Friday, July 31, 2009

Wish You Were Here!

I had a wonderful two days at the beach. As you can see, these ladies are having a great time, too. Who can beat dozing off in the sun with your buddies beside you and the wind in your hair? We stayed at the Bath Avenue House (, where Jim, the co-owner and breakfast chef extraordinaire provided us with tasteful settings and equally tasteful breakfasts each day. You will never face mid-morning hungry if you stay at his establishment! The house itself, a 130 year old charming building just three blocks from the beach, is a quiet haven in a sweetly nostalgic town. Most of the properties have been polished to perfection in the last few decades, and the town is a Victorian visual delight. It was listed in the National Register of Historical Places in 1976, and the New Jersey State Register of Historical Places in 1977. See the official website for more details: Ocean Grove holds a few surprises as well; the Methodist tent village in the center of town and the nearby Irish pub/sushi bar are the first two that come to mind. Nearby Asbury Park, just a short walk away, is rising from the ashes of its storied past with many fascinating hints of former lives residing in the architecture. Bring a camera. This is a town with a history , just waiting for you to uncover it. It's not just about Bruce Springsteen. What do I love best about the beach? Why do I return, year after year? It's not the sun; I'm fair-skinned and sensitive. It's not the boardwalk "culture"; I'm over the bar scene and arcades don't do much for me personally though I do love to watch other people have fun. I'm not much of a shopper, though my curiosity is always whetted by the pretty trinkets in the local shops. Antiques are fun, but can be found closer to home. It's something primal. The timeless power of the waves that I feel in my own heart, the sunrises that move me to tears, the luxury of a few hours or days of no responsibility. Where else can you read a book in one or two sittings, enjoy a few glasses of wine with new friends on a Victorian porch, or nap with your toes in the sand in broad daylight, if you dare embrace the sun? It's the rhythm of the waves, and the slower pace of my days; the deeper breaths, the peace of privacy and the intensity of nature's passion that take me to the beach. I can do without everything else, though the local seafood and wine are welcome additions. More about that another time; today, I'll bask in the memory of yesterday's sand-anchored sunrise as I wait for the sun to set here in rainy Pennsylvania. And for another year if necessary, I'll remember that the ancient ocean is always there...alive and waiting.

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