Last week we traveled to the New Jersey Shore for our annual vacation. Unfortunately, we were joined on our vacation by Hurricane Irene! Irene was the first storm to threaten the New York City area since Hurricane Gloria in 1985. Because of the storm, 2.3 million people (including us!) were under mandatory evacuation orders up and down the East Coast, and unfortunately almost 40 people lost their lives as a result of the storm.
After arrival on Wednesday afternoon, we had our usual first night dinner at Nino's, the local pizza restaurant across the street from where we stay in Seaside Park. We arose early on Thursday morning, threw on our bathing suits and headed to the beach. It was still early and the lifeguards were not yet on duty, so we waited. And waited. Slowly the boys worked their way down the sand toward the waves. After spending the entire Winter anticipating spending hours diving and dodging in the rough surf of the Atlantic, they were sadly disappointed. Upon the lifeguards arrival, we were told that the beach was opening, but there would be no swimming allowed - this is as close as they got to the water before they were ordered out by the lifeguards:
Reluctantly and after a few tears, we headed back to the house to try to re-group, and find interesting non-beach alternatives (of which there are not many).
The next day we visited the beach to check out the "pre-Irene" surf; a beach that would normally be crowded on a Summer Friday, looked rather deserted . . .
Later that afternoon, we made our only trip to the normally crowded boardwalk at Casino Pier in Seaside Heights for rides and games. The rides were closed - but we did manage to play a couple of games, and to visit The Shore Store. The entire area was under a mandatory evacuation order and the crews and employees were readying the rides, booths and restaurants for the impending storm. Police and fire officials were riding through the streets with loudspeakers, announcing that everyone should be evacuating. We decided to wait it out for one more night, as the weather was beautiful and sunny. At dinner time, we headed to The Labrador Lounge for a last night of vacation/pre-Irene dinner celebration.
Many of the homes and businesses in the area were in the process of boarding up in preparation for the storm; our favorite pizza place, Nino's, was one of the first to get the boards up:
As the day progressed, the hurricane prep swept into full force, including homes, stores and even mailboxes! My youngest son's main concern . . . to be able to get one last Slurpee before they closed 7-11 for the storm!
As the evening turned to night, the normally crowded road outside the house was empty, and you could clearly hear he surf pounding from three blocks away. Although the storm was on the way, we were treated to a beautiful sunset over the bay!
Early on Saturday morning, we packed up the car to head North . . . and followed the evacuation route over the bridge to the mainland back to Massachusetts.
Next year, we will not be visiting the Shore during hurricane season!