Sunday, August 31, 2014

"Shore to Please" (Part 2) - The Jersey Shore As Seen Through Wendy's Camera Eyes

Two small beach chairs in the lightly roiled summer surf of an astronomically low (New Moon) low tide at the Jersey shore, Wildwood Crest, N.J., 1:29PM August 23, 2014.



This entry features a series of 30 pictures from my just-concluded, all-too-short, annual summer trip to the Jersey shore with Gary, Larry ("LP"), and Wendy. All the pictures in this entry were taken by Wendy and they are a subset of a larger set she took. Wendy was only with us for the nights of the 22nd to 23rd and 23rd to 24th before returning on the 24th (Sunday) in order to get back to work on Monday.

This entry does not really include a narrative of the entire trip but instead just features the pictures she took with captions. I intend to post the pictures that I took in a subsequent entry that includes such a narrative.

I really do want to do this because (1) I never had a dedicated entry following last year's trip that included the bulk of the 75 or so pictures I took; and (2) I have now been to "The Wildwoods," not to mention Cape May, enough times, including a set of business establishments, that I now have a decent idea of the lay of the land of that part of the Jersey Shore. (Though I am from the Jersey Shore many years ago, my area was about 90 miles north of there in the Long Branch / Sea Bright area.)

For the prelude entry, see here.


August 22, 2014 pictures ...

Larry (LP), Gary, and yours truly in a picture that Wendy took on the M.V. Cape Henlopen on Delaware Bay, 7:55PM August 22, 2014. Yes, that's a nip of vodka I was holding.

As in previous years, we took an evening ferry -- this year, the Cape Henlopen, one of three in the fleet* --from Lewes, Delaware (after driving across the Eastern Shore) to Cape May, New Jersey. Of note, the Cape May - Lewes Ferry system celebrated its 50th anniversary this past June.

*At one point, there were five ships in the fleet but two have been removed from service.


Gary, yours truly, and Wendy on the M.V. Cape Henlopen ferry, Delaware Bay, 7:57PM August 22, 2014.


Richard Todaro on a windy ferry crossing at summer dusk, M.V. Cape Henlopen ferry, Delaware Bay, 8:14PM August 22, 2014.

There was a live band playing music and it was rather festive as night fell and the Jersey shoreline approached including the lights of Cape May and the flashing beacon of the Cape May Light itself while the lights of Rehoboth disappeared over the horizon. (You can also see from the middle of the crossing the distant glow of otherwise below-the-horizon Ocean City, Md., the Wildwoods, and (looking to the northwest) the Wilmington / Philadelphia area.

I got kinda drunk on the ferry (now there's a shock) but I wasn't driving any car on either end, just a passenger. Wendy had driven separately and met us in Lewes. Once in New Jersey, I rode with her to the hotel in Wildwood Crest while Larry drove with Gary.

We stayed at the Adventurer Oceanfront Inn located just inside the Wildwood Crest ("dry") boundary. On the other side of Cresse Avenue is "wet" Wildwood. Our first night was on the second floor facing the ocean -- beyond the quarter mile or so wide beach -- but then we had to switch rooms to the 6th floor. While that room faced the north, we still had a substantial ocean view including of sunrise.

I jumped in the pool when I got there. It had these shifting colorful LED lights shining into it, which made it kind of surreal underwater.


August 23, 2014 pictures ...

August 23rd, Saturday, was our first full day at the shore -- part of my annual, all-too-brief return to my native New Jersey. I am from the Jersey shore area as well, but about 90 miles north of "The Wildwoods"* in Long Branch and Sea Bright at the opposite end of the Garden State's Atlantic coastline.

*"The Wildwoods" refers collectively to five municipalities (see below) including as Wildwood Crest and Wildwood. Our hotel and beach spot were literally on the boundary of the two, so it is possible some of these pictures were technically on the Wildwood side even though I have it marked as Wildwood Crest.

Yours truly, Richard Todaro, and Wendy C., on the Jersey shore, Wildwood Crest, N.J., 1:25PM August 23, 2014.

Wendy and I first had breakfast in the hotel's restaurant (seated outdoor next to a family with screaming, out-of-control small children that seem -- in that characteristically odd American way -- to dominate, control, and dictate everything that the family does.

Uh, oh ... Nag 'Em the Concerned Cheesecake-Eating House Hippo -- she who is to be featured in "The Wall-P & Me Chronicles" -- isn't going to like hearing that. Better call Nancy Grace and alert her to the fact that "the children" aren't being fully "self-actualized" at all times by properly "helicoptering" parents.

Anyway, Wendy and I then went to the beach for about two hours while Gary and Larry went to the same gym they went to last year (Atilis Gym).


Three guys at the Jersey shore, Wildwood Crest, N.J., 1:28PM August 23, 2014.

It really doesn't get any more "Jersey Shore" than this.


Another picture of the two beach chairs featured in the lead image at the same time (1:29PM Aug. 23, 2014) and place (Wildwood Crest, N.J.) and spot (in the surf of an astronomically (New Moon) low tide, but from a different camera perspective.

While the surf looked very gentle, there was actually quite a rip current tearing along / parallel to the beach from north-to-south, driven in part by a 20 to 30MPH wind that was whipping right along the edge of the surf.


Looking south along the beach, Wildwood Crest, N.J., 1:30PM August 23, 2014.


Yours truly (again), Richard Todaro, in the surf at Wildwood Crest, N.J., 1:30PM August 23, 2014.

Sorry for so many pictures of me but a bunch more are to follow.


And yet another one of me, Wildwood Crest, N.J., 1:31PM August 23, 2014.


Beached on the Jersey shore: A big guy (this picture really doesn't do him justice) was sprawled out on the beach amid other beachgoers, Wildwood Crest, N.J., 1:32PM, August 23, 2014.


Wendy and I stayed on the beach for about two hours while Gary and LP were at the gym. We went back to the hotel room -- by which point the staff had transferred all our belongings from room 227 to room 615 (well, except for one plastic bottle of pumped liquid soap).

As an aside, I didn't particularly like being on the 6th floor -- it's too high up. (Indeed, I'm not thrilled living on the 5th floor as I do; I would prefer the 2nd or 3rd floor.) And the hotel's elevators were heavily used and very slow. I ended up taking the stairs frequently.

Anyway, Wendy and I then got cleaned up from the sand and sea water and headed over to the kitschy Wildwood boardwalk with its three piers (Adventure, Mariner's Landing, and Surfside) all owned by the Morey Brothers.

Yours truly posing with the "S" in the sign "Wildwoods" in Wildwood, N.J., 2:29PM August 23, 2014.

The giant letters of this boardwalk sign spell out "Wildwoods" in Wildwood -- a reference to the five constituent municipalities that are (south-to-north): Diamond Beach, Wildwood Crest, Wildwood, West Wildwood, and North Wildwood.


Wendy poses with the middle "W" in the Wildwoods sign, 2:29PM August 23, 2014.

The first "W" has a more stylized shape suggesting waves and wind.


A carousel with its carnival-like festive designs on Surfside Pier, North Wildwood, N.J., 2:58PM August 23, 2014.

We tend to follow the same routine each year of going to the Surfside Pier to the bar at the very end. This year, we did not go on Fly – The Great Nor'easter rollercoaster. That rollercoaster is oddly closely intertwined with the Zoom Phloom log flume ride and water park pools.


We went to the bar at the very end of Surfside Pier. The name of it is Stubborn Brothers Beach Bar & Grille. While Larry said it had that name in 2013, neither I nor Wendy remembered it. (I think it was instead called the Oasis Café.)

The beach from Stubborn Brothers Beach Bar and Grille, North Wildwood, N.J., 3:04PM August 23, 2014.

None of the three Morey's Piers are true "piers" in that they stretch into / above the ocean. The beaches are so wide in the Wildwoods that the ends of these piers aren't even close to the surf under normal circumstances.


Another view of the beachgoers as seen from Stubborn Brothers at the end of Surfside Pier, North Wildwood, N.J., 3:04PM August 23, 2014.

The American flag is a nice touch. As an aside, I recall being on the beach in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., in July 1993 (my dad lived near there at the time) and this group of five young people -- guys and girls -- were sitting under a large Confederate flag they had planted on the beach. The flag was whipping in a stiff wind and they were just sitting there it motionless -- hardly enjoying a beach visit -- as if they had just refought and won the Civil War, er, sorry, "War Between the States," for Old Dixie.

Look, I've said it before and I'll say it again: GO! LEAVE! Let's start the negotiations already.


Yours truly, Richard Todaro, at Stubborn Brothers Beach Bar & Grille, North Wildwood, N.J., 3:10PM August 23, 2014.

The vodka / orange juicy drink I had was quite good.


A selfie of me and Wendy, Stubborn Brothers Beach Bar & Grille, North Wildwood, N.J., 3:10PM August 23, 2014.


A second selfie of me and Wendy, Stubborn Brothers Beach Bar & Grille, North Wildwood, N.J., 3:10PM August 23, 2014.


Wendy and a random fellow at the bar behind her, Stubborn Brothers Beach Bar & Grille, North Wildwood, N.J., 3:16PM August 23, 2014.


We then headed back to the hotel to prepare for our first night out, which was at Tucker's Pub in Wildwood, where we met a friend of Gary's from D.C. Between the five of us, we all represented as "Feds" or contractors current or retired five different Federal agencies. We were probably the only (or certainly the largest) group of people in Wildwood that night with such a designation. More to the point, there aren't many D.C. folks in The Wildwoods or Cape May. We were again the only vehicles that I saw with D.C. license plates in these locales.

Anyway, here is the final picture in this batch August 23rd ...

The essence of Jersey shore kitsch: A boardwalk stand in Wildwood, N.J., August 23, 2014. I didn't time stamp this image but in Wendy's original images, the time is given as 4:09PM.


August 24, 2014 pictures ...

The view from our 6th floor balcony in the Adventurer Oceanfront Inn on the boundary of Wildwood / Wildwood Crest, N.J., 9:23AM August 24, 2014.

Again, I didn't like being so high up in the hotel.


One of the small wooden walkways leading to and from the enormously expansive beaches in Wildwood Crest, N.J., 10:35AM August 24, 2014.

The Wildwoods are one of the few places along the Jersey shore where one does not have to pay to gain access to the beach. This feature of New Jersey -- along with no self-service gasoline, the "delayed green" traffic signals, and an absurdly high number of school jurisdictions (not all of which are even operational) -- are some of the chestnuts of the Garden State. (Concerning traffic issues, I noticed that bike lanes and LED crosswalk signals with countdowns are now appearing in The Wildwoods.)


Morning beach view, Wildwood Crest, N.J., 10:43AM August 24, 2014.

We were starting out on our second day at the beach. This time, Wendy and I went to the wonderful little breakfast place in the hotel next door. The hotel is the Aqua Beach Resort and the little family run place is called the Bagel Time Café. There are actually three locations -- one in Wildwood, one in Wildwood Crest (at the Aqua Resort), and one in Cape May. The level of service has always been outstanding and the breakfast food so quintessentially New Jersey diner. The staff have never not been anything but friendly, attentive, and courteous. You really don't find that much anymore.


Yours truly, Richard Todaro, on the beach, Wildwood Crest, N.J., 10:43AM August 24, 2014.


Wendy, Larry, and yours truly on the beach, Wildwood Crest, N.J., 10:44AM August 24, 2014.


The quintessence of the Jersey shore, Wildwood Crest, N.J., 10:44AM August 24, 2014.


Yours truly, Richard Todaro, frolicking in the surf, Wildwood Crest, N.J., 10:50AM August 24, 2014.


Once again, yours truly in the surf of the summer gentle Atlantic Ocean, Wildwood Crest, N.J., 10:51AM August 24, 2014.

Actually, the ocean still had a noticeable sideways / rip current and it was easy to get swept parallel to the beach yards at a time. The wind had relaxed, though. By the last day (Tuesday), it was just sunny and summery.

A group photo of Gary, yours truly, and Wendy, in the surf, Wildwood Crest, N.J., 10:55AM August 24, 2014.


This concludes the first batch of Jersey shore vacation pictures. I still have as many as 50 of my own that I could post, although it will likely be a subset of those and probably not until next weekend.


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