woman from the 1800s standing there next to me, with her big veiled hat and her petticoats reaching all the way to the sand, spending a summer on the shore in a weak attempt to escape the stifling, heavy heat of the East Coast.

I could go on and on but I’m sure you’ve had enough and Olivia wants me to put her tutu on so… back to life. I hope you like the pics and I hope they can give you some sense of how clashingly different the two coasts are; the one that I’ve loved all my life and the one I’ve loved for about 2 hours.
Livvy had fun, as always:

Some long views of the beach:

Take a closer look at these pics and you'll see that the sand here has huge swaths of red. That's because a lot of it is made from cocina shells:

Here are a few of the houses that line the beach that I really loved. These are their back sides:

This one's my favorite and it's for sale, only $1.2 mil.


  1. Tiecen,
    I am so glad to read how much you enjoyed Ormond Beach. I am blessed to have lived in the area my entire life. Thank you for writing such kind words about our area and your experience while here.
    If you ever need the assistance of an Ormond native, you can find me at I will be happy to help you in any way that I can.

  2. Looks beautiful! Quite a bit different than the Pacific though isn't it. I am from Oregon and remember when we went to the beach in Virginia. I said "those are not waves!" The "Waves" were all of 6 inches high and people were trying to surf. Definetly not the Pacific coast!