a slice of beautiful New Jersey…

a slice of beautiful New Jersey…

Oyster Creek Restaurant and Boat Bar, Galloway NJ (Leeds Point), two weeks since I was peering out onto the salt marshes, and then dinner, this is the real jersey shore (for me), some raw top neck clams, some oysters, fresh local line caught tuna steak, all in a packed house, every generation from 2 months old to 100 years, parties of two to sixteen, kids first jobs of the summer, red and white checker table cloths, all Jersey…. am I biased ? sure… but I’m OK with that… The spider? I don’t know why but there is always huge spiders at these shore places, ok, well, I do know, big bugs = big spiders, duh, I will always remember the crazy amount of huge spiders @ Two Mile Landing in Wildwood, another iconic spot if you are in that area (further south), cracking crabs with a wood mallet is oddly satisfying… and time consuming… and generally worth it…

a moment of perfection (well, almost at least)…

a moment of perfection (well, almost at least)…

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Sometimes things align, and you just feel it in your bones, I stepped out of my usual routine and took a trip, a chance, this weekend (I usually work 6 days) and traveled not so far, in my own state, I literally pulled up a map and said “where haven’t I been?”  Well, as it turns out, I have been missing out, the photo is the culmination of a day’s journey, it feels like a week, in a good way, I pit stopped in Absecon NJ as it would be a good jump off point to travel from (and being close to Atlantic City there are tons of hotel choices), the trip started off, um, not so well… driving from Hackensack to Absecon on a Friday night in the summer?  yeah… probably not such a good idea but I was determined, hit some rain in the north but managed to make time south of home (Edison), in all I arrived around 9pm, tired but not wiped, and then the wait to check in, I figured there would be no one here, I was wrong, and to boot their reservation system had problems with online bookings… and sure, I had booked online… so after about a 20 minute wait I was panicking to find all my proof, the damn hotels.com app would not load, surely this was not a good sign, but… should I doubt, my reservation was fine, and I had wrapped myself in an anxiety pretzel for no reason (there might be a lesson in there), nice enough hotel, comfy king size bed into which I melted…

and the banging on the door, 8am, what the hell?  I know I hung the do not disturb tag, but apparently in my tired blindness I had requested a maid… after hostage negotiations through the door we came to an understanding, understanding I put the wrong sign up, my bad, and back to sleep I was as I rarely get to sleep in and wanted to catch that extra wink before embarking on my exploration(s) I had planned for the day…

so a few weird dreams later I wake up, shower, and embark, off to Great Bay Wildlife Refuge, a large area of salt marshes connected by some rickety bridges and traffic lights that seem to be in the middle of nowhere, sweeping views, lots of shore birds, the sound of the wind on the reeds and grass, I’ll spare you the details but this is total zen for me, I drove all the way down as far as you can go, and hiked from there as far as you can go, and I did not learn my lesson about walking in crocs… not exactly the best footwear for long walks but great in the fact that who cares if they get muddy etc… fair trade off I guess. and then I visited Edwin Forsyth Wildlife Refuge which you can drive through, although I hopped out often for photos… so I walked a lot, and then drove …  a bunch and walked some more.  Both preserves were awesome, what a great day to visit, you could see Atlantic City in the distance like some weird metropolitan art skyline, my only complaint ?  the damn greenies, damn they are persistent and vicious, greenies… are green headed flies and they bite… really bite, like draw blood bite, if you smack one at the right time (after it has fed) your hand is bloody, yeah… as fun as it sounds, you even smack them and they are still dug in and you have to pull them off, my legs look like they were hit by pre-pubescent acne, well.. at least they don’t itch as much as mosquito bites….

so that leads me to the photo, which was a night cap, the ending, I was the only “party of one” waiting for a table, Oyster Creek Bar and Restaurant, oddly enough it is on the edge of the very park I was routing around earlier (Edwin Forsyth Wildlife Refuge), this is a very Jersey experience, so visceral for me, this part of this jersey shore has such a distinct smell, it is like inherent to my instinct, I recognize it, it brings me back, it makes me feel at once like a child and at most immortal like time has stopped to make this perfect moment, this place is the type where you can stroll up in your boat, tie up and have some great food, mixed with regular folk looking for the same, but you are all right there on the precipice of where the food actually comes from, the sea, right there, the salt marsh is teeming with life, and tasty life, and then not so far off  is the Atlantic ocean, you smell it all, the diesel, the semi sweet rot of a swamp, the salty air, the gentle aroma of wet wood, the short waves slowly lapping at the docks, the conversations you have had yourself, couples bringing their babies out for the first time, the families with their grandparents, the parties of nine, all of it, terrible chairs, red and white table cloths, local kids waiting out the shift, this is so familiar, so damn visceral, it makes me feel immediately comfortable, I could watch this all day… and night, but they just called my name, and damn I am hungry, hope it lives up to the hype, it probably will…

note: I am uploading a bunch of videos to my YouTube Channel, I finally got off my ass and learned how to use my ThiEYE cam