I needed some clothes besides those I'd flown over wearing, so Jon and his mother and I drove from their little village to Aldeburgh on Sunday for lunch and a quick shop. The remnants of Hurricane Bertha were just clearing as we arrived and the afternoon unfolded beautifully. I dawdled behind them on the main road in town, snapping photos of the houses while they debated the relative merits of one ice cream shop over the other and, after we'd picked up a dress and a few essentials for me, we headed to the beach.
Aldeburgh, pronounced AHL-borough, is Saxon and means "old fort," but excavations indicate that the site was settled as early as Roman times. Due in part to the shelter provided by the shingle spit of Orford Ness that separated the sea from the River Alde, Aldeburgh was a leading port in the 16th century and Sir Francis Drake's Pelican was built nearby. (The Pelican was renamed The Golden Hinde in the midst of its voyage around the globe; you can now see a replica of the ship in London.) When the Alde silted up and was no longer able to accommodate larger ships, Aldeburgh survived as a fishing village until, in the 19th century, it became a popular seaside resort. It's maintained its Edwardian feel since then, and the town's pretty cottages and pebbled beach are still a major draw for locals and visitors alike.