In my last post, I shared with you the first part of my summer vacation (visiting my parents in Vietnam). In this post, I am sharing with you the second part of my summer vacation: visiting my husband's childhood playground -- Long Beach Island, New Jersey.
Although Bob loves the peaceful scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains that surrounds our farm and the wildlife that lives on our farm, there is something familiar and comforting about being at a place where he spent countless hours frolicking as a child.
Long Beach Island, affectionately known as the Island, is a barrier island in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of New Jersey. The only access point to the island by land is a causeway.
The Island is a fun and picturesque little island ...
and many beautiful homes and stunning gardens ...
Local Vegetation and Dune Preservation
There are many native plants that not only look pretty, but they also play a critical role in dune preservation. My favorite is the rugosa rose. Yes, a rose that thrives right in the sand under constant wind and salt spray! It has a strong sweet and crisp fragrance. The rose hips are as big as a cherry and are packed with vitamin C. I tried to plant a few in Virginia, but they were miserable in our climate.
Many varieties of berries also thrive here.
For example, bayberry, twinberry,
cranberry, blueberry, and beach plum
A wide variety of pine trees, such as
Emerald Seashore Juniper, Atlantic White Cedar, and Loblolly Pine also love it here.
This part of New Jersey
is known for its Pine Barrens. The Pine Barrens
helps recharge the 17 trillion gallon
which contains some of the
purest water in the U.S.
For this reason, 1.1 million acres of the Pine Barrens were designated by the U.S. Congress as the Pinelands National Reserve to preserve its ecology. The United Nations has designated it as an International Biosphere Reserve.
Dune preservation was critical in protecting many parts of the Island during the devastating hurricane Sandy.
Being a category 3 hurricane (SSHS) with the highest winds at 115mph (185km/h), hurricane Sandy was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season and the second most costly hurricane in the US history. However, because some parts of the Island, for example Surf City, had completed its beach replenishment before the arrival of Sandy, Surf City suffered very little damage.
The Tips of the Island
The island is only about 18 miles long, but it has over 3 miles of nature reserve on the southern tip and a historic lighthouse and a fishing village on the northern tip.
The Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, Holgate Unit
The Lighthouse was first lit in 1859; it's now nonfunctional and is affectionately known as "Ol' Barney." It's the second tallest lighthouse in the US.
Near Ol' Barney is a fishing village, called Viking Village.
It's dotted with quaint buildings and commercial as well as private fishing boats and sailboats.
Bob also grew up surf fishing. He has taught me and the kids how to cast a surf rod (which is very long). I am still refining my skills. I really enjoy surf fishing (although I rarely catch anything). I like to wade into the surf, cast my line, run up the beach away from the incoming surf before it crashes against me (I like to keep my clothes somewhat dry), and patiently feeling for the tugs in my line (this is the part I like the most). I find this to be almost like meditation. I often find myself totally transfixed by the rhythm of the surf.
Nick, our 13 year old, learned how to surf last summer and was ecstatic (but also a little intimidated) with the size of the waves this summer. It's very unusual for the waves to be bigger than 2-3 feet in the summer months. But that week, the waves were as big as 7-8 feet.
Having come to the Island with Bob and our children every summer for over 20 years, I feel very much at home here. One of my favorite activities is to watch the sky.
Sunrise Over the Atlantic Ocean
I would wake up early every day to watch the sun rise. It was an invigorating and uplifting way to start my day. No two days were ever the same.
Day 1 -- a gorgeous sunrise
Day 2 -- Another gorgeous sunrise ...
Day 3 ...
Day 4 ...
Day 5 ..., Day 6 ..., Day 7 ..., every morning was a gorgeous morning.
Sunset Over the Bay
Full Moon Over the Ocean
The Angry Sky
The Stormy Sky
Sadly, this marks the end of my summer 2014,
a fabulous summer!