When we were waiting for Hurricane Sandy last fall, none of us had any idea what catastrophic damage would occur, or where it would happen. We hunkered down here in Boston, ready for the worst, but it was my home state of New Jersey that was one of the hardest hit. In the days that followed, we saw the devastation on TV, and then firsthand when I went to New Jersey, originally planning on running the NYC Marathon (which I am back at training for once again. . . thanks, Sandy.) It was hard to imagine summer at the shore when so many people had lost so much. . .
Yet this past weekend, on a visit home, my family and I went down the shore. Contrary to some commercials, it’s not completely up and running. Many businesses are, but for each of those businesses, there are many, many more homes off of their foundations, in mid-repair, or just gone.
One of my sister’s favorite Jersey Shore restaurants, Windansea, sustained quite a bit of damage during Sandy, but they rebuilt and opened for the season. Windansea is located in an ideal spot right on the water, and their wide open deck and tiki bar have great views.
Windansea has a pretty extensive cocktail menu with lots of summery options including buckets of frozen drinks. I kept it simple with Summer in a Glass, coconut rum and pineapple juice. It was the perfect refreshment to sip under a tiki umbrella, listening to music, and enjoying the company of my wonderful family.
We enjoyed a late lunch, with brief walks with my niece and nephew down to the little beach at Windansea during the meal. I love taking their little hands and going on an adventure. Everything is so exciting; it’s a good lesson on being in the moment and appreciating the little things!
After lunch, we went to Sandy Hook, the beach that we frequented the most when I was a kid. Just pulling into the parking lot near the snack bars brought back so many memories of when I was much smaller, and of people who have come and gone throughout our lives.
The water at the Jersey Shore is SO much warmer than it is here in Massachusetts. That, combined with some good waves and little ones who wanted to go in the water resulted in some very wet clothes and a lot of fun. It was one of those days I will just never forget. The Jersey Shore is slowly but surely getting there, but there are definitely people and businesses still struggling. Hopefully in all of the fun to be had, people don’t forget that.
Wet, sandy, and tired, we made our way home, but not without the obligatory stop at RJ’s for ice cream. We’ve been stopping at the little roadside stand for as long as I can remember. It’s always packed for a reason.
I went with soft serve vanilla and hot caramel sauce. The combination was buttery and not too sweet, perfect for me. I also had bites of RJ’s homemade soft serve black raspberry, which is amazing.
I spent the rest of the weekend playing with the kids in my mom’s yard and enjoying her beautiful garden, especially all of the butterflies that live there. It’s always good to be home, and I can’t wait until my next visit.