Why would anyone leave Greenwich during the summer? We are surrounded by water, islands, a public golf course, public tennis courts, free concerts, and parks. Who could ask for anything more?
The biggest summer attraction is the town's access to the water. When our children were young, we constantly went to Greenwich Point (also called Tod's Point) -- for birthday parties, special announcements (like a new baby on the way), or to just give everyone a chance to run on the beach and plunge into the water. We preferred going at low tide because then we could create all sorts of castles and forts until they had to be "bombed away."
Today, we are more likely to bike around the Point and then picnic while watching glorious sunsets over New York City. Even though a friend often freaks out at the brazen raccoons searching for food, it remains our favorite picnic spot.
If you want a very special day, hop on the ferry and spend a few hours on Island Beach. The big temptation there is the food stand and there is no way to avoid the stand because it greets the passengers as they debark from the dock. Taking a picnic lunch to eat or dine at the tables under the shady trees makes a perfect day or evening. And with a town permit, you can spend the night at Island Beach or Great Captains Island. Then there is Byram Beach, with its sandy shore. It features a large swimming pool -- the only public pool in town -- which makes the Byram Beach Park unique in Greenwich.
But Greenwich offers so much more. Did you realize that we have 10 areas of tennis courts in town? I first started playing tennis at Central Middle School and then moved over to Bruce Park courts. The courts never seem crowded, are well maintained and are all over town, from Binney Park to Pemberwick Road to Christiano Park (a new park for me). And all for free.
I tried golfing at the public Griffith Harris course way out on King Street when we first moved to Greenwich and quickly discovered that I was not a golfer -- although the pro tried hard to convince me that anyone could learn. Good golfers tell me that the "Griff," a Robert Trent Jones-designed course, challenges even the best golfers. Fairways, the restaurant between the 9th and 10th holes, open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., offers an intriguing menu filled with meals named with golf terms. So from now on, I am eating at the Griff rather than attempting golf.
Boat owners in Greenwich know they live in paradise. With four public marinas: Mianus, Byram, Grass Island and Greenwich Point, boaters can rent inexpensive docks. We tried boating when we bought a second-hand Boston Whaler -- that lasted for one summer. We caused the Island Beach Ferry to come to a screeching halt one day when the Whaler's blades got caught in a rope and the boat lost power. The ferry was right behind us, navigating into the harbor. We were ready to abandon ship, but the captain managed to put the ferry into reverse to avoid us. We were told by our son's friend, who was working on the boat that day, that the captain cursed like mad at the crazy boaters -- I hate to admit that I was piloting the Whaler.
Then there is the music in Greenwich. We can be entertained at many free concerts during the summer, at Greenwich Point, at Binney Park, at Roger Sherwin Baldwin Park, Byram Park and on the ferry to Island Beach. One of the Greenwich Point concerts was moved inside the Greenwich Civic Center last year because of rain, and when the leader asked if anyone knew a particular jazz song, our granddaughter raised her hand, then sang with the band -- an unforgettable experience for all. Check the town's website for the time and places.
Another of the many benefits of staying in Greenwich during the summer is the available parking spaces on Greenwich Avenue. And all the stores are having sales so this is the time to park and shop the Avenue. Those who leave Greenwich during the summer just don't know what they are missing in the Northeast's hottest vacation spot.
Ann Caron is an author of books on adolescence and a parent-educator. She can be reached via email at email@example.com