Day 42: Go To The Beach In The Winter

I’ve been told by some of my beach-expert friends that going to the beach in the winter is a completely different experience than going in the summer and one that is totally worth it. Because March 22nd is the official first day of Spring, this last minute Sandy Hook beach trip I took was indeed a winter beach day.

In preparation, Chels and I brought lots of blankets and layered up, knowing it could very well be freezing. And at first, it was. I literally felt a shiver run through my body when we got out of the car. About 10 minutes later (that’s how long it took us to gather up and carry all our crap) we walked onto the beach, and I felt another shiver run through my body. Only this time it wasn’t from the cold. It was from excitement. Excitement and Awe. God truly makes wonderful things, and it seemed like this day was made especially wonderful for us.

There is a side of me that is most content when there is no one around. Mix this with my love for wide, open spaces and beautiful landscapes and you’ve just described my pretty perfect day at the beach. There was barely anyone around and the beach was in its purposed, natural state of beauty. I also love slightly overcast weather. It paints the world in a breathtaking shade of blue, and the beach today was a perfect example of it. I felt like I was in a Nicholas Sparks’ novel only I wasn’t in a complicated relationship with a mysterious, quirky, good-looking man.

After overcoming my initial state of awe (well  I never quite overcame it), I realized just how uncomfortably cold I was. Chels and I huddled under all our blankets and decided to take advantage of the peaceful setting and take a nap. This sounded a lot more dreamy than it was. I was so cold that it took me forever to fall asleep, and when I finally did, I got woken up by some nearby photographers shortly after. I thought I’d try to go back to sleep, but then my face felt something. Sunshine. Sunshine! I made a quick decision to not let this glorious moment pass me by and got up to walk around, letting the sun warm me from head to toe. Once again, I became struck with wonder at my surroundings. You could also see some of the New York City skyline in the distance. Once Chels woke up, I decided to go for a run and changed clothes in what might be the most disgusting bathroom I’ve ever been in. (Don’t worry, I desperately made sure to balance my bare feet on my shoes the entire time and used toilet paper to touch everything:))

Now, it didn’t hit me until I was already running that I shouldn’t have.  I realized too late that I was ‘wasting’ this second, first experience on this day (I still don’t have 181 things on the list!). Going for a run on the beach has always been something I’ve wanted to do but it’s not that fun when it’s brutally hot and crowded, so I’ve never done it before.

Oh well. I quickly got over that disappointment within the first minutes as I embarked on one of the most amazing runs I’ve taken in my life. It consisted of me admiring God’s beautiful handiwork and playing tag with the waves as they came up alongside me, daring me to get my feet wet. I was also able to run sweat-free and with my hair down due to the cool, breezy weather, and as a bonus, running two miles down the beach put me around a bend, and the next thing I knew, the entire horizon stretched wide with the New York City skyline looking larger than life! I was so frustrated I didn’t have my camera! It was beautiful!

The rest of the day took a surprising turn.

When I got back to our blanket, I was somewhat annoyed but not surprised to see a man sitting on the sand next to Chels, clearly having invited himself to a conversation. He was probably one of the guys that had seen us in the parking lot earlier, no doubt. I was preparing to ask him to leave as I could see he wasn’t so welcome, but once I shared some initial small talk I actually became interested in the conversation myself. Apparently this was part of Chels’ conversation with him prior to my joining:

[ Man- “What are you girls doing on the beach on a winter day?”

Chels- “Oh, my friend is writing a blog where she does a new thing each day, and she’s never been in the winter, so we thought we’d come.”

…awkward silence…

Man- “Has she blown anything up?” ]

When I heard this I was too interested and not at all ready to dismiss this guy. No, I haven’t blown anything up, and YES I would love to! So we started talking more in depth and found out a lot about him (as he loved to talk!). Most important to note: he studied explosive engineering in school, was in the Army for 6 years, and now makes bombs, works for the government, and blows stuff up. Super! He explained that he had just relocated here from Florida to work on the now-closed Fort Hancock. (Chels and I drove through it earlier. It is a beautiful but run-down and slightly creepy old military fort right on the water’s edge.) He offered to give us, and whoever else we wanted to bring, a tour of the fort any weekend now through April, and also told me he would be more than happy to assist me in blowing things up for my blog. That did it for me and we exchanged numbers. When hearing that his last name was ‘Colbert’, I jokingly commented, “Oh, like the Colbert Report”, which upon he nonchalantly informed me that Stephen Colbert is his uncle! I didn’t believe him at first, but it is true. What a crazy, random meet-up!

So now, Chels and I have made a new friend and I get to explore that awesome, fascinating old military fort, and blow up some stuff with real bombs. This day was getting better and better. I half expected Prince Harry to come out of the bushes and propose to me. (Don’t judge me.) Unfortunately, he didn’t. The day finally came to an end and we said goodbye to the beach.

*Take note: I think this might have been my favorite blog experience thus far. I can’t even explain how mesmerized I was by that scene and how much I want to get in my car tomorrow and go back. I was reminded of how big our God is and inspired to do something great for Him in this beautiful world. Special thanks goes out to Rachel P. for giving me this marvelous idea. I might make this trip an annual tradition.

OOH and another first and favorite of the day- I had a barbecue-chicken pizza that could rival that of Cosi’s it was so good! Shout out to Quick Check Q- it’s better than any Wawa or Sheetz I’ve ever been to.

 

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4 Comments on “Day 42: Go To The Beach In The Winter”

  1. Lynn Zeiner Says:

    what an awesome day!!! i think i will try this sometime!

  2. Chelsea Knechel Says:

    prince harry

  3. rachel Says:

    I’m so glad you did this, I told you it was worth it!!! :)


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