It was sunny and unseasonably warm (about 57 degrees by the shore), so it was a perfect day to try this new experience. When we got to Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park in Long Branch, New Jersey, the parking lot was practically empty. Since I have only been there in the middle of summer when the line of cars waiting to get in stretches down the street, it was a welcome sight.
When we walked onto the sand, it felt as though we had the entire beach to ourselves. There were two surfers walking in the distance, and a family standing on the boardwalk. But, we were the only ones who laid out a blanket and sat for a while. The kids dug holes and build a small castle while I laid on the blanket and listened to the surf. Glorious.
We walked down to the water to get a glimpse of the wave crashing on the sand. Luke, who is normally very cautious, decided to run up to the water. He wound up soaking his pant legs up to his knees. He thought I would be mad, but I was just concerned that he would be cold. He assured me he was fine.
Leah took off her shoes and did cartwheels in the sand. Luke and I walked on the jetty, looking at the barnacles clinging to the sides of the rocks. All three of us looked for shells. Since the beach is not combed in the winter, we found lots of beautiful shells- many more than we typically find in the summer. Leah decided to dip her toes in the water, too.
Right before we left, I decided to put my feet in the ocean. I thought it would be a good way to get out of my comfort zone. Going in the ocean at the Jersey Shore is not something I enjoy doing even in summer. I do not like cold water, and the Atlantic is too cold for my taste, even in the middle of August. I rolled up my pants and walked in up to my ankles. The cold water was shocking. My feet were numb within seconds.
I ran out of the water as the kids laughed at the way I screamed. I also laughed as I yelled, “Why didn’t you warn me how awful this water is?”
Luke confessed his feet were still uncomfortably cold. I was incredulous. I felt terrible that we had stayed on the beach for at least half an hour after he got his legs wet. I asked why he didn’t tell me. He admitted that he was afraid we would have to go home. He was having so much fun that he didn’t want to leave.
We stopped for hot cocoa on the way home, and all of us warmed up quite a bit. I think we will visit the beach in winter again, but I doubt any of us will put our feet in the water!