Monday, February 04, 2008

The Beach in the Winter

Going to the beach after the season has ended has been a favorite thing for me to do since I was young. My parents used to take us to the beach all through September and even into October sometimes. The air may be chillier, but the water was still pretty warm and the crowds were all gone so we had the whole place to ourselves.

I can remember coming out of the warm water and then feeling that crisp chill in the air as soon as we got out. My Mom would be right there to wrap us up in big beach towels.

We would sit on the blanket eating sandy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Chips Ahoy cookies and drinking "bug" juice until we got warmed up so we could go dig in the sand...get all gritty and grimy and then dive back into the water for a little body surfing with my Dad.

Rinse and repeat!

I know there are some people who have never seen the ocean. I couldn't imagine moving too far away from it. The smell of the salt air, the sounds of the waves crashing against the shoreline and the sight of the sun glistening on the water are a part of who I am I think.

This past saturday morning I got up fairly early. It was the day after a bit of a storm here in the Northeast and it's usually the best time to go to the beach. So I grabbed my camera and got a large coffee to go and headed out.

The sky was still dark and dramatic when I first arrived and as the sun came up, the shoreline was started to come to life as the first beams of sunlight hit them.

I walked along the beach for a bit, looking at the shells that was up from the rough waves. There were a few beachcombers out with their metal detectors looking for uncovered treasures that the waves may have brought in with them.

Driving down a bit further to an area called Seaside Heights I parked the car and walked along the boardwalk for a bit.

This is a popular tourist area in the summer time. The boardwalk is usually packed with people trying their luck and any one of the number of games of chance, or riding on the roller coaster or braving the Tower of Fear!

Now, with the exception of a few surfers braving the ice cold waters and the occasional jogger or walker and myself...the place was deserted.

Gone are the smells of pizza, popcorn and funnel cakes cooking mixed in with the salt air, suntan lotion and creosote coated pilings. The sound of the hawkers trying to lure in the tourists to put a dollar down and try their luck, kids screaming on the rides. No more young girls walking down the boardwalk with the huge stuffed animals that their boyfriends just won for them.

I haven't been to Seaside at the peak of the summer time when all of the crowds are there, but I've been to boardwalks similar to it: Ocean City and Wildwood were my old haunts as a teen.

The crowds and activties that I once thought were fun and exciting as a youth, are a bit of a nusance to me now. Every once in a while the lure of a fresh hot funnel cake and some greasy cheese fries or a large Kohr Brothers soft serve ice cream gets me there.

The tide was pretty far out on Saturday morning, so I was able to go under the piers and do a bit of exploring.

It is like a different world under the piers. Dark, damp, mysterious.

Barnacles and seaweed cling to the pilings. Grafiti and litter stewn about along with shells and driftwood.

Some of the longer piers you can walk underneath so far it becomes absolutely pitch black!

Others are bright and airy but have great shadows under them.

Taking advantage of the fact that I was one of the few people up and about that early in the morning, I found a place to sit down and just watched the water for a while. It was very peaceful, extremely calming.

I love the beach in the winter!

My batteries are definitley recharged!


The Village Carpenter said...

Great photos, Shazza! I haven't been to the beach in many years but I remember the sounds vividly. Thanks for sharing. : )

finn said...

I gotta agree, marvelous pictures.
we have great lakes and mountains and 7 neighboring states and NO fricking ocean.
sometimes I wish Austria was somewhere else...or I was somewhere else...

mcCutcheon said...

need. recharge. too.
someone bring me an ocean with a beach - fast!

great pics though, shaz!

the only daughter said...

No ocean, but a pretty cool lake. I admit though, not that big on beaches.

Love your photos and if I were going to do a beach, probably in the off season, minus the water. ;)

Sharkb said...

Great photos and compelling description!

jlb said...

beautiful pictures!
from another ocean lover, j.

(and thank-you for your comments..)

Scout said...

Absolutely beautiful. I lived in NJ for four years or so, and Seaside provided my first glimpse of the Atlantic. This brings back some great memories.

Identity Mixed said...

Awesome! I lived in NJ for 10 years. Have some very close college friends over in Red Bank, so we know those haunts well.