I will admit to being very territorial when it comes to the beach and if you’ve heard or read my 10 Commandments or Rules of the Beach then you know that already.
I have a real problem with those who simply have no respect or regard for space and think nothing of setting up so close to you that it looks like you’re part of one group. That was what drove me from 2nd Avenue in Seaside Park which had been my “home beach” for some 30 years.
It simply became too crowded, especially on weekends when those staying at the Windjammer Motor Inn would pack the beach and often set up within an arms length of others. My wife first brought up the idea of moving and I fought it for a while. It just didn’t seem right leaving the real estate I was so familiar with plus I liked having Surf Taco and the White Oak Market right down the street.
However Jane prevailed and we moved two blocks north to North Avenue in the summer of 2012. I had trouble in the beginning getting used to new faces but what was nice was there were not too many of them. There was no lifeguard stand on that beach meaning you could not swim there and had to walk a block or so in either direction.
This meant few families and kids since they need to be close to a lifeguard stand and swimming beach. The bottom line was space. We had plenty of it, even on the weekends. By Labor Day I was accepting that North Avenue was my new little slice of heaven.
So what was the first thing I noticed when I set foot on the beach for the first time this June? A lifeguard stand smack in the middle of North Avenue. The reasoning was sound if not well received. 2nd Avenue had gotten so crowded that the idea was to re-direct some people and the opening of a swimming beach did just that.
It also meant that our “little secret” was no longer a secret and all of a sudden North Avenue had become pretty popular, especially on weekends. It seems that many Toms River residents who used to visit Ortley Beach have found their way over to Seaside Park, at least for this summer.
So there I was yesterday on what might have been the nicest beach day of the summer with my wife, daughter and some friends. We got there before 9am and as usual found the perfect spot near the high tide line. Only once did someone invade my territory as a trio set their towels down within a few feet but they were gone before very long.
North Avenue was crowded but it was not overwhelming and I’m thinking this could be my home for the next decade or so. I guess that’s being a bit optimistic, isn’t it?