This past weekend, we as a nation celebrated our Independence Day by stuffing our faces with hot dogs and watermelon, setting off bootleg fireworks, and spending quality time with family and friends. Our weekend was just that, plus a shit ton of sparklers.
American flags galore, we spent the three-day-holiday up at our childhood neighborhood, Groton Long Point, Connecticut. This tiny peninsula jutting out into Fishers Island Sound, home to a tough batch of year-round residents, explodes with a bustling summer crowd come July 4th Weekend. People always claim summer begins over Memorial Day Weekend (or more correctly the third week of June with the Summer Solstice), but for us summer has and always will commence over the Fourth of July. As my parents say every year when the July families move in, “It’s like someone turned on a light switch.” Then come Labor Day, that light is turned off again and a stillness rests over the point for another ten months. Regardless the time of year, this community always exudes togetherness, but there’s something truly special that ignites with the kickoff of summertime.
Here, shoes are optional, and basically not encouraged. You’ve got to earn the toughness of your summer feet. Personally, I prefer to have the sand or grit between my toes, but maybe that’s just me. I started off the weekend with an aggressively early sunrise walk with the family dog. Exchanging “Good Mornings” with those passing by, it felt great to be home. Strolling by front lawns scattered with bicycles parked alongside Thule covered mini-vans, it was great to know the season had finally arrived.
A series of “not-unfortunate” events really take the weekend by storm, essentially setting up everyone’s social schedule for the next 48 hours. The neighborhood gathers Friday night for the bash, “Hello Summer” on the back deck behind the casino. Dressed in their summer best, it’s a free-for-all to catch up after a long winter over an open bar; which leads to some rather interesting stories I’ll say. Then after the last gin and tonic, it’s all of a sudden the morning of 4th and the annual GLP Road Race 5K is underway… without me. I decided to cheer them all on from the back stoop over a hefty bowl of Cherrios. As the morning quickly turned to noon, 30+ people migrated to our backyard for the annual 4th of July Cookout. Pasta and fruit salads were on point this year (per usual), accompanied by endless burgers, dogs, lemonade and Narragansett’s. My parents hold this barbeque each year before GLP’s bike and float parade. A sea of red, white, and blue zoomed by with elaborately decorated bikes leading the pack, followed by the Point’s finest vehicular talents. The festivities pressed on into the night, celebrating a close friend’s birthday in downtown Mystic, which lead to a well-needed lazy Sunday spent on the Boardwalk, down on Main Beach. The scent of sunscreen and seaweed lingered off as the last games of corn hole and KanJam were finished, and it was back on the train for New York.
Currently residing in a city where some days I feel like an lost ant, there’s something fantastic about returning home to a spot where everybody knows your name (not to be confused with - but basically the same as -Cheers). Enjoy a glimpse of where we grew up, and hope you all had awesome 4th of July celebrations!