by Chrysa Smith

So, what’s worse than a snowy, Monday morning?

A rainy beach day. Or at least that’s what I thought until I realized, hey–as moms, we’re always hearing kids say, “There’s nothing to do.” And as moms, we keep telling kids, “There’s always something you can do.” So, I decided I needed to take my own advice. And do you know what? We’ve been right all along.

Rewind back a few weeks to my blog about Positively Fourth—the cute, eclectic coffee shop in Ocean City, NJ. The Szabos (owners) kindly invited me down for a night of ‘drumming’ and a stay at the Inn at Laurel Bay (over the coffee shop).

Rain was beating down the car window as I made my way along the Atlantic City Expressway. Ever the optimist, I kept saying to my friend and myself, tomorrow will be a better day. It was. But even if it wasn’t I did discover that there’s much to do beside the beach, once you get to know beach towns a bit better.

We arrived for the drumming and were surprised by a lovely meal (the couple serves up some mean desserts and tasty salads). Intimidated by our lack of musical prowess, we sat back and were politely handed some ‘shakers’ for the timid beat-keepers. I have to say, some of the surfers and artists on sizeable drum sets looked like they might be headed on tour. So, my CPA friend and I sat comfortably off-center and shook our shakers to the beat of the rhythm of the night.

It wasn’t intended to be a sacred spiritual circle or anything that new-age. But, the beats were primal and the rhythms, penetrating and addictive. And as people came in and out of the group, rhythms would slowly shift, changing the beat to something completely different than where it all began.  Drum circle—circle of life? Maybe. Next time, I’ll beat on a bongo and see how it all feels. 

The rain ended, we got to stretch our legs on the boardwalk, and to our surprise, we actually hit a few new shops where we could buy more than a hermit crab and five pounds of salt water taffy. The boardwalk shops are upscaling themselves—another nice treat.

Then, off to bed for the night at the inn—not beachy nor cottagy, nor nautical nor oceany. I had the Roman room–or perhaps I should say ‘ruin’–because my rose-colored walls were finished like ancient Roman plaster. Split columns and beams framed out the room, along with a partially cracked wall which housed the plumbing for my claw-foot bathtub. Life-size, partially clad Romans watched over me as I slept; the comforting scents of brewing coffee and baking muffins gently awakening me in the morning. It’s not your standard Holiday Inn room—-but rather, an escape from the ordinary–a place where the staff knows your name, remembers what you fancy and sits down to chat awhile.

And after my stay, I had learned of new places, new people, art classes and galleries, poetry readings and musical events that fill in the spaces and time off the sand. Always something new, fun and good to do, if you just look between the drops.