Our family has always embraced each other’s interests. We almost take them on as our own. I have attended two weather conferences with Grace. I have run a baking camp for Lilah. It is truly wonderful when we discover an interest that we all share. For us, this interest is shelling.
You can’t shell as home. After a long and at times difficult week, Greg and I decided to skip our normal Saturday routine of food shopping, running errands and having a nice family dinner at home, in favor of exploring beaches in Connecticut and Rhode Island. We threw food into a cooler, grabbed water bottles, our microscope, shelling bags (mesh laundry bags), and headed north.
Our first stop was Rocky Neck State Park. We have mixed feelings about this beach. We love the soft white sand and the glacier formations to climb on and the contrast of colors created by the water, the sand and the rock, but we disliked the Amtrack trains that speed by every few minutes on their way to New York or Boston.
We were not sure we were going to find any shells until we explored the rocky shoreline. The rocky, slippery shoreline. Greg took a nasty fall and we were all very grateful he got up with no injuries other than a cut finger. Grace made a huge discovery here, a Knobbed Whelk, our first discovery of this shell. It was just sticking out of the sand. I am sure we have walked by countless shells because we did not notice them, or take the time to dig a little. Greg and Grace will turn over countless rocks to find what shells have washed up and been trapped under or around the rock.
Driving towards I95 we passed by The Book Barn, a huge used bookstore in Niantic. Lilah asked if we could go and since it was a “yes” kind of day, we went!
We could have spent much longer browsing, petting cats, feeding goats, and wandering through shelves but we had another goal for our day, to visit Watch Hill Beach in Rhode Island. We vowed to come back again -- soon!
Watch Hill is one of the prettiest places I know and I can’t believe I have never taken my family here before. We found whelk cases, sea urchin, drills and sea glass. The sea urchin is a bit of a mystery to us. It is definitely dead, but it is not dried out. Unlike the “shell” that washed ashore in Sanibel, this urchin has not been dead that long or it was somehow preserved. We are letting it sit, waiting and hoping that it will dry up and pull away from the shell casing so that we can extract the body without damaging the shell.
We are always learning. This discovery of shelling has truly captivated our interest, our imaginations and touched our souls. The very best part of shelling is that we are outdoors, together, in awe and wonder of our surroundings and the gifts we are able to take home and treasure long after our day has ended.