Nautical & Nice: Our Beach House Dream

By TED RITTER | Sep 05, 2018
Courtesy of: Ted Ritter

About midway through our final week of this year’s summer vacation, we found on the kitchen table of our rented Brant Beach duplex a little note written by our 7-year-old daughter, Dorian. It simply said, “I love this house.” We couldn’t agree more. And we’re so happy that Dorian and her now-13-year-old sister, Jayne, love LBI, the beach and the ocean as much as we do.  

In recent years we’ve rented various places on the Island (for a week each) with our extended families and, for nearly 20 years now, have thankfully spent many weekends at my in-laws’ place in Manahawkin. So far, it has all worked out great, especially since the LBI beach house my wife and I have dreamed about since we were kids remains just a dream at this point. Yet, with each passing season, the dream begins, albeit gradually, to develop and come into focus.

Converting our dream into reality started out innocently enough by saving items we had originally contributed to my parents’ former Surf City beach house, which was sold five years ago. Among these: an LBI map, a wood oar, a framed Beach Boys “Endless Summer” poster, a favorite end table and floor lamp, our sea glass and beach badge collections, even a matching set of blue-and-white dishes. 

We’ve also picked up some really cool beachy items at random LBI garage sales, local antique shops and other places over the course of several summers: a wood sailboat model, a pressed metal whale, a nautical brass bell and, of course, a framed print of the late, great LBI Shack.

Then there are the orphaned things we have found: a plastic buoy that washed in from the bay, a large piece of driftwood in the shape of a whale (Dorian found it on the beach last Labor Day weekend), some nautical floats I made from reclaimed wood we found on a bike ride, even a rusty anchor.

Some pieces of this ever-growing collection are displayed in various parts of our home; other “artifacts” are curated with some spare furniture in our basement, just waiting for us to connect the dots and pull everything together someday under the sun on LBI.

“What’s all this stuff?” asked my sister-in-law one Christmas Eve as she helped me bring food up from the basement fridge.

“Oh, that’s all for our beach house ...” I replied.

“What beach house?!” she asked, laughing, as she peeked under a moving blanket.

“Well, our future beach house,” I clarified.

Though I’m still not sure exactly when our beach house will happen, or specifically where it will be (on-Island or mainland?), I do know what our LBI home will be: beachy, relaxed, comfortable, modest, summery, fun, happy.

I love this house.

Ted Ritter lives in Westfield, N.J.




Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.