Friday, September 6, 2013

A Post-Labor Day Trip to the Beach

"nobody on the road, nobody on the beach, I feel it in the air, the summer's out of reach...." I always loved that song by Don Henley and it never fails to pop into my head every fall during my trips to the beach after everyone goes home for the year.

The day before my sons returned to school, we took a post-Labor Day weekend trip to the beach to enjoy a beautiful, sunny day. Out of habit, we always try to plan a beach trip around low tide and we arrived about an hour prior on this day and already found shell beds that had been left behind by the previous high tide. Shell beds are something that have been missing since Sandy tore apart the Jersey shore last fall, but there they were, several patches of shells spread out over a 4 or 5 block stroll on the empty beach.

While the boys tossed a ball around in the water, the DH and I headed off towards the closest of the shell beds...hoping. What we found was not what we were used to finding. In these shell beds we found quite a bit of what looks like washed gravel- perhaps gravel that once sat in the yards, driveways and walkways of many of the residences on LBI. These were rocks that are not normally found in the ocean. The shells that we found also seemed different, smaller somehow, almost like those that are found in the bay.

In the 2nd bed we came across, the DH found a smallish piece of Budweiser brown sea glass. Unlike most of the glass we found this year, this piece was actually sea glass. While it was a newer piece of glass, it was frosted and had spent a decent amount of time in the ocean. I was kinda excited because I began to think that maybe there would be a few "finds" among the shells and stones, but the only find for me on this day, would be my first sand dollar (believe it or not, I had never found one that wasn't damaged before) and I would go on to find several more on this day...but no beach glass.

My DH walked down to the area he refers to as "Cobalt Beach". In the past, this area had been the place for us to find rare colors of sea glass and some the most "choice" pieces we have ever found in NJ. If there was to be beach glass on the beach, it would be in this area
As my hubby got closer to the area, he found very large shell beds mixed with the same type of stones found in driveways & walkways. There were several larger sand dollars, but only one piece of sea glass- another Budweiser brown small piece.

It could be possible that these beds had contained sea glass and DH was too late. My DH did see footprints around the shells beds, but he also added that there weren't footprints in the middle of the beds, only around the exterior. So perhaps those that passed by earlier, didn't see anything worth stopping for or maybe they were just out for a walk. But these shell beds didn't contain the treasures we were looking for.

In the end, I did find my first ever sand dollar and the family spent the day together, relaxing on a quiet, beautiful day. It does seem like I may need to find a new beach hobby, because I fear that my days spent sea glass hunting on the beach could be over. It's a thought that saddens me, as every time I take a leisurely walk along the surf, I remember as a young girl, walking with my Dad, finding beautiful pieces of sea glass.
I will still walk along the beach with my sons, I will still keep looking for those shell beds and I'm sure I will continue to drift closer to them, keeping an eye alert for a shiny glimmer of green or yellow or blue, and I hope my boys have the chance to pass along this little hobby when they have children. I never thought that my hobby could end so abruptly and still have hopes that the lack of sea glass is temporary. But my gut feeling is that even white and brown pieces of sea glass will be a rare find

I am still on the hunt for that elusive piece of red sea glass, it's sad that if and when I find it, it probably will not be on a NJ beach  :  (

'til next time...

A thank you to Don Henley for a perfect post Labor day beach song...and for the towns that did everything they could to preserve the beaches

Monday, August 26, 2013

Trip to the Beach

So, I finally broke down and decided to head over to LBI. Usually, I stay away until after Labor Day weekend. But the day was so nice, the ocean was calling and so was the urge to see if I could hunt down a piece of beach glass.

I went to a familiar area, found that most of the public parking that had been used for beach goers in previous years, now had a two hour time limit. Instead of having 75% of the spaces full of cars, there were a grand total of 5 cars using the 30-50 parking spaces... brilliant! Of course the side streets were loaded with cars and luckily, I squeezed into a small spot.
Now because of this brilliant decision to limit the parking places to 2 hours, the beach was quite empty. And the badge checkers were probably struggling to reach their quotas, so they were all over us as we hit the beach. "Do you need badges today?", "Do you have badges?" The bizarreness of it all fell somewhere between, I was the ice cream person ringing the bell and all the kids (badgecheckers) came running and I was going to a show and these teenagers in the yellow shorts were escorting me to my reserved seats.

So an enforced $15 donation to use a beach in the county I live in and spending several minutes driving up and down streets looking for a parking space because of some brilliantly stupid decision to put a 2 hour limit on parking places, the day didn't start well.

And it didn't get any better... I thought I/we might have a shot at maybe finding something in the surf. The beach was loaded with shells, mostly broken and quite a joy to step on in bare feet. With the tide moving out and a promising shell bed slightly visible, I had hopes. Heck, for the first time ever, I was encouraged when I saw the net-lady nearby...and she had her net with her!

But it wasn't to be. I gave up after 45 minutes. I spotted nothing at all. My DH spent at least another 30 minutes in mid-shin deep water, walking through what I believed was a shell bed and he saw one piece of "heineken green" green glass that needed about a decade more of cooking before it was ready.. Most of the shell bed appeared to be broken shells (no large, whole shells were found) and what looked like washed gravel rocks.

I have plans to go to LBI next weekend for a family get-together and thankfully, it's in another town on the island, because it is highly doubtful that I will ever frequent the town that we went to today. I'm not sure what official had the brainstorm (or was it a brain-fart?) to implement a time limit on parking places, but I guess this person forgot that the reason why people go to LBI is to enjoy the beach and not to go shopping or dining out during the day- besides a large percentage of the stores look like they still have not opened their doors this season.

Sandy really impacted everything I came across on this trip to LBI. The crowds were sparse as they have seemed to be for a lot of the summer. So many stores never opened their doors and many places still look like they need renovations. The things that appeared to have changed, have changed for the worst and one of the most important draws for me, the sea glass, looks like it may be years away from coming back on the beaches that I have visited.

My next trip will be to the northern end of the island and hopefully, very soon, I can head over to the area my DH called "cobalt beach". At least it was a beautiful day....

'til next time...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's Been A Long Time

I have been away from this blog for quite a long time. Sadly, Superstorm Sandy has changed the face of seaglass hunting on the beaches I often frequent. Long Beach Island beaches were torn apart by Sandy. Even though the island has been successfully pieced back together, it appears that it may be a long time before my favorite sea glass hunting grounds begin to yield great pieces (and those great pieces were few and far between in recent years) Though we don't frequent the beach as often as we once did, we hope to get to the beach more often towards the end of the summer as the tourist season begins to grind to a close. Speaking of grinding to a close... my shop at has been closed for the time being. The joy of finding sea glass on the beach, spurred the idea of creating handmade jewelry with those finds. Sandy essentially closed the my favorite sea glass store and while, the store has reopened (the beach, the towns)the shelves remain barren. Maybe one day things will change...I'll keep looking and hopefully, I will have some new finds to post soon. 'til next time, R