Sunday, August 15, 2010

In less than three weeks we will be flying into Boston on our way to Onset Island. And since it has been three years since I last made it to the island I think it is justified for me to be a little excited. I mean, this is where the McBride family has retreated every September for over ten years. We have established a reputation at O.I. and though we arrive in the post-season a number of the summer islanders return for our annual Saturday evening contra dance.

It is a retreat from the real world away from computers and television and proper civilization. A place where you have to row across to the mainland every day to fill up the cottage's ration of gallon jugs for drinking water. And where every bathroom is equipped with signs like "if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down". It just doesn't get much more romantic than that. Since college my attendance has been sporadic, to say the least. So any chance I get to return to the island and to see the rest of the McBride clan makes me very happy. And this year is even more special because Annie and I will be introducing the next generation to the island for the first time.

So in honor of all of this I am indulging myself in an Onset Island countdown to psych myself up for all of my favorite island sights, sounds and activities. In no particular order.

#1. Arriving at the island.
I realize that as a kid this was much more exciting than it probably will be as an adult. Back in the day we just had to pile in the car and do whatever chores we happened to get assigned and then escape responsibilities as soon as possible to shed our shoes, jump in the water and run wild all over the island. This year I will be officially accepting the responsible role of adult and parent and will have to accept the annual grocery shopping trip, preparing meals, and managing our own cottage - since it looks like we will probably get the Pink Cottage all to ourselves. (This I am very excited about.)
But I digress. Arriving at the island will still filled with a lot of anticipation and excitement. After all the traveling and packing and planning we are finally on the main wharf, smelling the salty Cape Cod ocean breeze, watching the spider crabs scuttling around under the wooden row boats as we load up all of our earthly possessions for the short trip over to the island wharf.

This process takes almost all afternoon, especially since the McBride family has grown considerably over the years. Sometimes our faithful islander friend, Leslie Andersen, brings over her motorboat and speeds up the process for us considerably. But then once on OI we still have to load all the bags from the boats into the wheelbarrows and cart them to our various cottages scattered across the twelve acre island.

#2. The path.
This is the main sandy path that runs up from the island wharf to the center of the island. It winds past the lagoon, playground, basketball and volleyball courts and opera tree and connects various side paths running to and from cottages. I have spent many hours walking up and down this path with dirty bare feet (usually cut up from walking on sharp rocks and seashells since we wouldn't heed Mom's protests that we always wear our sandals). It is a favorite place on the island.

#3. Onset Island sunsets.
The first evening's sunset is all the reward you need for working so hard to get to the island. The call of gulls, the salty air, the sound of waves and clank of boats knocking against their moorings... This is the life.

I'm stoked already. Bring on the island life.


  1. That sounds so wonderful! Have a great time when you go - I'm envious that you have such a special place for your family!

  2. Sounds like a great trip! Can we come? I am in desparate need of a vacation! :)


  3. This sounds just like something out of Cheaper by the Dozen or something! I want to go on a New England seaside summer vacation!