Splashing Around in the Ocean, Jumping off of Cliffs, Boogie Boarding, and Water Chicken Fights…the Memories of My Childhood

Splashing around in the ocean, jumping off of cliffs, learning how to roll in a wave, boogie boarding, and water chicken fights were all part of our daily beach adventures when I was a child. Singing, dancing, playing horse shoes or cards, and drinking until the wee hours of the morning filled my early adult life and shaped the bond between my family members. All of my fondest family memories took place in one location. When I think about being “home” or reflect on my greatest form of happiness it is Ingonish, Nova Scotia that holds my heart and it was with great anticipation that I introduced Darren, my husband, to my happy place and a large piece of my past. On our first vacation to Ingonish together, I knew that Darren needed to experience Smokey Mountain, Black Brook Beach, Black Brook Falls, and Ingonish Beach to have a glimpse of my life and become part of it.

As we drove over Smokey Mountain together, I remembered the countless times I made the journey in my grandparent’s Nissan truck. We’d sing “On Top of Ol’ Smokey”, stop at look-offs, and cringe at the never-ending drop from the top of the mountain. The sight of Smokey Mountain Ski Resort is the first indication that I am back in Heaven. I take that turn with a smile every time.

Our first official stop was at Black Brook Beach. I’ve been around the globe and swam in many waters. The warmth of the French Riveria or the shimmering, crystal blue Caribbean Sea don’t hold a candle to the large refreshing waves at Black Brook Beach. Although the August breakers can be extreme and the water is cold enough to make your whole body hurt, it is worth every goose bump. If you’re strong enough to stand up against the waves and thick-blooded enough to brave the icy waters, you can consider yourself a true Nova Scotian.

Darren’s initial look of complete shock, as his toes touched the water, loosened up when I dove in and embraced the salty sea. He wasn’t far behind and I already admired his ability to adapt. We brought the water-proof camera with us and made an adventure out of our afternoon at the beach.

A stop at Black Brook Beach wouldn’t be complete without hiking the trails and exploring the hidden coves.

Black Brook Falls opens the hiking trails with an inspiring view of the jagged cliffs and busy beach below, but it is the hidden cove that makes me take a deep breath, relax, and truly enjoy the surroundings.

I shared stories from my life and brought Darren into my world just a little bit more. We listened to the waves crashing on the rocks and watched teens jump from the cliffs above, creating our own special memories in a place that brought sheer joy to my heart.

Ingonish Beach was a step even further back into my past. Before I was old enough to bravely boogie board the huge waves or shiver through the freezing waters, my family took me to the lake at Ingonish Beach. It may have been there that I developed my fear of water creatures because we were constantly brushed by eels, but it didn’t seem to bother me as a child. Besides, as a child, I always had my massive grandfather to fend of any unwanted guests. He was Poseidon, the God of the sea, and nothing could hurt me in his presence.

With hiking trails, the life-guarded ocean, swings, the lake, showers, tennis courts, and a soccer field, Ingonish Beach is a great place to spend the day with family. My younger sister and brother may remember playing tennis in the evenings there or flying high on the swings, my parents may remember cooling off in the clear ocean, and my grandparents may have a special affliction for the ice creams from the small vendor, but it’s the lake look-off that makes me a child all over again.

As we walked through the trails and watched the sun set, I knew that Darren fit into my life, past and present. We were free to act like children together. We embraced the ocean, strolled bare-foot along the beach, watched life happen around us, and completely filled the moments with our love.

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46 thoughts on “Splashing Around in the Ocean, Jumping off of Cliffs, Boogie Boarding, and Water Chicken Fights…the Memories of My Childhood

    • California is a beautiful place to live and we couldn’t be happier that we chose here to begin our life as a family, but the peacefulness of Ingonish, Nova Scotia could never be matched. We sat on that bench and talked for our an hour without interruption. Some days I do miss the serenity.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment; it’s appreciated.

      Lesley

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    • I love that photo too. We just placed the camera on the ground and put it on the multiple shot setting. It worked out well. Darren has a great imagination for creative shots.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment; it’s appreciated.

      Lesley

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  1. So inspiring to see you fierce loving and embracing of each other’s world, Lesley and Darren! I especially love the tenderness of your last 2 photos. xoxox

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  2. I loved this post. Sharing the places that formed us with the people that are important part of our lives now is so special. You captured all of that so well with your writing about taking your husband back to your roots. Nice!

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  3. Hi, Lesley! Thanks for “liking” my blog posts. Great photos you took! I love the rugged cliffs and hope to get to Nova Scotia some day. It’s so isolated and peaceful and beautiful. What a wonderful love story and congrats on the little one coming soon! There’s a sequel to the post you read appearing on November 18th. I hope you’ll check back for the end of that story. Thanks, again for stopping by and reading my blog.

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  4. Lovely pictures! I love the rock formations of the northeastern coastlines. I think the most interesting beach I was at was the one at the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. The creek runs down out of the hills and into the sea. In a heavy rain, with the fog swirling in from the sea, I stood in the creek where it met the ocean. You could feel the difference in the salt and the temperature of the two masses of water where they met. And then out of the pouring rain and fog, a huge helicopter thundered past, not a hundred meters above the beach. It was amazing.

    Hearst Castle, though, is a decorator’s nightmare. (shudder)

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  5. A terrific story punctuated by great photos! Your blog is a pleasure to read; it flows so well and gets us readers right there with you. Keep up the great work!

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  6. I can see why you love this place. Looks beautiful! I feel that way about the Tetons in Wyoming. I’ve traveled a little and seen many wonderful places. But I still feel nostalgic about the Tetons where I spent many happy summers during my childhood.

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    • Do you get to return to Tetons often?

      I never made it to Ingonish last summer and although I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, I did miss it.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment; it’s appreciated.

      Lesley

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  7. The only way I know about Nova Scotia is through the ‘Anne’ books by L.M. Montgomery. And I’d made a resolution to visit this place at least once in my life. This post has strengthened my resolve! Beautiful pictures 🙂

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    • Nova Scotia is beautiful in the summer and fall, but I’d avoid any travel there during the winter months.

      If you do make it, be sure to visit Cape Breton and the Cabot Trail. It is amazing!

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment; it’s appreciated.

      Lesley

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  8. I love revisiting places that hold such poignant, fun memories–and especially being able to share them with that someone who “gets” you. Nova Scotia and PEI are dream trip destinations for me–I can’t wait to go some day. ~~Bliss

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    • Thanks Diane! Travel and adventure have shaped my life as much as family and friends. I’m blessed to have a husband who not only understands that, but is just as passionate about it.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment; it’s appreciated.

      Lesley

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  9. My friend (from Clare also), has a fascination with the concept of home. I’m going to share this with her on Facebook in the hopes of inspiring her to start her own blog. Thanks for posting!

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  10. Looks like a great day, my wife and I have a problem. She is a water baby and me a mountain man. She has to drive in the mountains, too dangerous for me, gawping at the views. When we head to the beach she is in the water before we even park the car. We adapt, except in cold Atlantic breakers, I have no liking for going numb! She on the other hand cannot see my pleasure in clumping through the snow to the top of a hill, but we do try for each other.

    Keep having the adventures,

    Jim

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  11. Wow, I didn’t know you were from Nova Scotia. My husband’s name comes from that part of the world, Melancon. Apparently some Melancons immigrated from Arcadia and headed down south to Louisiana. There is a town in Nova Scotia with a plaque listing all the Melancons! I haven’t been there yet but my in-laws and parents have. I’ve heard it is sensationally beautiful! Hope to go someday and retrace my husband’s heritage!

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  12. Did you know that there are 31 definitions for the word “home” on dictionary.com? Not one of them captured the true essence of the word as well as this post did. Thanks.

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  13. What a beautiful place to grow up – I wish it wasn’t so expensive to travel within Canada otherwise I definitely would have made a trip up to Nova Scotia by now from Vancouver. Thanks for sharing!

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  14. Lived in “the Valley” for 2 years (moved a year ago) and miss it dearly. A bit different than Ingonish, but I really enjoyed every part of Nova Scotia and would love to move back if given the chance. You were lucky to have a childhood in such a great place! Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Pingback: Making all her dreams come true, yours too with extreme adventure and travel | All About Travel

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