The first thing that’s special about Point Pleasant is the little community where you park your car. Once you’re off the main road, you find yourself within a grid of streets dotted with small beach cottages—little homes, mostly with gravel instead of grass out front, and flower pots on the porches, and beach towels hanging over the porch railings. You drive up and down the streets until you find an empty spot, and then you begin the walk to the boardwalk. Stephanie can tell you that I always comment on how walking toward the ocean can look as if you’re walking toward the edge of the world: all you can see ahead of you is the sky, until you get close enough to see—ahhh, the ocean.
We usually begin at the most densely populated end of the boardwalk, where the amusement park is located. It’s a good amusement park for small children because it’s large enough to be exciting but small enough to be manageable; nobody’s going to get lost or overwhelmed here.
Stephanie and I skip the rides (although we often comment on her past fondness for the train ride that circles the park) and walk on to the part of the boardwalk that contains eating places and games. A stuffed banana-person with scraggly hair is a popular prize at the stands this year.
From there, we continue on to the less traveled part of the boardwalk. To our right is the railing that separates us from the beach and the ocean. We can see the sunbathers and swimmers and volleyball players, and we can watch the waves and the boats and the small airplanes dragging banners advertising local nightspots. The view to our left is equally tantalizing. Here’s an example:
These houses, and many more like them, are situated right on the boardwalk. Each little dwelling has its own personality. Some have small pools out front for toddlers to wade in, and some have patio sets. The owner of one locally famous house plays Frank Sinatra music all day long, and you can hear it as you walk by. Stephanie and I love looking at each “front yard” behind its low fence and deciding whether we’d like to stay there. I’d like to stay at any of them, actually, just to be that close to the beach.
Our boardwalk journey isn’t over yet. After the last little house, there is another eating/shopping area along the boardwalk and then, finally, the boards end with some benches facing an inlet where boats go back and forth from the bay to the ocean.
It’s a lovely place to stop and let the wind beat against your face, listen to the swooshing the pumping of the water against the boats, and watch the gulls (and people) walking on the rocks below. And then it’s time to turn around and walk the entire length of the Point Pleasant boardwalk again, with the ocean to your left this time. I always hope Frank will be singing Summer Wind.
*Thank you to Dan Beards.