“The Beach”


A New Place

In our last assignment I talked about what place meant to me. I illustrated how it shaped me as a person and why I believe it is important to everyone in some way. This week our assignment called for me to do something courageous, I had to go somewhere I had never been before. As daunting of a task as this seemed to be I would like to think that I did well in my endeavors.

As I started to think about where I wanted to lose myself I decided that I wanted to go somewhere hidden in plain sight. I thought that it would be interesting to really connect our first two assignments and check out what types of bodies of water surrounded where I currently call home. Being from Southern California I tend to think of a “beach” as something with waves, warm sand, pretty girls, and lots of sunshine. So naturally when my friends native to the area began asking me if I had ever been to the beach I freaked out. All of the memories from back home began replaying in my head like a broken film of some type. I immediately thought of how I missed surfing and walking along the boardwalk. A good friend of mine said she would go with me, so after practice we met up and headed down to “the beach.”

Once we finally got on the road I found myself rambling about how excited I was to finally see something that reminded me of home. Every time I looked over at my friend she giggled more and more as if there was a big surprise. It turns out there was one…. A very big surprise indeed. When we got there my jaw hit the floor. There was no beach, no waves, no sunshine—I was bummed. However, I realized that even though it was not Southern California I still was able to call it home. It was not as exciting and fun as back home but it was still vital to the community. As we walked around the shore I saw other people enjoying a great day at “the beach.” That place served as a refuge of peace and beauty to anyone that visited and it was clearly illustrated in the faces of those that were there that day.

Once we got back in the car I noticed how much I really began to appreciate “the beach.” It was serene. I felt as though I was looking at what all of the romantic writers from way back when were writing about. I started the car and began to ask myself “why haven’t I ever been here?” Because it really is not that far out of the way and it is not hard to get to at all. Although, I must admit it was a little weird on the way out there because the road we took did not have any markings such as lanes or anything like that. Maybe I thought it would because my California instincts told me it should but then again the more and more I investigate this Williamsburg place the more and more I forget about back home. The reason I say that is because I am slowly realizing that I can call this place home, it has begun to shape me in the same fashion that California has.

Based on what we have been learning and talking about in class I have decided that place is a very lucid term. It is something that is connected to many generations of many different people. For instance, “the beach” has been walked on by Americans since the first Americans landed here on the Mayflower. Before that there were Native Americans and before them who knows who, or even what could have been walking around. What is important to remember is that these places remain, and people leave there imprints on them. The people will come and go but the place remains constant and shapes people in the same way that it always has. This idea does not go just for “the beach,” but also for the whole town of Williamsburg.

So far in this short semester I have learned two things. The first being that place truly does shape someone’s ideologies. The second, and the one I’ll elaborate on more, is that when a person branches out without fear of what may or may not happen they will find themselves wondering why they had never tried whatever it is they are doing before. It is human nature to set limits on ourselves, but people do not realize that we set limits on our geographical location as well. I can honestly say that I have set limits on my surroundings my whole life and because of this latest assignment I refuse to do so anymore. In fact the next place I plan to investigate is a chocolate shop called Mad About Chocolate right down the street from the College Apartments.


The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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