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Capturing Davis

Words by Kate Berube

Images by Belinda Randolph-Mills

It was my first time living away from home when I found myself having to explain Davis Park to another person, a college friend from the Midwest who had never been to the East Coast. It’s a barrier island? A temporary town? A pedestrian only zone? I fell silent and chewed over the question. What’s Davis Park? “You just have to see it for yourself,” I ended up saying.

Several years later, an answer still eludes me.

To me, Davis is salt baked skin and sun dried hair. It’s clamming with your feet in the setting sun, then gleefully prying the bounty open cross-legged on the dock to slurp them down. A place where you transport your goods in red wagons, and your bare feet can take you anywhere you’re willing to go, while everyone seems to know your name along the way.

It’s manhunt in the marina with flashlights, and sandcastle construction crews in the wake of the surf. It’s cookie monster ice cream dripping down your hands in the July heat. It’s hastily made bracelets and painted seashells on sale for a quarter. It’s the quiet that accompanies a cup of coffee at the store before the rush of the first ferry arrives, a ripple in the stillness as the whole town slowly stretches awake and contemplates going back to sleep. It’s crowded, sundrenched days that give way to calm, windy nights and the brightest stars you’ll see all year. It’s burning boardwalks and boat showers.

It’s never knowing the time and always running for the Kiki. It’s ageless, winding trees that have learned to grow into the wind instead of breaking with it. It’s weak cell phone reception and strong rocket fuels. It’s the pu-pu-pu of boat engines idling back into their weekend spot but the conspicuous absence of car horns in the distance.

It’s the smell of sunscreen and the sound of laughter carried on ocean air. It’s rocking to sleep. It’s a Casino without cards and Sunday service without shoes.

It’s the embodiment of simplicity, a singular world of one: One dirt road, one doctor, one bar, one store, one post office, one fire truck, one season. Davis Park is largely untouched by time, the same wild, strange and indefinably magical place for my children that it was for me.

It’s a state of mind. It’s a way of being. And for two short months out of each year… it’s home.

For Bonnie and Carol Chance, lifelong residents of Blue Point and Davis Park’s patron saints of wayward sunburnt children. There are some people (and places) in your life so steady, so consistent, so entwined in the fabric of your being that you can’t imagine them not being there… until they’re simply not. Thank you for cultivating our love of the sea and for never failing to be a safe harbor.


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