Road trip firsts on the MetroNorth

I don’t really ride the train — except the subway, which really is a local train ride as far as I’m concerned. The few times (as in 2-3 times) that I had ventured to take the Long Island Rail Road to visit my friend in Lindenhurst, Long Island, were still, technically, very local.

Thursday, July 1st, saw me actually doing my first interstate train ride, as I jumped on a Metro North train at Grand Central heading to New Haven to join my friends for the Fourth of July weekend.

Road trip: on the metro north

While I have avoided riding much of public transportation during the pandemic, I thought this was different being that it was not a regular commute to just anywhere. I was heading to Maine for the Fourth of July weekend and had to join friends who were based in Connecticut, hence the ride. Two hours and something to New Haven, we then drove a few hours to Augusta, Maine where we spent the night. We wanted to do the remaining 3-4 hours to Greenville before noon so we could make it to our destination without killing too much of the day on the road.

This was a trip of firsts for me. It’s literally my first road trip on my own without family. It came together rather spontaneously over lunch two weeks before, and things took a while to arrange until everything fell into place. So when all was said and done, I hied off not knowing what to expect.

I just wanted to spend the long weekend doing something different. Beyond the road trip, being away on a planned hike was something totally new for me as well. I had my apprehensions about the whole thing but decided that it was a good opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. I did my research on what I needed to bring, bought the minimal gear needed (hiking sneakers with good traction), borrowed a Swiss Army knife, and assembled my weekend wardrobe. I researched and pulled together my own hiking essentials, skipping the head lamp for light flashlights and worked out an elementary first aid kit. Since there was no electricity except in the main lodge, I also bought a solar charging power bank. (More on all of this later.). I had a light backpack already and at least one water bottle. My friends had promised to bring me towels, an extra pillow and more water bottles. They were the seasoned outdoors people— so I listened and just did some extra research about where we were headed.

I hurdled the first task of packing my gear after two attempts, reminding myself that it had to be done in such a way that I could lug everything in and out of the train, both ways. I didn’t really want to take an Uber to the city, and even if I did, I had to make sure I’d be able to make it from the car to the train platform. News flash: there are no trolleys at the station. From the initial 4 pieces, I trimmed it down to three. I had a roller luggage, a full back pack and a casual tote. I decided I would not bring my laptop even if I meant to work part of the first and last day on the road. I also chose my most battered tote so that I wouldn’t feel bad about setting it down on the floor if I had to. This was roughing it out for me.

I had ordered postcards to bring and send back on the day we confirmed I could be added to the reservation, so I packed my return address labels, stamps and airmail stickers along with the right pens to use. I have always made it a habit to send postcards back home from my travels, either addressed to me or my son. I would also send to a select few fellow postcard collectors or friends— sent straight from where the postcards were coming from or were about.

Postcards for the road trip

While I would normally be more conservative with the shoe allocation, I had to keep in mind that this was a hiking trip. I was told to bring shoes I was already comfortable in, plus the optional water shoes and slippers for the shower and the cabin. All check. My hike sneakers arrived a few days before the end of the month, so I “broke the pair in” by using it during my 10,000 step walks at least 2 days before. I could’ve traveled with the hike shoes from the get go, but wearing comfortable shoes while traveling (by air or land) meant slip ons. I went with my leather TOMS which would’ve been lighter in the luggage if I packed them, but I walked in them instead. The sneakers — both pairs —went in the suitcase with the water shoes and the slippers. 5 pairs of footwear, on any given trip, was actually a lot for me..

I looked up the schedules way ahead of time, and coordinated with my friends in Connecticut. We finalized schedules the day of, and I hopped on the train that would get me there just in time for my friend, Gedd, to pick me up at Union Station closer to 5pm. On the way to Connecticut, I purchased my off peak ticket from one of the many kiosks in Grand Central, then looked up the track information from the boards.

On the train, most people observed social distancing so it wasn’t terribly packed. Besides, I slid into a 2-seater and put the roller in front of the second seat beside me so nobody could take it. Unlike the express MTA buses I was used to riding which had USB ports for charging, the train had actual electric outlets to plug any hardware you might want to charge. My first ride was uneventful, and it helped that I got on the train at the originating station and got off at the last stop. You can’t go wrong with that.

Upon disembarking from the train, I followed the crowd as they exited into a modern tube that then led to the more classic Union Station. Road trip: on the metro north As it happened, Gedd was running late and that gave me time to stop by the lone convenience store which had a postcard rack. (Happiness!) I picked up some (more) postcards and a snack and sat until Gedd showed up. How lucky could I get? Postcards of Connecticut right there at the station.

Road trip: on the metro north

Our ultimate destination was Gorman Chairback Lodge in Greenville, Maine. They had plotted the trip so that we broke it up in two by spending the evening in Augusta. This meant driving from Connecticut to Maine through most of the evening, and then heading out the next morning in time to reach Greenville just around lunch time.

As we made our way back to Connecticut, I bought my return ticket via the Metro North app, activating it as we approached the front driveway. Once on board, I just flashed the QR code to the conductor and I was off.

The train ride to and from Hew Haven and New York was pretty uneventful but memorable for the first it was. That might seem like such a shallow thrill for people who commute on the MetroNorth or LIRR on a regular basis, but not for me— more so in the time of Covid restrictions. Strange, though, it may be for someone who has been in the US for almost 21 years now — and stranger still that I have been in New York all that time. Like I always say, I learn something new everyday. It’s really a convenient way to travel for shorter distances, or when you want to take the so-called scenic route. I’m already planning my next trip which might be a longer ride, but definitely to a destination close by.

Grand Central the night I came back on July 6, 2021

On the road through the years

Road tripAs I write this, we’re driving down to Washington DC to attend a wedding. Things sure have changed from the days of MapQuest and driving as a couple to today’s GPS and the boy seating in front and me relegated to the back.

I remember how we used to fight because I failed to prompt the turn or exit in time until I got the rhythm of reading the directions and calling them out. These days, any wrong turns are more because of the kid talking over the audio prompts or an outright miscalculation of the driver.

I still travel with my bag of “go-to” items… Paper towel, folded plastic bags, sanitizer, snacks, water, baby wipes. And there are the chargers, the various handhelds, the iPad, etc. the technology actually came in handy today as the boss started texting me early this morning. While I am happy he misses me, I worry that I’m out at the wrong time and day and start feeling guilty. I am lucky that he is generally very mindful of reaching out to me when I am out of the office, so when he does, I pay heed.

But back to being on the road.

I don’t know about you but I like visiting the rest areas. The ones in Maryland, in particular, have been recently renovated and Angelo says that they feel like you’re in an airport food court. I like browsing the convenience stores for postcards and other souvenirs. During the last trip, I got some wood-mounted postcards that were quite a find. We also got the tiniest snow globe magnet of New Jersey for my nephew, Art.

Each trip is different even if we have a familiar destination we’ve driven to and from before. This one’s been easier for the usually car sick 10-year-old this time around, thanks to his sea bands and meds. I let him sit in front and enjoy the drive with his Dad behind the wheel. I sit at the back and do my own thing.

We usually seek out the Cracker Barrel restaurants along the way, but we were in a rush to get going given all the traffic we hit, we’re postponing that for the trip back.

Of roadtrips, etc.

Vacations are things I look forward to and dread at the same time.  It’s not so much the vacation per se but the getting there.  Sometimes we fly, sometimes we drive.  Last week’s vacation was a drive to Williamsburg, VA which was probably our fourth if not fifth trip there.

This year was different because the ten-year-old now chooses to travel comfy (translated: with a pillow and blankie) and he packs his own backpack now.  (I still pack his clothes in the suitcase, though.)  And while car sickness is still a problem despite his Sea-Band Acupressure Wrist Bands, it’s a little easier to manage.

I personally pack my go-to tote which contains my journals, art stuff to bring, magazines and other knickknacks.  The sanitizers and wipes go into either his backpack or my tote, but always INSIDE the car.

Things to remember before leaving the house:

1.  Pack your chargers and make sure all handhelds are fully charged.  (You only have so many plugs to charge into in the car.)

2.  Bring drinking water and other beverages to save you from buying at every stop.  If you travel with kids who drink from juice packs, freeze a few the night before and keep it in a cooler.  You won’t need any ice to go with the drinks because the individual packs will cool the container.

4.  Don’t forget snacks.  Kids often get hungry between rest stops and you don’t want to have to stop just for food.

5.  Pack a plastic bag specifically for trash in the car and discard at the next stop or when full.

6.  If your child tends to get car sick, fold and pack several good plastic shopping bags.  Make sure they have no holes so that you don’t have to scramble with gooey drips if you happen to have the kid throw up into a bag with holes.

7.  Pack ample napkins or a roll of paper towels if you can.  You never know if you will have to clean up.

Things to remember when in the car:

1.  Make sure the seats are comfy and that your child stays buckled up.

2.  Keep the drinks in cupholders where they will be upright and will prevent spills.

3.  Use the compartments behind the seats wisely by putting items that you might need to grab in a huff like napkins or barf bags.  Keep the maps, information sheets or ticket printouts there as well.  Avoid storing bulky items that might impede movement of the passengers.

I enjoyed this particular road trip.  It was relaxing even if I had to grab a bunch of motion sickness tablets an hour into the trip at a stop, and coax the boy to down the tablet.  The good news is that it worked almost instantaneously as promised!  We did our usual stops — finding one Cracker Barrel restaurant along the way for lunch. Browsing their country store is always a trip in itself and the food is reasonably priced and satisfying.

I had the seasonal Campfire Chicken Meal which came out wrapped like the left and unwrapped to a sumptuous feast on the right.
Cracker Barrel Campfire Chicken mealCracker Barrel Campfire Chicken meal

All for $9.99!  It’s always an enjoyable experience going around their stores and eyeing the decor in their restaurants which are, uncanniliy, almost perfect repiicas of one another.

Needless to say, we did another Cracker Barrel stop on the way back.  It’s now part of our road trip routine.  Cracker Barrel branches are located off of most high way stops all throughout the United States.  If you haven’t tried it yet, just going in is an experience that should make your trip worth it.

Road trip: Fairfax, VA and Baltimore, MD tomorrow

We’re in the thick of summer and while we had hoped to do more, work and other priorities have forced us to scale down on trips. But we’re always open to doing something spontaneous like driving cousin G to cousin D’s place from New York to DC. It’s always good to see family even if only one night.

So I’m writing this in the kitchen in between treats and savories ranging from barbecued spare ribs to ceviche and kilawin. It’s my nephew, Chris’, graduation party, and the house is overflowing with his mom’s and dad’s friends. I’ve done the round of introductions to guests, photographed, uploaded and tagged people, and now I’m taking it easy just trying to sneak a post here.


It’s a typical Filipino party with drinks and food aplenty. Laughter and reminiscing included. I can’t even remember when was the last time I heard “Hard Core Poetry”. (And I’m sure a lot of people younger than 40 will have a hard time placing the song.). Even I had to pause a while to try and remember the title of the song. “This is a song, not necessarily sweet…”. I guess my year or so in a radio station playing these songs sort of helped.

Yummy cupcakes by Charmaine

I’m stuffed. There’s finger turon a few inches away. I’m saying no to the alcohol, though, because we’re going to try and make it to Harbor Place in Baltimore tomorrow. The pancit got me full. And there was laughter going all around.
It has been over a decade since I last went to Baltimore. We want to show him the submarine and the lighthouse by the pier. Another day to look forward to then we drive back to New York.

The Fourth of July Weekend looms ahead

I started writing this post two days ago (Monday) as I was thinking about it being a Monday when I was in a (somewhat) upbeat mood and yet looking forward to the weekend.  We are planning a short weekend trip to Lake George where we hope to spend some fun time together as a family.  We’re even taking my mother-in-law who has been enticed by the change of scenery and the promised fresh air.

I didn’t get any further than that first paragraph and my blog post lay in draft mode. 

I’ve been ticking off a mental checklist in my head, and I am actually going to do a written one today — marshalling my resources and making sure I have everything covered.  I even got a new swimsuit more suitable to my current voluptuous size. (wink)  I am also trying to get together the pantry supplies we will need, as well as trying to cover “entertainment” options.  (Read: downloading my ABS-CBN soaps so I can catch up.)  I would like to see the P-Noy (President Noynoy Aquino) Inaugural or part of it if I can.  (Check.)  I also want to be able to finally finish the English translation of Il Filibusterismo which has been in my living room all this time, and maybe start reading something new.  (I am still trying to get on with “Pride & Prejudice” which came free with the E-reader from Barnes and Noble on my Blackberry.)  I just let out an audible sigh after I realized that I have been no good in the reading department even if I don’t have to buy any new books to read, because I’ve had a dozen or so collecting dust on my bookshelf.

Sunblock, lotion, chapstick.  Snacks, artificial sweetener, water.  Some of these things we will probably get closer to our destination.  (Milk, for one, cannot be lugged from Queens to Lake George — unless I get the UHT variety…)  And the usual stamps and address labels for my postcards.  I am actually thinking about using some vintage postcards of Lake George that I came across years ago and which is part of my New York Postcard collection (vintage and new) and send them home which is what I customarily do whenever we go on a trip. 

I am even working on my scrapbook embellishments ahead (this time) just so I can start some layouts as I go along.  I’m using brown (kraft) paper on this project and am all excited about the different things I’ll be creating.  (Which I hope to share as downloads for those digital scrapbookers who might stray into this part of the blogsphere.)  So let’s see where that goes…

Driving to Rochester

We’re driving to Rochester tonight and have around another 3 hours more to go. Alan and three other batchmates from De la Salle Zobel Batch ’84 are having a mini-reunion in the house of one of them who happens to be in this part of New York.

We have never been this far deep into New York state, and it’s been an interesting drive so far even if the sun had set more than 2 hours ago. The full moon above us is illuminating the snow-dusted mountainside, and Alan has been saying he imagines how breathtaking the view must be during the daytime. We’ll see for ourselves come Sunday when we drive home.

I’m seated in the back with Angelo who is napping away. Alan keeps grumbling that our GPS needs replacing because it has frozen at least three times since we left the house just before 3pm. I’ve backed up the directions on my blackberry for good measure.

We’re now in the Finger Lakes Region. The landscape hypnotizes as the full moon renders the snow half luminous. Many of the houses are gaily decorated with christmas lights, and it’s a sight to see the houses perched atop the mountains or out in the middle of what looks like farmland.

25 degrees fahrenheit outside. The snow seemns to be intent to linger in these parts.  It’s just another road trip but I always enjoy the journey with my boys.  I’m fully armed with baon — I have my roll of paper towels and sanitizer handy.  I have ample wipes.  That’s the mommy going on the road.

"Christmas Trees" in Brussels

I’ve been trying to research on these Christmas Trees obviously rendered by artists that were anchored to street posts around the streets surrounding the Grand Place.  They were quite a sight to behold once you take them collectively.  The second tree below was actually made up of mussels painted ini gold.  It was encased in plastic wrap to prevent people from getting “souvenirs” I suppose.

Wouldn’t it be nice if a similar project was undertaken in Manila with the “trees” rendered by young artists from the art schools we have? 


A visit to Kennedy Country: Hyannis, MA

We had started planning a vacation in Europe but decided to stay Stateside because we made a choice between exploring Geneva, Brussels and Lyon which would’ve meant a lot of walking — or chilling out some place we can just take things easy.  The next choices were Cancun or Orlando, but the former would’ve meant a long trip but a value-for-money vacation in a place we’ve already visited so we could just while the hours away by the pool, and the latter was a tempting choice but we were just there in April.  Alan and I have been talking of going to visit Cape Cod after visiting Kennebunkport in July, and we decided to finally go before summer was totally gone.

I always leave it to Alan to find a place to stay at since he is in the hospitality industry.  He picked an all-efficiency studio hotel near the water by Ocean Street, and the Cape Cod Harbor House Inn (Bed and Breakfast) turned out to be a good choice because it was located near several areas where we could walk to.  It was just a stone’s throw away from Spanky’s Clamshack where we took out two lobster dinners to enjoy with rice in our room, and where we later had a family dinner during our last night there.  You could easily walk to the Aselton Memorial Park where there are free concerts, photo opportunities and shacks that display local artists.  (Watch out for signs saying if the artist shacks will be open.)

We were also just a short walk away to Hy-line Cruises where you could take a sightseeing cruise, or any of the ferries to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket.  Ocean Street is also where some of the beaches of Hyannis are located, particularly Veteran’s Park Beach where Angel had his first taste of swimming on the beach.  We had actually tried Kalmus Beach Park but it was closed when we drove there, so we opted for Veteran’s instead.  These are considered family friendly beaches because there is natural protection against the waves which make for relatively calmer waters.

Arriving there mid-afternoon on Sunday, we tried to find a lighthouse but the first lighthouse that the GPS picked up was the one on West Dennis Beach.  It was a lighthouse attached to a restaurant as part of its architecture but not a fully functional lighthouse.  I just snapped away and we started looking for a clamshack, ending up at Spanky’s where we ordered two lobsters to go.  I had made a mental note to purchase and bring along a lobster cracker and picks which, of course, I failed to do, but I thought I’d hop on to the Hy-Line Gift Shop next door and try my luck. And it turned out to be a good decision because I did find one, which helped me pick the meat from the claws with not much grief.  (I just had to duck when the lobster juices squirted out of the claws when I cracked them.) 

The next day we decided to go to Martha’s Vineyard which part of this vacation I will discuss in detail in another blogpost. 

We tried to find a nearby lighthouse and ended up here at Dennis Beach
Unfortunately, it was rather muggy and getting dark but I stepped out of the car and started to take pictures..
There was a lighthouse at Lighthouse Inn but it was basically a restaurant with a light -- not an actual lighthouse
It would've been great if the sun was out, but I'm happy with the pictures I got.
This was my first view of a beach here in Hyannis.
A view of Hyannisport where the Hy-Line Cruises have their dock (
Another Hyannisport picture taken aboard the traditional ferry we took to Martha's Vineyard
My boys at Veteran's Park Beach which is adjacent to the Hyannis Yacht Club whose many boats you can view from the shore. They served to buffer the waves as well which makes this beach ideal for kids because you don't have to deal with big waves or violent tides.
Veteran's Park beach is right next to the Korean War Memorial and the John F. Kennedy Memorial which we visited. Here are some shells I put together for a possible scrapbook matting.
The water is clean and much warmer than the freezing waters we are used to here in New York. The beach is dotted with shells and the dry sand is combed everyday which makes it ideal for spreading out your beach towel or picnic mat.
We were fortunate enough that the beach wasn't crowded at all the day we went out. That's another big difference from the beaches here in Long Island where the shore can get crowded... very crowded.
There were a few birds that stopped by -- I snapped the pictures here and more...
The plaque at the John F. Kennedy Memorial where there is a fountain where donations can be thrown in. (Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of this fountain although I have portions of it with close ups of Angel.
This breathtaking view of Hyannisport greets you from the memorial.
The presidential seal which greats visitors from the parking lot, behind which the actual memorial is along with the fountain.
CAFFE E DOLCI on Main Street where we would go back several times for coffee and other sweet treats. A good place to chill when you're walking through Main Street which has shops and restaurants.
John F. Kennedy's statue in front of the Kennedy Museum on Main Street.
The entrance to the museum up close. Intimate portraits of the Kennedy family and the First Family and other memorabilia can be found inside.
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Returning to Boston

It was in 2002 when Alan had me tag along on a business trip to Boston, which meant he went to meetings and I explored the city on my own with my body bag and first ever digital camera on hand.  It feels like it was ages ago since I did the Freedom Trail, a self guided tour of historic sites which has you following a red trail through the streets of Boston.  This was my first time exploring a city outside of New York and it was a very exciting and enlightening experience for me.  It helped me to appreciate a part of the history of my adopted country, and it was one of my first taste of the different flavors of the diversity of America.

While we had the overnight stay at our friend’s place in Newton was part of our plan, stopping by Boston came as a spur of the moment decision.  Our main objective was to get some sightseeing done while intending to have lunch here before driving to Cape Cod.  Alan has been to Boston before but had never done the Freedom Trail so I was supposed to be the expert on where to go.  I knew right off that I wanted to see Faneuil Hall again — I did some great shopping there the first time (like snapping up a throw-size embroidered wrap from Banana Republic originally selling for $85.00 for a measly $10!)…  We also had some Boston sightseeing books courtesy of our friends on hand, so we drove in and found a parking spot at one of the side streets around the area of Post Office Square and walked to our destination.

We grabbed a late morning coffee at the Starbucks at Quincy Market over at Faneuil Hall Market Place and Alan previewed the different food offerings.  We decided on lobster rolls (what else?) after getting some rice for Angel at one of the Asian food outlets.  We walked around and visited a few more tourist destinations pictured below and took in around 4 to 5 of the sites in the Freedom trail tour. 

I had the added plus of grabbing another Boston mug from Starbucks, although I was torn between getting the city mug and the special edition Boston Common mug.  I had two others in the trunk courtesy of our friends — Hawaii (!) and Oregon — two very welcome additions, and I have to re-arrange my collection.  I finally decided to just get the city mug, my second for Boston.

We took our pick of the many food outlets at Quincy market and then headed on our way to our main destination.  If you have a few hours to spare and want to take in a little bit of Boston, head for Faneuil Market Place and you’ll find more than just one or two interesting places to give you a preview of this great city.

Put your mouse above the thumbnails below to see the caption, and click on the picture to be taken to a bigger version of the photo.

A tribute to Basketball legend LARRY BIRD of the Boston Celtics, found on the walkway by Faneuil Hall
Seen on one of the store windows along Faneuil Market
Faneuil Hall from afar
Quincy Market where their food court is
Inside Quincy Market with the different food outlets which should make lunch or dinner choices quite a difficult one
Goodies! Goodies! Goodies! (I settled for a white chocolate cookie for an early morning snack
Quincy Market as viewed from the front of Faneuil Hall
An acrobat part of a performing family who keep the entertainment going in this area .. they are all good performers because they have to audition to be allowed to perform
The Old State House
The Granary Burying Ground
A little boy insisting on pushing his stroller through this hallowed ground
Angel running around Boston Common, one of the oldest parks in the country and the start of the Freedom Trail
An intricate mosaic on the ground by the entrance to the playground at Boston Common
The New England Holocaust Memorial on High Street -- 6 million numbers representing 6 million holocaust victims are inscribed on these glass pillars which are lit at night.


Cape Hopping in Cape Cod

We’re driving back to New York after spending the last 4 days here in Cape Cod, and I’m proud to say we managed to maximize our stay here by managing to visit Martha’s Vineyard and Plymouth besides Hyannis where we stayed.

It was a vacation we played by ear and instead of stressing out on schedules, we thought of where we wanted to go and then went for it. While we had thought about visiting Martha’s Vineyard on the way, we didn’t plan on Plymouth but just decided to do it as we pulled out of Hyannis on the way home.

Cape Cod, like Kennebunkport in Maine where we vacationed in July is a family-friendly destination which allows for relaxation and quality time with the people who mean a lot to you. It is a three hours and something drive from New York, and while there is occasional traffic on certain parts of the trip, it can be tolerable if you plan your trip in such a way that you avoid the onslaught of travel in either direction.

Each part of the Cape provides a different offering but with the same relaxed coastal flavor that we found in all three destinations. While lodging options cannot be considered cheap, they are affordable depending on where you hope to stay and how many there are in your party. we stayed in an all-efficiency studios place called the Hyannis Harbor House which offered studio size rooms with two queen beds, a kitchen and a toilet and bath.

The kitchen was fully equipped with a personal fridge, an electric stove and oven and the all-important microwave oven. Plates, utensils, cookware and even dishwashing liquid was provided for along with a dishrack to dry your wares on. You were pretty much free to do as you please except that you were admonished not to clean fish in the kitchen.

We didn’t cook any meals except some rice in a bag for Angel, but the kitchen was a big help preparing simple breakfasts. (I had some pan de sal from the Filipino Bakery in our area and Lily’s peanut butter as standby baon, and of course I came fully equipped with Cheerios, pasteurized 2% milk complete with Angel’s own melamine bowl and plate set with Lightning McQueen printed on it.) It was also a relief to have the chance to enjoy the lobster meal we bought to go from Spanky’s Clamshack across the street.

The leisure options are plenty but more laid back — miniature golf, fishing, cape harbor cruises, whale watching, water sports and just plain chilling out on the beach. Whether you’re in the company of children which means you would opt for family-friendly beaches where the tide doesn’t get too aggressive, or you’re the adventurous type who would like to ride some surf with your boogie board, there are many public beaches to choose from. We chose Veteran’s Park Beach by Ocean Drive where we stayed in Hyannis — very calm waters which momentarily got a little active only when the tide rose sometime from noon to around 3pm, after which the tide receded again. There is a $15 all-day parking fee which will allow you to transfer to any of the other beaches listed on the ticket/receipt for free. When choosing your beach, research whether concessions are available and baths or showers provided as not all beaches are fully equipped with amenities.  More to come, more to come..