May 27–30, 2011

After a particularly long and harsh winter, there’s nothing like a triumphant return to Stone Harbor, N.J., for Memorial Day weekend.

My sisters joined Joan and me on our late Friday night drive, which involved some predictable volume but no significant delays. The next morning, we helped my parents hoist their patio furniture onto the second-floor outdoor decks, then walked down to the beach to survey a large dredging project that began this year. Not only was our entrance to the beach fenced in by orange netting, but we also heard that the blockade may remain in place for up to six weeks! So, Joan and I opted to spend the remainder of the afternoon on a leisurely bike ride.

On Saturday evening, we enjoyed a round of daiquiris at the house, followed by a delicious dinner at Marabella’s. We then returned to the house for a enjoyable visit from my friend Paul and his family, who were spending the holiday weekend at Concord Suites just across the border in Avalon. To close out the night, I took Joan and Jen to Carney’s, a new restaurant and bar that occupied the former site of Henny’s, a family favorite from years ago. It was fun to check out a new shore bar, but we were disappointed to find it primarily inhabited by vacationers in their 40s and 50s. (Sorry, but the younger crowd provides much more entertaining people-watching.)

Sunday brought a pleasant surprise: the beaches were open once again! Contrary to what we’d been told, over the previous 24 hours, the dredging crew used bulldozers to build wide walking paths of packed sand over the huge pipes lining the beach. After a few hours of abundant sunshine, we returned to the house, where my Aunt Mary had also arrived for a visit. Later, my parents’ nearby friends, Bob and Cathie, joined all of us for a relaxing cookout and hours of entertaining stories.

During our brief stay on Monday, Joan and I embarked on another bike ride for our first ice cream cone of the season at Springer’s. At the end our late-afternoon ride home, we discovered that our neighborhood had suffered a power outage since about 1:40 p.m. Rather than suffer inside our increasingly warm house, we drove to King of Prussia to see Bridesmaids, which provided us with plenty of laughs to end a fun-filled weekend. And thankfully, power was restored shortly after 5 a.m. the next day.

[ No. 603 ]