We live in Bucks County, PA, and according to google maps it takes 1 hour and 33 minutes to drive to the Jersey Shore.
And, sure enough, 1 hour and 33 minutes later we pulled into Spring Lake, NJ. We were a little early, so we had brunch and then some of us did a little shopping.
Spring Lake is a pretty upscale town. A modest house a couple of blocks from the beach costs over $1 million, according to the many real-estate offices lining the main shopping street.
But any yahoo from Pennsylvania can park for free (if it's not Labor Day and it's not too crowded) and walk onto the beach for ten bucks. (There's no senior discount. I asked.)
The woman taking tickets warned us that the onshore breeze was blowing sand flies in from the wetlands. We'd be better off down near the water, she advised, and also apply plenty of bug spray. For the most part, it worked. The water was perfect. Warm enough for me (at about 74 degrees) and calm enough for B, who doesn't like the big waves.
I tried to read my book, but was distracted by all the people watching, from beach bunnies . . .
To the paddleboarders . . .
to the guy on the boat out in the water . . .
to the kids playing football . . .
to more beach bunnies . . .
to an intrepid couple way up there parasailing.
I'm supposed to write an article for my U. S. News On Retirement column highlighting some surprising things about retirement. Okay, we can't kid ourselves too much -- there can be some negative surprises. But today I'm thinking the most surprising thing about retirement is that it's even better than I thought!