“Meet me where the sky touches the sea. Wait for me where the world begins.”~ Jennifer Donnelly
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Hello, hello friends! Happy March 2! AND Ash Wednesday! It feels late this year, but I am so ready! I feel like there is hope for spring, with the new month and the tease of almost seventy degree weather last week! And I think we could all use hope, especially right now. Nothing gives me that hope, and is instant therapy, like going to the beach. Y’all know my love for the ocean, but it goes deeper then just being my happy place, it really is the one place, regardless of the time of year, that always makes me feel zen, and able to channel my creativity and thoughts. It is my (free!) therapy, plus it’s cheap! And with winter and dealing with seasonal effectiveness disorder, I REALLY need it. Even in the cold months.
In the Winter Time
So while I hate the cold, I will still go to the beach in the winter. Yes I might be a little crazy, and yes, it is most definitely freezing. But to quote Elsa, “The cold never bothered me anyway” (or much with lots of layers) and it is so worth it to me to get that Vitamin Sea and beach therapy. I also adore exercising by the ocean. It honestly doesn’t feel like a chore (like it sometimes can) and I find I get many more steps in then when I am in the country or on the treadmill.
In many ways, even with the cold, walking the beach in the winter can be quite nice. It is much emptier. Most of the beaches are free in the winter, and there is more wildlife/ocean life to be found especially with the lessening of the crowds. In some aspects the pay offs make the cold almost (key word is ALMOST!) bearable, which us why I have compiled a list of must haves when you want to be or need to be as crazy as I am and go to the beach. And while spring and warmer weather no longer seems like so much of a dream, New England can be quite finicky, so while I WANT to be shedding my jacket the moment it gets above fifty, it isn’t really possible and I am using these must haves long into May. But it is worth it!
A Warm Jacket
First up, you HAVE to have a warm jacket. I have documented on the blog my whole jacket saga and the hunt for the holy grail of coats, which ultimately makes me think I have to spend thousands (ah la Canada Goose) to get one, BUT I have found some that with lots of layers do do the trick. The first one is a knock off Canada Goose from Amazon which I used all last year and is super warm, my only complaint is that it isn’t long enough. And when you are walking the beach with the wind whipping at your ankles, you want your coat to be long enough! Which is where this second coat from Viga Spiga via Nordstrom comes in. I have also shared it on this blog and it is a bit more of a fashion coat, with its asymmetrical zipper and big fluffy collar. It is super lightweight, and water resistant, but surprisingly warm (though I do recommend layering) Speaking of which, because it doesn’t have a hood, it means I need to resort to the above mentioned.
Layers! Layers! And more layers! They really are a girl’s best friend especially as the weather can change so swiftly in New England depending on tides, and which way you are walking on the beach. The other day one way walking was super easy and then the other direction I was battling one heck of what felt like hurricane force winds. I definitely got my work out in! Dudley Stephens are my go to for layering. The high collar adds extra layers of warmth and the fleece material is very insulating. If it is a warmer day, I will also layer it under my Another Mile jacket from Lululemon which is also a warm jacket (though not quite twenty degree temps warm) and perfect for those more spring walks or even runs.
As I mentioned above, my Viga Spiga coat doesn’t have a hood, so I will layer a hooded sweatshirt, usually my sherpa hoodie, underneath for added warmth. I also always have a huge blanket scarf, beanie and my favorite sherpa lined mittens (legit the best investment) from Lululemon… on hand. un not intended, but it works. I like to be toasty warm, while still being able to be mobile.
Hot hands are the BEST invention. While I didn’t use them in New York (though I probably should have) I use to use them all the time when I hiked, and they saved my hands. I got frost nip when I was a teenager after skating outside, so my hands are especially sensitive to the cold and it has only gotten worse. Two years ago at the beginning of the pandemic I was shooting and it was in the teens with very high wind chill and I further damaged my hands. I also learned my lesson after that! When the temps began to drop last year, I decided to pull them out and I am so happy I did. Usually my beach time/walks coincides with shoots, and since hot hands last for at least six hours (and sometimes longer!) I will rock them on the walks too. They also help protect my phone from getting to cold.
One of the best hacks/most favorite hacks I have discovered was wearing rain boots to the beach. Honestly I am a little embarrassed at how long it took me to discover this! It isn’t just snow boots, as many of the beaches I go to are in Maine everyone is rocking the Bean boots. But nope, you need Hunter rain boots! No matter the weather and temperature of the water you can dip your feet into the ocean and feel at one with the sea. I know that sounds super poetic, but friends last year was the first time I tried it and I can’t even begin to tell you how much better I felt afterwards. Being able to frolic in the water year round is the best therapy! I have been wearing Hunter rain boots for years and love them. Since I wear the talls, I don’t have to worry about any rogue waves. I also have the inserts so my feet and legs are extra warm against the weather.
Some Other Must Haves
I wouldn’t say these prepare you for the elements, and many times I use them AFTER my walks, BUT they do make your beach adventures much more enjoyable. I always have a blanket on hand (technically year round!) on case I want to sit outside for a little bit. I also always have water. Some of my walks are six miles long and even coffee doesn’t beat drinking H2O. I also always have a portable charger AND my trusty tripod for any extra work. It also doesn’t hurt to stop and grab some food. Lastly I always have a book and a notebook for any thoughts that I want to jot down or just for some much needed reading. Despite the cold, winter beach walks really are so incredibly peaceful, and something to brighten the cold months.
Do you like to go to the beach in the winter or off season? What is your must have beach item in the winter?