by Lily Meyer
Maybe you’re spending your whole summer in DC. It’s hot, it’s humid, there are flies crawling up your window and someone’s arm sticks to yours on the Green Line, but remember, there’s Great Falls. And Roosevelt Island. And Rock Creek Park. Or you can make like my brother and get some friends, wait till dark, build a fire next to the Potomac and go fishing. Just don’t eat the fish. Instead, bring snacks and a six-pack of local beer: Port City Pilsner (from, shh, Virginia), or Chocolate City Cerveza Nacional, or, of course, DC Brau.
But after two months, you decide no: it’s August, and you need a break. You need crashing waves and Coppertone sweat. You’re driving to Delaware. Enjoy those three hours of green fields and red barns, closed-up roadside stands that used to sell melons and corn, water towers shaped like E.T.’s head. They mean the beach is coming. In the morning you’ll sit next to the surf as the tide comes up, look across the water at boats heading into Cape May, take a walk down hot sand or hot boardwalk, drive to Lewes for the best butter pecan ice cream at King’s, and it’s Delaware, so you’re drinking Dogfish Head. 90 Minute IPA, I think.
And the problem is, you have such a good weekend that on Sunday, you can’t get yourself to go home. You drive north, not south. Power through New Jersey—with a diner stop for a very tall sandwich, for fuel—skirt around New York, blast through Connecticut and in a cool eight hours you’ve run away to Rhode Island. Go to the beach in Barrington, where if you’re lucky, which you are, the water glows after sunset. Not from the shore. Dive in, stand up, and your arms drip bioluminescent light. If your night swim gets you cold, curl up in a big towel with a tallboy of Narragansett. They make a summer version with lemonade, if you’d like.
In the morning, you keep going. You have some options here. You could go straight north to New Hampshire and buy a tax-free case of Long Trail Summer Ale to drink in the White Mountains while you set up base camp, or build a hermit cabin, if you want to make your escape permanent. Hey, live free or die. You could swing northwest to Vermont, spend a day dreaming by the lake in Burlington, drinking Magic Hat Dream Machine. Or you could bend northeast to Maine, go to Portland and pick up some Allagash White before you drive out the rocky coast, through pine trees and white-sided churches and blueberry bushes, till you get to Estes’ Lobster Pound, where you can watch the sea right out the window. But me, I’m driving east. I’m driving to the end of the country, out the long arm of Cape Cod to Truro, which faces west for perfect sunsets. I’m buying a growler of Cape Cod Beach Blonde at the Pamet Package Store, right on the highway, and getting sand on my feet for the rest of the summer. That’s my plan.
Lily Meyer is a fiction writer. She was born and raised in Washington, DC. Follow her @lilyjmeyer
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