One thing I don’t like about New Jersey is that one must pay to access the beach. It just feels wrong. The rationale is that the beach must be cleaned and maintained, and the fees help with the cost of that. Ok, fine, but it also pays for the salaries of people like this woman pictured who collect the beach access fees. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to install a turnstile? In states like California, the beach is public access and are a part of the state parks system. New Jersey could do the same and ensure that ALL New Jersey residents, not just the ones who can afford the $9 fee. Some beaches in New Jersey are free. Belmar and Avon-on-the-Sea, and Bradley Beach are not among them.
The clouds were mostly gone, and we could feel the sunlight. Finally!
We set up our beach chairs and sat down to enjoy the smell and sound of the ocean, the warmth of sunlight on our skins, and the salty sea breeze.
The day didn’t start on a good note, but it turned out better than I expected. I had a few hours to chat with my family and forget about work. My only regret is that we didn’t do this earlier in the summer and that our daughter, Kiran, could not join us.
It was not a great day for the beach. It was all cloudy skies and cold winds in Belmar. The trip had been planned in advance and I had already taken the day off work. I was in a negative mood about the situation but Bhavna convinced me it was worth it just to take a break from work. I reluctantly acquiesced, packed my new Fujifilm X-T2 body, Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR lens and two spare batteries, and we drove to Belmar.
It rained the whole drive but the rain stopped as we approached the town. We easily found parking on 5th Avenue near Ocean Avenue on the northern end of Belmar and started walking along the Belmar Boardwalk.
Belmar is a borough in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The borough is nicely laid out in a grid of streets flowing East to West and North to South with Main Street on the western side. The beach and a long boardwalk flow along Ocean Avenue bordered by Avon by the Sea to the North and Spring Lake to the South.
The wind was cool and breezy. I choose to shoot the Fuji X-T2 with the ACROS™ Film Simulation. I’m not sure why I choose ACROS but it fit my mood and the weather. After a few minutes of walking, I started to loosen up and my disappointment about the day dwindled.
I was walking along looking through the camera viewfinder trying to compose a scene and I almost tripped over some racked bicycles. There were a lot of them. I don’t know for sure, but I imagine that local residents most likely rode these bicycles to the beach. The first one in view here has a carriage for a child and the bicycle itself has a low bar which often indicated it was designed for skirt/dress/kilt wearers who don’t want to show off their __knickers_ while riding a bicycle.
You can’t see it in the monochrome but the bicycle above is mostly rust and weathered paint. I don’t think it has been used in quite a long time. Interestingly there was a new chain around the bicycle. The owner must be afraid that there is a demand for rusty old bicycles.
We continued walking north. The beach was mostly empty but I could imagine on a warm weekend it would be packed with beachgoers.
Before we crossed into Avon-on-the-Sea was pass the gated entryway to the Belmar Fishing Club which has a private pier. The clubhouse has was built by the Ocean Pier Company.
During the summer of 1929, the Club's counsel was successful in having certain restrictions in the original deed modified so as to permit the Belmar Fishing Club to erect a new and larger clubhouse to meet the demands of its growing membership. Therefore, on June 14, 1929, the Belmar Fishing Club Holding Co., was incorporated for the purpose of holding the property for the benefit of the members of the Belmar Fishing Club and to finance and build a new clubhouse.
Shaan and Bhavna commented that it seemed silly to pay for exclusive access to a pier when the same fish could be caught by standing along the rocky sides of the inlet.
We crossed the drawbridge that connects Belmar to Avon-by-The-Sea and continued on the Avon Boardwalk toward the Avon Pavilion.
The only other Little Free Library I have ever seen was in Asbury Park, which was only a few miles from Avon-on-the-Sea.
We crossed the draw-bridge into Avon-on-the-Sea toward Avon Pavilion.
It was near lunchtime and we discussed options while walking back toward the car. We decided on FINS Tropicali Cuisines in Bradly Beach.