Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Brrrrr on the Boardwalk

Shiver me timbers! It was a cold one down the shore today. With temperatures hovering between "brrr" and "OMG get me inside NOW," today was chilly around the shore. But since assignment deadlines are looming, and I happen to like the shore in the winter, to the beach I went.

My first stop was in at Brigantine Beach Bagel to interview author Beth Ciotta, whose book All About Evie I reviewed on my other blog.

What a nice, lovely woman! I'm writing about Ciotta for an article on romance novels and romance fiction writers in the area. Fun conversation.

Then I wound my way down to Wildwood, stopping to see how the winter was treating the shore. I was also reminded that, even though I hate driving in Philadelphia, I hate driving in Atlantic City even more. Ugh.

Anyway, the Ocean City boardwalk was just about empty, but it was still lovely:

Hey, we got a runner!

Even though Shriver's was closed, of course -- OF COURSE! -- Mac and Manco's was still open (9th street location only):

I took a quick walk on the beach, too. Yes, it was cold, but so very pretty. Plus, that combo of Columbia fleece and Northface jacket kept me pretty darn warm (thank you, REI January sale).

AGH! Oh, wait. That's not an alien or the Unibomber. That's just me. Yes, with very chapped lips. If anyone has advice on how to keep my lips from shedding like a snake in this very cold weather, please please let me know!

Then it was south down to Wildwood to interview Jack and Will Morey of Moreys Piers. I have written on the blog about all the hub bub surrounding Wildwood's choice to use rainforest wood as boardwalk wood. But I didn't realize where that project was taking place: smack in the way of getting to the Moreys offices:

I gotta say, it's jarring to see part of a boardwalk just gone. Same thing about seeing an empty and winterized amusement pier:

My interview with the Moreys went really well, and I think it'll be a great article. Because of my contract with the magazine for which I'm writing the piece, I can't say much more than that. But I can share this:

That's a picture of me and Jack Morey. He's wearing a "Team Iz" hat -- it belonged to Steve Izenour, who he quoted heavily and often and credited has having a huge influence on the businesses. Aside from being an influential architect, Izenour loved to bike, and that's his biking hat that Morey is wearing (and I'm wearing quite possibly the most comfortable fleece I have ever owned -- seriously. I couldn't find a direct link or I would link to it). I was also flattered that Morey had a copy of my book already in his office. You can sorta see it in the picture (it's by the book slightly to the left with the book with the Empire State Building on it with the left books leaning on it).

Next up was a quick trip down to Cape May to see if I could find that handbag with my face on it I've heard about (no go -- store was closed) and visit to the offices of Exit Zero to take a sneak peek of the books they're working on.

OK, that's not the offices of Exit Zero. That's my office with an Exit Zero mug I picked up today. Their offices are much cooler than mine (with the coldest bathroom in the world. Brrrr, Jack!)

Overall, it was a great trip. I wish I could have stayed longer, but work and the dog called me home. I hate, though, leaving Cape May home right before sunset because the view in the rear view mirror is so pretty. Today's sky was a wonderful blur of yellows, oranges and purples surrounded in a haze of dusty pink. Leaving town right when those colors hit their peak always makes me feel that I'm leaving something important behind.

I had a lot of time to think on that drive home, especially today. Why today? Because tomorrow is a big date for me: I'll have been freelancing full time for four years, so my drive both to and from the shore was filled with memories of a lot of stories I've written and people I've met along the way.

And even now, I can't believe it. I know a lot of freelancers who take their anniversary day off. I can't -- I have too many deadlines. That fact alone is comforting. I've nearly thrown the towel in many times, the latest (believe it or not) in May. So thank you to everyone who's helped me out along the way. I appreciate it.

Enough sap. Let's get another look at the bug lady:


Another tip from the trip: for most of my drive time, I listened to matt pond PA's "The freep." As the title suggests, it's a free ep. Go get yours now. Like today was for me, it's lovely.

I also twittered today's trip (my tweet about Mac & Manco's triggered a lot of replies and commentary about pizza). If you'd like to follow me, I'm @jerseyshorejen.

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Beth Ciotta said...

It was fabulous meeting you today, Jen. Thank you for the kind words. You made the chat so easy!

What a great post and great pics. I felt as if I was on the boardwalk with you. Brrrrr.

So glad you refuse to 'throw in the towel'.

Happy Anniversary!

Anonymous said...


What a fun post. You're a great blogger. Congratulations on your 4-year anniversary!

Anonymous said...


On the chapped lips thing--drink lots of water. Which I imagine you do already. Also, have multiple tubes of ChapStick or Blistex stashed in jacket pockets, car doors and around the house so you're never without it. At least that's what I do.

Now about your freelance anniversary--congrats on that. Truth be told I had no idea that freelancers actually marked a date when they started freelancing full time. I couldn't ever tell you what my date was. Then again, it was probably way back in 1992 or 1993 when you were in, oh I don't know, elementary school! ;-)

Anyway, congrats on making it for four years as a self-employed person.


iconjohn said...

I always found the shore incredibly lonely in the winter. But for the record, I've windsurfed at least one day in every named month. Every few years, some incredible warm south winds will push temps into the 60's. That's my hope for February.

Kimmber said...

OMG, that just looks so cold! I'm only 5 minutes from the ocean and I avoid making that trek as much as possible in the winter.

Life On The Edges said...

I have chapped lip issues too, since I spend a lot of time outdoors regardless of the weather. The best thing I've found for me is Burt's Bees Medicated Lip Balm with clove oil. It's usually anywhere from two bucks to four bucks, depending on where you find it, but it's worth it.

Nice boardwalk shots, I love it when it's empty at the beach. :)