HIGHLANDS, NJ - NewJerseyBayshore.com recently sponsored a contest in which entrants wrote a diary-type entry about their experience in the New Jersey Bayshore area. According to John Schneider, founder of the contest and host of a local television program about the Jersey Bayshore, there were almost 20 entries.
The 1st-place winner received $200 while 2nd- and 3rd-place winners each received $100. All three individuals will also have an opportunity to appear on Schneider's weekly television show, Jersey Bayshore County, which may be viewed on local Comcast public access channels in Tom's River, Ocean, Monmouth and Union Counties or viewed at JerseyBayshoreTV.com.
First Place - Lynne Kosobucki
I have made it down to Atlantic Highlands and picked up some take out Thai food for lunch. Sitting here by the municipal boat ramp eating my noodles and doing a little people watching is pretty entertaining. Seeing everyone putting their boats in the water is fascinating. Before I head back, I think I will just sit here and read my book for a while and maybe take a little nap. I’m reading The Water Witch by James Fenimore Cooper. It takes place in Monmouth Hills. Perhaps that is where the Water Witch Club got its name. Last summer, one of the student interns from my office had brought his bike on the train to Matawan and biked all the way to Sandy Hook where he saw dolphins playing in the surf. I’m a little too tired to go all the way down there today, but the summer has only just started, so hopefully I’ll have time to do that one weekend.
June 25 - 4:00 p.m.
Now I need to find the Hazlet Public Library. My friend told me about a free makeover session that the library is having this afternoon. After spending all day in the outdoors, I wanted to have a little time to primp since my boyfriend is meeting me for a fancy dinner tonight. I can take a shower and get dressed on the boat (how cool is that going to be?), but it should be fun to get some beauty tips.
June 25 - 7:00 p.m.
My boyfriend just picked me up and we are heading back to Keyport to go to dinner at Drew’s Bayshore Bistro. The menu online sounded delicious, and I am definitely hungry after the hike in the creek and the bike ride. It was tough deciding where to eat, given all the highly rated restaurants in the vicinity, but we had to pick just one for tonight. It’s just a quick trip from north Jersey, so we’ll have to come back to try some of the other places, especially some of the ones with outdoor dining overlooking the water. We can save indoor dining for the winter. Too bad I have to go back to work tomorrow. It would be nice to continue exploring the area right now.
Second Place - Wanda Radowksi of Highlands, NJ
Highlands Come and Visit Me!
The dragon winds of winter have subsided.
The white and grey blanket is finally gone.
Yellow sand dotted with interesting sea gifts await our discovery.
People poke their heads out of their dwellings,
To find a new and beautiful season before them!
Surfers wax and wane anew,
Paddle boarders walk on water blue,
Wind surfers skim the bay in delight.
Kite boarders play from day till night.
I wander the beaches in search of treasure true,
Ambergris or pretty bobbles to glue,
Forming jewelry or funny trade,
To give as gifts from natures made.
I gather all my troubles and woes,
And into the sea it goes.
The waves wash it back to shore,
But they don’t bother me anymore!
I place my fishing rod in hand
Without expectations, you understand.
For catching fish is fun it’s true,
But the journey is what beckons you.
Taking a break from feeding my soul,
I stop at my favorite watering holes,
The Inlet Café or Windansea.
Where the grub is great and satisfies me.
Chilango’s fish tacos or China Sea’s mango shrimp.
Highland’s restaurants and bars do not skimp.
And Lusty Lobster, give me a break,
One of everything, I will take!!!
I look for music when nighttime falls.
And dance and twirl until last call.
Along the beautiful Navesink ,
This must be heaven, I say with a wink!
Where you can watch the sunset and sunrise,
Between the bay and the ocean skies,
Rainbow hues form before your eyes,
Magically transporting you in surprise!
The yachts and little dinghies crawl
Underneath the Highlands bridge so tall.
Enjoying the view of the Twin Lights beam,
While casting their lines into the stream.
Some anchor at Bahrs for a break
or some the Elaine B fishing charter take
Or shop at Sasha’s lovely Boutique
Or pick a bouquet, In The Garden, unique.
And for the history buffs out there,
Indians, pirates, military fare,
Bike paths, walking trails galore,
Really, who could ask for more?
Highlands is a beautiful place,
With friendly people and a sunny face.
So close by the inviting sand and sea
You really must come and visit me!
Third Place - Lisa Hartsgrove of Belford, NJ
The Water Witch
I met him at The Water Witch Coffee Shop. He was small, about four-foot, with a hunchback. His nose was long and misshapen. He wore a top hat like Abe Lincoln’s, but two sizes too big. It covered his forehead and ears and hooked on a thick wrinkle where his neck met his back. He said his name was J.D.
He sat next to me at the counter where I was drinking a Mocha Java. I greeted him with a smile and nod.
“You’re from around here,” he said. His voice was deep, and hoarse.
“Yeah,” I answered, “I grew up here.”
He fingered the business cards on the counter. “I know.”
I took a sip from my coffee, raised my eyebrows, and stared at him over the rim. “I’m sorry, but do I know you?”
“No,” he laughed. “I know you.”
I squeezed my cup between two hands, trying to think what that might mean.
“Do you know my parents something?” I asked.
“Oh?” I tilted my head to one side.
“I know your whole family,” he said. Goose bumps grew up my arms.
“Really? I don’t think we’ve ever met.”
“We have, just not that you remember.”
Nancy handed him the London Fog he’d ordered. He slurped against the hot tea.
“I’ve waited a long time for you to see me,” he said, placing his hand on mine. It smelled of rotting flesh.
“What do you mean?”
He didn’t answer me in words. Instead, the clock on the wall stopped ticking. The shop became quiet, still. Hands raised with cups paused, mid-sip. A fly hovered motionless above a pastry.
“How?” I started, but he placed one finger over my lips, silencing me. He lifted his giant hat from his head, slowly, and revealed two great horns, smooth, like a bull’s. He laughed, raspy and menacing. The room filled a dark, dark red.
“Do you remember?”
Slowly, I nodded my head, reaching up to where my horns would be, if I had any. Then I blinked, and he was gone. The fly beat its wings; the sippers took their sips. No one sat beside me but an empty stool.
“How’s your coffee?” Nancy asked. I felt empty, depleted.
“Was someone else just here?” I said.
“Um, yes? Plenty of people have come here today. Are you okay?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Actually, hold on, I think someone left something for you.”
Still in a daze, I watched as Nancy stepped over to the register and reached below the counter. It was a hat, a large hat, fit only for Abe, or J.D.
“I couldn’t imagine why you’d want it, but it had this slip of paper with your name on it.”
I touched the fabric. The goose bumps returned.
“Thanks for holding on to it,” I said. Then I wore it home.