Growing up, I spent my summers at our town pool. My mother, brother, and I formed a little parade as we walked through the parking lot, carrying beach chairs, umbrellas, towels, and a cooler. On the weekends, my father joined us, and led the parade. Nothing was planned yet we always found neighbors and friends to sit with, and we’d set up camp for the day. No one worried about getting too much sun. Although some of the ladies swam rather awkwardly, craning their necks so their hair wouldn’t get wet. Funny how my brother and his friends would take a running start and cannonball into the water as these ladies tried, in vain, to shield their hairdos from the big splash. The Olympic sized pool was crystal clear and we’d stay in the water until our fingertips shriveled like prunes. Once we got older, my mom would drop us off in the morning, knowing we were safe amongst friends, and come back for us just before dinner time. It was perfect suburban bliss.
As a city dweller, I’ve relied on rooftop hotel pools when the temperature rises into the 90’s and the humidity frizzes my hair. These tiny, sky-high pools can be pricey but when you’ve got the flop sweats, money is no object. On weekends, these hot spots get crowded quickly, mostly with post-college urban professionals who are more interested in the small plate menus and trendy pastel-colored martinis, than in taking a swim. And depending where you manage to find an unoccupied lounge chair, your view could end up being nothing more than a cluster of flat rooftops.
This summer, I finally discovered poolside nirvana at the Mirabella pool in Boston’s Italian North End. Situated right along the Harbor, with magnificent views of the Charlestown Shipyard, the Bunker Hill Monument, and the Zakim Bridge, I’ve marveled at the ferries and sailboats as they pass by. I’ve found the perfect aquatic oasis at this historic neighborhood pool. There’s a great sense of community and diversity, as young families gather, their toddlers padding around wearing neon colored water wings, giggling teenagers hang out with their BFF’s, my peers luxuriate without using their phones or laptops, and older, retired folks who’ve mastered the art of relaxation, smile or nod as I walk by. I love this pool for its clean, refreshing water but I love it more for the nostalgic memories it has evoked in me.