One area in New Jersey we’d like to visit is the Pine Barrens. Counter to popular opinion New Jersey does have rural areas. The pine woodlands and numerous rivers create a recreation area well suited to hikers, campers and paddlers. We decided to take a drive and explore the area. We stopped at Batsto Village, a restored iron and glass manufacturing village in the early 1800s. We were talking with one of the volunteers about the difficulty we were having finding a camping spot here other than private parks. She told us to check the campground at Brandon T. Byrne State Forest. Off we went. It would be perfect. Just twenty minutes to some beautiful paddling areas this campground had large RV sites and allows pets. We’d need to dry camp here but there is water to refill the tank and bathhouses.
By now we found ourselves within an hour drive of the Jersey shore. As a child I’d spent many summer vacations in Seaside Heights. You probably remember the picture of the wooden roller coaster washed into the ocean after Hurricane Sandy. I’d ridden that often. We were curious as to how the recovery was progressing. When we reached the southern part of the shore we saw most houses with new roofs and construction tradesmen at work everywhere. The boardwalk and beach were still closed off. Businesses still under renovation. It looked doubtful that the area would be ready for “The Season” in a month.
We turned north toward Brick Township. What we saw there left an impression no news photo can convey. Homes that were repairable had been handled first or were under way. Literally, the first two or three blocks from the ocean were devastated. We’ll let photos speak for themselves.