Monday, May 02, 2005

Higbee Beach

It was hard, adjusting my California beach ethic to life in New Jersey. California is beaches done right. But Jersey's Higbee Beach has softened me.

New Jersey does have that pesky medical-waste-washing-up-on-the-sand thing goin' on. It's also where they charge you $4.00 a day to rent a patch of sand too close to obnoxious people who might or might not be talking too loudly about some personal issue you'd rather not know about. Some family member is getting a heap of abuse that makes you cringe even though you're not privvy to their—um—dynamics.

So when we bought our "hideaway" on the Jersey shore we had few illusions. This is Jersey, for god's sakes. We knew what we were in for. Then we discovered Higbee Beach, close to Villas, where our cottage is. It's on the Delaware Bay side of the cape, kind of out-of-the-way—forgotten.

Forgotten is good when it comes to beaches. No condos, nobody checks your beach tag. Fewer family feuds, cigarette butts, and less attitude. Dogs can go there, unfettered, which means Sami and I can both get some fresh air and exericse without forking over for a beach tag.

When we get there I throw the stick into the waves and he retrieves it. We do this over and over until we're both tired. The symmetry intoxicates me.

One thing about New Jersey beaches that beats California hands down is water temperature. In a Jersey summer, that water is perfect and the waves are even better. Swimming is irresistable—medical waste be damned!

Higbee Beach is remote for New Jersey—or for that matter for anywhere. Its wildness is satisfying. For generations it was an unofficial nude beach in Cape May County. Then Christie Todd Whitman became governor of New Jersey. She made sure they passed a law about that sort of thing. Now there are signs tht say nudity is not permitted in Lower Township. This means Cape May County, New Jersey, is telling the federal government what's permitted on its own land.

This is your lean government crowd in action, spending taxpayer money to employ an earnest young ranger-ette to drive a hum-vee sort-a-thingee up and down the beach making sure nobody is taking off their clothes.

Welcome to Republican America.


At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently you haven't been there


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