If the words "beach concert" makes your heart beat a little faster, mark your calendar for summer Thursdays at Wilmington Town Beach.
This delightful park has a swimming beach and picnic pavilion. There's birding, a playground, and hiking trails sized for short attention spans. It is also a delightful spot for listening to a band while grilling up a dinner treat.
So many activities
Unlike other concert venues, the time spent waiting for the band to start can be highly enjoyable here. Suit up for a swim in the designated swimming area on the sandy beach and grab a swimming float.
Rent an aqua bike, canoe, kayak, or paddleboard to explore Lake Everest, a long body of water that has plenty of shoreline.
The recreation area is designed to allow all-access, exemplified by the fishing dock. The beach is a beautiful spot for a day with plenty of things to do for all ages and abilities.
It is only minutes away from the walkable village, which features cute shops. Yet, the beach still feels further removed, with the quiet woods surrounding the park and the tranquil lake formed by the dam located in the middle of town.
On concert nights the lifeguard stays until 8 p.m. and the music plays until 9:30 p.m. It's a day full of fun.
Life's a beach
There are differences between an ocean beach and a lake beach. Being familiar with both, I first think of the difference in wave sounds. There's the "lap-dink" of a lake beach versus the "roar-swoosh" of an ocean beach.
The vistas are totally different too. If you are used to seeing a white-capped horizon, our beaches have a forest that lines the opposite shore. The calm lake waters are just right for little waders, or you can reach for a floating raft if you feel like racing.
Our northern latitudes have more low-angle sunlight than farther south, so it won't get so warm that you will be driven into the shade. Sunscreen is still needed though.
The picnic facilities are abundant with grills and tables throughout. Just warning you, when the breeze blows lovely grill scents your way you will want some.
I love the mix of terrain in this park. Bogland cattails mix with meadow wildflowers, the wide-open sandy expanse is full of sun, and the forests are full of shade. It's a full spectrum of experiences, yet all in the same place.
The talent lineup changes each summer, drawing from diverse musical genres. Some mix traditions like country/rock while others feature original work. Many are local favorites who come back year after year. So do their fans.
After a quiet morning and afternoon, the crowd quietly expands and the focus shifts to the pavilion. It's a "theater in the round" as beach chairs get turned around and picnic tables fill up. With the expanse of the mountains and forest as backdrops, it's a uniquely lovely space to enjoy the show.
If you aren't here on a Thursday, the neighboring town of Jay hosts summer concerts on Saturdays. Gather in the village green and enjoy Zinky & the Billtones with their jazz, blues, and pop stylings; original folk with Dana and Susan Robinson; the sounds of Big Boss Sausage mixing pop, rock, and country; or the wild Irish "folkish and rockish" take with Loose Monkeys.
There are also performances at the Upper Jay Art Center's Recovery Lounge ranging from plays, readings, and poetry slams to all kinds of music. As soon as the new schedule is announced, the show listings will appear in our events calendar. Choose a favorite, or decide to hear something new.
As the sun sinks behind the mountains, sand gets shaken out of towels, and the light fades to a mountain-purple dusk, you can feel that this was the height of a certain kind of summer day.
One that can only happen here, in this special mountain village.