Life is But a Beach, Sweetheart. Day 15 of My Favorite Things: Downtown Bookworks

Day 15 of My Favorite Things: Downtown Bookworks

20140816 Field guide

@DowntownBkwrks #downtownbookworks Facebook

I think I was a fish in a previous life. Perhaps a Gish Fish. I have always been the type of person who needs to be near water. I was not really a beach person growing up – per se – but I love the ocean. Some of my favorite things are walking on the boardwalk, eating waterside, and sitting and watching the waves. I like any type of water and when we pass one in the car I yell “water!” without fail. It’s kind of a family joke. One of my favorite vacations was a cruise where every night my husband and I would walk laps around the boat listening to the sea. Ocean sounds calm me.  The water is my peace. I’m like Daddy Warbucks‘ character in Big Fish.

20140816 Cruise

January 11, 2004

Tobay Beach

Now that we live on Long Island one of my favorite places to go is Tobay Beach. Tobay is a private beach for my town’s residents. It is the most spectacular place. There is a large water park for the kids and it has two seaside restaurants. It offers both the South Oyster Bay side, where – 100 feet out – the water is still only a few inches deep, and the Atlantic Ocean side.

For me – a non-athletic kid who continuously got pulled into the undertow, and is now – as a result – an adult scared of swimming in the ocean – having the Bay has reformed me into a beach person. I could spend the entire day there. It is absolute heaven. Add in the tiny schools of fish and the little crabs walking about in the shallow water and it is like a fairy tale.  I love playing with my daughter there and walking all the way out. I look forward to it every weekend. It is so special.

Downtown Bookworks Makes the Beach Fun!

After moving to the suburbs I wanted to find the most fun beach stuff for kids. I got the requisite bucket shaped like a castle, the different types of shovels, and the sifters. I was so excited that after four years in the city my daughter would finally have a beach to play at regularly. I wanted to make my kids beach people. Having a very curious little girl who loves to learn, I was so excited when I found the “A Walk on the Beach: Into the Field Guide (Treasure Box)” from one of my favorite companies, Downtown Bookworks.

20140816 Book

This “treasure box” has a small yellow mesh bag for collecting beach specimens, a magnifying glass to inspect them – which also doubles as the cover to a little beach specimen cup – and the field guide “A Walk on the Beach”. It is an illustrated guide with tons of photos, clear labels and clear factoids about the birds, shells, and other sights one wants to know about at the seashore. My daughter was SO into it. She sat before we went to the water and planned what to “investigate”. The field guide was very easy for her to navigate because there are so many pictures. She quickly identified our “find” as crabs by pointing to the pictures.

 20140816 Beach

Bringing Home Fun Creatures!

With a little help from me, we caught a few tiny crabs and held them up to eye level to investigate. I gotta say – this little clear plastic cup was so cool! In fact, a few of the kids collecting crabs in their sand buckets came over to us like we were crab pied pipers. We were mesmerized! I’ve never watched crabs up close like this before. Then the coolest thing I’ve ever seen happened. I saw one crab pull himself out of his shell, pull a carcass out of the another shell and then took up residency there. Amazing! Then I learned from our field guide this is “molting”. Seriously, the coolest thing – five inches in front of my eyes.

20140816 Cup

We let our new friends go and picked up some seaweed and shells to examine next. My daughter loved the magnifying glass top of her little cup so she could see her “treasures” in greater detail. Picking up new specimens, examining them held her interest for a good two hours. My daughter ran over to show her friends. They were all so excited that a spontaneous game of “the crab goes round & round” even broke out. Please don’t tell PETA. I promise none of the crabs were hurt and I returned them back to their homes unfazed. On the way home, after a wonderful, sun soaked day, I asked my daughter what she thought of her new “treasure box”. She said simply, it was “so cool”.

Get The Last Little Fun Out Of Summer

There are a few good days of summer left. I highly recommend picking the A Walk on the Beach: Into the Field Guide (Treasure Box) up. It is both a great “toy” as in the kids will love playing with it, but it is also educational and the kids will love to learn all about what’s at the beach. I hope you get to see some crabs molt too. SO COOL!

20140816 Crabs


Downtown Bookworks has offered to give away Into the Field Guide: A Walk on the Beach (Treasure Box) to one lucky reader!

To win – please post in the comment section below:

What is your favorite thing to collect at the beach?

Winner will be chosen Saturday, August 23rd.


Downtown Bookworks Heritage

Downtown Bookworks President, Julie Merberg’s experience as a mother of 4 boys compelled her to start a children’s publishing company with the mission of raising a new generation of book lovers. The list reflects her passions—science and nature, crafts, the arts (and her husband’s passion—super heroes). Her in-house focus group helps to insure that every book has major kid appeal and does double-duty—educating while entertaining. Julie lives in Tribeca with her husband and their boys, and spends her weekdays running around downtown between home, work, and the kids’ schools.

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Published by Stacey Wallenstein

Stacey Gish Wallenstein created The Mint Chip Mama blog in 2013 to share her love and passion for giving children meaningful life experiences and helping moms like her navigate the challenges and benefits of raising children in the New York metropolitan area. Before becoming a full-time mom in 2010, Stacey spent the better part of the preceding decade as a high-end customer relationship management (CRM) professional for some of the most well-known brands in the hotel, luxury, fashion, and beauty industries, such as Harrah’s Entertainment, Chanel and Christian Dior, Inc. She managed customer loyalty programs for thousands of clients around the country and created social media strategies for a span of industries including healthcare services, restaurants, consumer packaged goods, specialty foods, local attractions and retail locations. After 13 wonderful years in Manhattan (the last three of which spent as a city mom), Stacey and her husband moved to Long Island in 2014, where they now reside with their three children (13, 10, and 7). There, she is a founding member of her local Parenting Center, which provides classes and coordinates events designed to educate and inform parents while fostering an environment of support and friendship within the community. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Stacey has been active in the New York area alumni organization for nearly twenty years, serving as a board member on the school’s University of Michigan Alumni Club of New York City. She also holds a Masters in Psychology from The New School in New York City. Please check out The Mint Chip Mama in the Press: The New York Post, Psychology Today, NY Metro Parents, New York Family, Parents Magazine, Newsday, News 12, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt: Kids, NerdWallet, Big Apple Kids Guide, and more! The Mint Chip Mama was also nominated as "The Best Blog On Long Island" for 2022, 2023, 2024, one of the Top 20 New York Mom Blogs & Websites, and one of the Top 100 Mom Lifestyle Blogs on the web! For more updates, follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Pinterest.

6 thoughts on “Life is But a Beach, Sweetheart. Day 15 of My Favorite Things: Downtown Bookworks

  1. My favorite thing is to watch my girls collect shells for their Mema’s shell collection!! It is so sweet watching them look at all the shells to find the best or most “perfect” ones to bring to grandmas. 🙂

  2. I love to collect beach glass. It’s a rare find, but always special and beautiful (and I feel like I’m cleaning the beach at the same time!)

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