Growing up near the beach definitely has an effect on you, especially as you get older and move away from the beach. In the summers as a kid you would go to the beach club every day. Your life was amazing. You needed nothing other than the PBJs mom would make for lunch and maybe a frozen Charleston Chew. The only time you were unhappy was the 20 minutes of every hour that was dedicated to Adult Swim.
Then you get to high school. For the first couple of years work hasn't got you down yet, so you still might go to the beach. You're in the weird age of hating to go places with your mom, but also really want to be at the beach. Running becomes a bigger part of your life, and then you have to start working, so summer days revolve around those two activities. Fortunately for me I worked basically at the beach and would run at a park nearby everyday, so even if I wasn't at the beach I could feel it.
College comes and now you're 2.5 hours from the nearest beach. You can't just go there whenever you want, but when you're home for the summer it's not all that different from high school.
Then you graduate. Work takes more out of you. Training takes up your free time. All you want to do is go to the beach. For two years after school I still lived here and it was available to me. I went as often as I could. Since moving to Baltimore it's become a trip to go to the beach. I've never been to a Maryland or Delaware beach; I figure that if it's going to take me 2.5 hours to go somewhere I'd rather go back home to NJ.
I've spent more time in NJ this year than I have since I left in 2005. It's not been on purpose. Prior to today, in all the time I spent here I think I only made it to the beach once. I'm just not allowed to be on the sand or go in the water. I've watched many a beautiful day pass by in sadness from the couch.
For those from beach towns, most know that September is the best month for the beach. The crowds disappear after Labor Day, but the water is at its warmest, the air is still warm and the humidity goes away. Perhaps it's because I'm a September baby - really an Endless Summer baby, as my birthday falls right on the cusp of Summer turning into Fall. Those Indian Summer days are the stuff of legends, and today it was like I was a kid again.
My mom had a doctor's appointment in Spring Lake so I went with her, and afterwards we drove through the mansions of Spring Lake and up along the beach to Belmar. After eating the most expensive pizza lunch in the history of time, I was determined to walk along the boardwalk unassisted by crutches. I made it probably close to a quarter mile up, took a small break on a bench, and then headed back. The beaches were surprisingly crowded - not because the weather was absolutely perfect, but because it's a Monday. And there were tons of slammin' hot chicks, too. I couldn't figure it out. Of course I also couldn't sit and stare with my mom hanging around.
We used to be able to go to Kootman's house on LBI whenever we felt like. For us, it was an hour's drive and offered a little getaway from Red Bank. In high school and even in college we would go down any weekend we felt like. As we've gotten older it's been reduced to holiday weekends, and this year I never made it up. We normally go big on Labor Day weekend, but as everyone had other things going on, it fell apart.
Today was as close as I would get to my perfect beach day for the year, it would have been nice to go on the sand or in the water. Or lay on a blanket next to the two hot blondes.