The beach has always been a special place for me and my family for as long as I can remember. Summer break has always been filled with weeklong and weekend trips to the Jersey Shore with friends and family, but the past few years have sadly been lacking that for me. I guess life got busier with school, jobs, and other commitments, but going back to the beach even for the day is always a much needed treat.
When my mom suggested that we take a trip to the Jersey shore last weekend since it was going to be unseasonably warm for February I jumped at the chance to smell the salty air, squish the sand underneath my toes, and walk peacefully along the crashing waves while clearing my head of all the stresses that daily life holds for me.
Arriving in Stone Harbor, NJ always brings back so many memories of shore trips that have long past with my family that have since grown older, with friends that may no longer be a part of my life, and even with my current boyfriend who I had the chance to enjoy the shore with last summer. It’s a perfect town with adorable boutiques, fudge shops, surf shacks, and pancake houses all nestled along the white sand beaches of the New Jersey coast. During this particular mid-morning the town was quiet and rather empty, reminding you that summer is truly the reason for towns like this.
Whenever my family wants to take a long walk along the beach, we head to the end of Stone Harbor past 122nd Street. There is a parking lot and nature trail that leads past a seagull nesting tide pool and beautiful dunes which brings you out to a jetty out into the ocean. The views are serene and a classic depiction of all that the New Jersey coastline has to offer beachgoers.
If you continue along the beach you will eventually come to the very end of Stone Harbor which is the Hereford Inlet. North Wildwood is just across the inlet. The walk to the inlet can take as long as you want as there are endless tide pools, shell clusters to explore, huge sand dunes, and obviously beautiful views to take in along the way.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous at 63 degrees in the middle of February with a nice breeze and bright, blue skies. There’s just something about being on a beach in the middle of winter that makes you feel a sort of calm that is rare in our lives these days. The emptiness doesn’t leave you uneasy, but instead gives you enough space to clear your mind of every day life. Walking along the beach that afternoon, I was very thankful that my family (minus my little brother) was by my side and that I have people around me that love me. I was thoughtful about what I wanted out of the next few years of my life and I also cherished the moments that came along exactly as they happened. It’s so easy to get caught up in what is weighing our lives down that we forget all the great things we have to be grateful for. There’s always time to slow down and to take a breath so we can remind ourselves that everything is fine.
Also, if you’re ever in the region, be sure to check out the Italian Restaurant “Nino’s” which is where my family and I ate after wandering on the beach and through the town. It’s delicious and there are two locations: one near the Wildwood boardwalk that’s only open in the summer and one in Cape May Courthouse that’s open all year round.
What’s your favorite location to clear your mind and unwind with the people you love in your life? Let me know in the comments!