beaches

Old School Jersey Shore

I may be a die-hard New Yorker, but I’m always going to have a soft spot for the Jersey Shore.

When I was a kid, there was nowhere else I wanted to be, especially during the summer. Every year, I looked forward to vacations on quaint Long Beach Island and the lively Ocean City boardwalk. Occasionally, we’d hit up other towns, like Wildwood (with its funky tram car) and Atlantic City (which was way sleazier than it is now). In college, I spent a few days in pretty Lavalette (thanks, Karen!)—and a requisite night out in seedier Seaside. (Of course!)

This year alone, I celebrated my 30th bday in Atlantic City (somehow, I neglected to blog about that) and ran a great race in Long Branch.

Given my history with the region, it’s no surprise that I really enjoyed seeing images from “Asbury Park and the Jersey Shore, c. 1979,” a photography exhibition by Joe Maloney. The photos were taken a few years before I started going to the shore every summer, and they capture the gritty yet idyllic vibe of the time and place.

“View from Empress Hotel, Asbury Park, New Jersey,” 1980

“Boardwalk, Asbury Park, New Jersey,” 1980.

“Asbury Park, New Jersey,” 1979.

What summer destination has a special place in your heart?

(Photos by Joe Maloney via The New Yorker)

Jones Beach

As a kid growing up in Queens, I always ended up at Jones Beach a few times, each summer. That and Long Beach were the go-to day trip spots for most people in our part of the city. I remember jumping through the waves there (before I developed my fear of rough water, which I still have today!), swimming in the shallows of Zach’s Bay and sunbathing in the ever-crowded—and sometimes scuzzy—Field 4.

This weekend, I went to Jones Beach with Mal and Peter—and realized it had been several years since I’d been. (Probably due to getting all my beach time in MD and DE, the past few summers!) The Field 6 parking lot was pretty crowded when we arrived at 9 a.m., but luckily, the beach wasn’t. We claimed a spot right by the water…and stayed for eight hours! The sand and water were actually cleaner and nicer than I remembered, and I had to drag myself away at the end of the day. But I was glad to have rediscovered that spot from my childhood—and am already looking forward to more days there!

Coincidentally, I stumbled upon this photo today. I couldn’t help but smile when I instantly recognized it as Jones Beach in the 1930s. The tower in the background is an unmistakeable landmark!

jones beach

(Photo by Willard Culver via National Geographic’s Tumblr)

Hello, Summer!

leo caillard miami beach hut

I am thrilled that my favorite time of year has officially begun!

This Long Slog seemed especially endless. But now that it’s over, I’m looking forward to all my long-awaited, beloved, hot weather activities: Beach weekends.В Outdoor eating and drinking. (Even just having lunch outside on weekdays, among all the other suits on Park Ave., feels special!)В River tubing.В Sleeping in my un-air conditioned apartment with the windows wide open. Waking up to sunshine—and getting out of ballet at 9 p.m. and still seeing the remains of daylight.

Welcome back, summer—I’ve been waiting all year for you!

(Miami Beach hut photo by Leo Caillard; see the full series of them here. Found via Architizer)

Eleuthera Recommendations?

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was exploring Cat Island (the one in the Bahamas, not in Japan!) as a possible vacation option. В Since then, I’ve changed course—just a little!—and decided to go to Eleuthera, instead. Mal, Peter, two friends and I are headed there in two weeks.

As one of our friends put it: “I’m so excited, I could cry!”

I could, as well! I am very much looking forward to a few days of chillaxin’ on gorgeous beaches, eating lots of fresh seafood and sipping rum cocktails.

We’re likely staying in south Eleuthera (and hopefully visiting Lighthouse Beach, below), and spending a day around Governor’s Harbour, in the central part of the island.

lighthouse beach

If you have any recommendations about what to see/do/eat, please share—I’d love to hear your tips!

(Photo via Discover-Eleuthera-Bahamas.com)

Assateague Island

assateague island

How nutty is this photo? I don’t know about you, but I don’t often see wild animals on the beaches I visit. But this is the norm at Assateague Island, which is just a few minutes from Mal and Peter’s place. The 37-mile national seashore runs from Maryland to Virginia and is known for its wild horses. On the Virginia side, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department owns the animals and keeps them fenced in designated areas. But on the Maryland side, they’re free to roam as they please–even among beachgoers.

Mal said that when she, Peter and Paul went to Assateague last week, the small herd in the photo above just milled around for hours. They went into the water and ambled along the sand, sometimes causing sunbathers to scramble to get their blankets out of their way. Then, at the end of day, the horses sprinted away as if they had somewhere to be.

Even though it’s on my Maryland bucket list, I haven’t made it to Assateague and probably won’t, at this point. I’m severely allergic to horses–which I discovered on a disastrous 8th grade trip to a dude ranch–and probably couldn’t be in such close proximity to them. Plus, while the horses are gorgeous to look at, the beach has some not-so-appealing equine-related issues: namely horse droppings and horseflies. But I’m glad to visit it vicariously through Mal, Peter and Paul’s photos!

(Photo via Peter Burger)

Premature Nostalgia

Do you ever get nostalgic for things before they’re even over? When you’re having a great time but know that the moment is fleeting and you have to squeeze out every last bit of enjoyment from it? That’s how I felt this weekend.

Mal and Peter just have a few weeks left in Maryland. They’re beyond excited to move back to New York, as am I–it was quite an adjustment (and not always easy) to have them so far away. But I’m also a little sad to say goodbye to the area that’s been so much fun to visit on summer weekends. Mal and Peter are the best hosts and always up for taking guests around the little towns on Maryland and Delaware’s coasts. I’ve had so much fun spending time with them there that I’ve come to think of the place as my second summer home.

I’m especially going to miss the beaches. They’re much nicer than any near NYC. Despite the long rides to and from Maryland, I loved getting out of the city and spending lazy days at…

fenwick island
Fenwick Island, a Delaware state park with a pretty beach…

bethany beach

Bethany Beach, Delaware, a tiny, quintessential shore town where you can walk or bike down the street barefoot and in your bathing suit without anyone giving you a weird look. The beach is also has nice, white sand, and there’s a little boardwalk. Plus, our favorite blue crab joint is there.

Ocean City, MDAnd, of course, the Ocean City beach. The sand is a little coarser and there are usually more people than at Bethany or Fenwick (though not at 8 a.m., when I took this photo). But it’s less than 10 minutes from Mal and Peter’s place.

This weekend, Mal, Peter, Paul and I decided that we need to rent a beach house around Bethany for a few days next year. We all know we’ll need an annual MD/DE beach/crab fix going forward!

Are you having any premature summer nostalgia?

Off to the O.C.!*

Ocean City

*Ocean City, that is. I’m en route to my summer shareВ Mal and Peter’s and looking forward to a long weekend at the beach! The weather forecast isВ finallyВ warm and sunny, so I’m hoping to spend all three days lounging on the sand and listening to the surf. I’m feeling a bit beach-deprived (especially since the weather in NYC has been so gloomy, lately), so I’m really looking forward to this!

How are you spending the holiday weekend?