My wife, youngest son, and I are in Long Island for the weekend for a wedding, and today we had a few hours to explore before the big event.
It’s only my second time on Long Island; the first visit taking place about 40 years ago when I spent a weekend at a college roommate’s house in Farmingdale. I don’t remember much about the weekend, except Barry did take us past the Amityville Horror house.
So obviously I don’t know much about LI, despite the fact I’ve taught dozens, if not hundreds, of students from LI over the years. (I’m not even sure it’s acceptable to abbreviate the name of the place).
I’ve always just thought of it as a typical suburb of NYC.
Boy was I wrong.
Our first stop was Hofstra University, since it was less than 5 minutes from our hotel, and it’s one of the things I like to do when we are in a different city – explore college campuses. It was a beautiful campus, and I was particularly impressed with the athletic facilities. There is even a standalone Swim Center, despite the fact that there is no swim team!
After our drive through campus, we headed out to Jones Beach. We were told it was only about 5 minutes away, which it was. We were also told there was a boardwalk, and there was, but it was not what I was picturing.
When I think of a boardwalk, I think of Ocean City, NJ, which is packed with stores, restaurants, and other attractions (mini-golf, arcades, and rides) on one side of the boardwalk and the beach on the other side.Not to mention lots of people on the boardwalk.
Here is a picture of the boardwalk at Jone Beach from earlier today:
To be honest, I’m not sure what type of boardwalk I prefer. I love strolling along the OC boardwalk checking out all of the options, but there was something quite peaceful about the LI boardwalk. I’m sure it’s a bit more crowded in the summer, but even then, it seems like it would be a completely different experience from the OC boardwalk.
Despite the lack of people on the LI boardwalk, we did spot this:
I’ve always been impressed with unicyclists. I’ve never been on one, and at this point in my life, it’s probably safe to say I never will.
The big attraction at Jones Beach is obviously the beach and the ocean, and we made sure to take a stroll down to the water’s edge and get our feet wet.
Here’s a short video of my dream beach:
Lots of sand, mild waves and water temp, a sunny sky, and no people.
Like the picture of the empty boardwalk, I know it’s not always like this. In fact, here’s a picture I found online of Jones Beach from the summer of 2005:
Quite different, to say the least, from the picture at the top of this post from our visit today.
After we left the beach, we decided to do some exploring. The decision where to go was dictated by our nearly empty gas tank, using Google Maps to find the nearest gas station.
We ended up in Massapequa, and after filling up the tank, decided to drive down the main street, looking for a place that looked appetizing. We ended up at Taco Joe’s, and boy did we get lucky. The tacos and the chips were quite tasty, and just the right portions.
After lunch, we debated whether to stalk Billy Joel’s current or childhood homes on the Island, but decided they were a bit further away than we wanted. So we headed back to the hotel to relax for a while before the big night.
As we were driving back, we were already talking about our next trip back to Long Island.
Who would have known that there was such a beautiful beach just a couple of hours away that wasn’t in New Jersey?
And while I was having those thoughts, it struck me that there are probably lots of places, all within a day’s drive, that would also take my breath away.
As I said, I’ve got to get out more…
P.S. And congrats to Jackie and Zach on your special day, we wish you much love and happiness!