Old Lyme - It might seem like an odd combination: doughnuts and the beach.
But doughnuts on summer mornings have long been a tradition at Old Lyme's Sound View Beach.
Until five years ago, the classic Sound View doughnuts came out of a weathered little beach shack on Hartford Avenue that got closed down after a restrictive reading of zoning regulations. The shop had been selling doughnuts to summer residents for more than 60 years.
For one year, beach residents went cold turkey on their collective doughnut habit.
But then Shirley Annunziata, a volunteer with the nonprofit Sound View Beach Association, with a nudge from her husband, had an idea.
After discovering the original Sound View doughnut maker had opened a new shop in Clinton, Annunziata set in motion arrangements for the association to sell the doughnuts as a fundraiser on summer weekends.
On Saturday, Annunziata and other volunteers, including some from a nearby Lions Club, were manning the doughnut table at the association's community center building on Hartford Avenue, just two blocks from the beach and right next to two beach cottages named Itsy Bitsy and Teenie Weenie.
This is the fourth season of the doughnut fundraiser.
The association will sometimes sell up to 125 dozen doughnuts on a busy summer weekend morning. They are open from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. but often sell out before the official closing time.
Gail Fuller, association vice president, said doughnut sales are the organization's main fundraiser each year and contribute a significant share to the annual budget of about $25,000.
"It's nostalgia that sells them," said Annunziata, waving a hand at the long table of doughnuts, all assembled in cardboard boxes arranged under a glass cover.
They are not just any doughnuts, though, Annunziata added. They are handmade and so come in all shapes and sizes, not like the uniform ones that come out of fast-food chains.
There are jelly doughnuts and crullers, and chocolate- and cinnamon-coated, and a lot of the other usual flavors. The signature doughnut, though, is the lemon log, which looks like it sounds: a long, fat doughnut covered with powdered sugar and filled with a tart lemon-flavored jelly.
The doughnuts are sold inside the association's building. There are chairs and tables both inside and out as well as a coffee station.
Some people sit and stay for a coffee and doughnut, with some beach gossip thrown in. Others come and pick up a dozen to take back to the cottage.
The association makes its remodeled community center available for a variety of events, including some sponsored by neighboring beach associations.
They also have bingo on Wednesdays and every year sponsor a big Independence Day parade.
But doughnuts are now a mainstay of the association, which is dedicated to preserving Sound View traditions, powdered or not.