As Jolie mentioned, this will be a Snooki free post about the Jersey shore, though I do have to mention that as we were heading down the Garden State Parkway on Friday night and stopped at a rest stop to pick up some cold waters, we had an encounter with a trio of tanning booth orange young guys who seemed very full of themselves and who were likely headed in the same general direction as us, i.e., to the beach. Such is life 😦  and we did our very best to just ignore them.

Anyway, it had been quite a week. I was in the home stretch of a 6 week summer “intro to sociology” course I’ve been teaching. On Tuesday, I had gone to see a dentist for some jaw pain I’ve been experiencing for several months – and on Friday, I was in the oral surgeon’s chair for a root canal, which thankfully went well. It had been a fairly hot, muggy week here in Beacon, so we were really looking forward to a shore weekend. My mom has a house there, in the town of Beach Haven on Long Beach Island (LBI) and has been there since 1994 (and prior to that, my family had been vacationing in Beach Haven since before I was even born). This is the house

And here is mom

And finally, here is a plaque in the back of the house, which is very inviting and pretty much says it all.

As always, visions of relaxing on the beach danced in our heads.

So, after finally getting packed and ready to go, we headed out for the three hour journey to the Jersey Shore and arrived late Friday night. The ride down was relatively uneventful and pleasant, with minimal Friday night shore bound traffic.

After a good sleep in in a nice, cool air conditioned room, we woke up the next morning, and just as we were stirring, my mom was coming back in from a walk around the corner with nice bagels for us. Yum!

The bagel place there is really good, but it’s a tiny building which can make trying to push your way in and out through a large hungry crowd a challenge.

As is our usual practice, we sat for a bit in the living room and then enjoyed the really refreshing outdoor shower in back of the house (which is, of course, behind walls – but which allows outside air in) and then went for a walk. We had heard a rumor that the local bookstore, just north of the bagel place, had gone out of business, but thankfully, it was still there; we love going in to browse, and occasionally, to add to our book collection at home. We then continued north up toward Bay Village, a highly touristy but fun collection of eateries and gift shops, strategically located near a bay beach and also arcades, an amusement park, a miniature golf course, and a water park. It really comes to life at night and on weekends, but usually not until later in the day.

While there – an opportunity presented itself for Jolie to be the subject of a comedic photo image 🙂

I also managed to take what I think is a pleasantly abstract image of a series of bicycle wheels at a bike rental place; retro bikes are very big on LBI.

Eventually, after walking around  in the warm air, it was getting to be lunchtime and after discussing possibilities, we decided on a place that for us is a particular favorite – Buckalews’ Restaurant. Buckalews is an LBI institution. It was founded in 1949, well before I was born. I have specific memories of my dad taking us there,  when we were kids, for pizza. The pizza is pretty legendary. Anyway, interestingly, my mom got to be good friends with Tom and Muncie Buckalew, the owners (until 1995) who lived across the street from her and are very nice people. I am thankful that the later owners kept the name (and also these amazing neon signs).

Anyway, after toasting to the start of the summer

we enjoyed our lunches – pizza for Jolie and an assortment of raw clams and oysters (with a side of fries) for me.

It was all good, though the fries were a bit soggy. Nonetheless, we left feeling satisfied. It was now time to head to the beach. As we arrived, the beach was crowded but not overly so. We set up our beach chairs and went to check out the water. People were in the water, so that was a good sign.

The water – upon doing the toe test – was surprisingly warm, in the mid to upper 60s,  and given how warm the beach was, I knew I wanted to get in the water for a refreshing dip.

Ahh! So refreshing!

We then did a bit of walking, where we came upon this gull; like me, it was having some raw seafood – in his case, some crab – for lunch.

Walking along a bit further, here was the scene at the lifeguard’s chair – which seems to be a bit of a gathering spot, for some reason.

Basically, then, the beach was very pleasant, as usual, and it was nice just to sit and to enjoy the refreshing ocean breeze as a counter to the warm rays of the sun. So far, so good, then, for the start of a summer season.

Oh, and I was certainly doing some representing for my Boston University grad school alma mater!

As evening rolled around, we had decided that we would take advantage of the grill in mom’s yard so as to grill some meats and veggies.

We had sirloin steaks, lamb chops, grilled veggies, and couscous.

Later, Jolie and I went back out for another walk. We enjoy walking around Beach Haven, and do this at various times of day, including the cool evenings. After an excursion for a bit of dessert (ice cream at the “Show Place” – a place next to the summer stock theater that features singing waitstaff doing their best at belting out showtunes; we just went, though, as we generally do, to the take-out window out back). Then, a return to the beach, which has a very different, albeit equally pleasant , feel in the evening. We tried to take a photo of ourselves sitting in the night sand, but my camera has a hard time with darkness. Anyway, here we are.

So, that was our weekend – relaxing at the shore and welcoming in the summer – in a nutshell. A nice one. We hope everyone has had a good start to their summer so far!