Posted by: scribe9 | February 16, 2010

Endless summer

Further along Shipwreck Bay from where we’re staying is a big old house that is now the Endless Summer Lodge. It’s a “backpackers,” short for backpackers’ accommodation, which means a very casual place to stay, with dorm rooms as well as singles and doubles, and shared kitchens and baths.

The lodge came by its name honestly. Part of the iconic surfing movie was filmed here, because of the world-class left-hand break. (And if you saw the movie when it first came out, you’ll be delighted to know that that was 44 years ago. Feeling older now?)

This town is about endless summer in another way, too. It’s become a seasonal home to snowbirds–mostly Americans, but a smattering of Canadians and English. The flight here isn’t that much longer than to Hawaii or the Southwest, and it’s a far cheaper and less crowded place to stay.

The apartment we’re staying in is the daylight basement of a two-storey house. The owners, retired teachers, are gearing up to live in the top storey during the summer, renting out the main living area for months at a time; that’s part of their retirement plan.

I’d guess that the beachfront house that’s Santa Fe style is owned by Americans. Even though it looks a bit odd in the leafy subtropics, it’s no more of an eyesore than the usual new New Zealand house, which tends toward odd angles and corrugated metal walls as well as roof. There are several small beach houses that are simply small corrugated metal boxes with a few holes punched in for windows.

There’s no water system here as far as I can tell. Everyone uses cisterns, which means huge plastic or concrete tanks in the yards.

And there are plenty of horses. I read some of the Chincoteague horse books as a child, but I don’t understand the magnetic attraction between beaches and horses.


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