New Jersey, A Beer Review, and that Back-to-School Feeling

I just got back from a summer road-trip to New Jersey. One of my brother’s best friends, Ranger B, has been working at Sandy Hook Gateway National Park all summer. I drove down with Brother and Brackett to camp at Sandy Hook and visit Ranger B for a few days. Brother, Brackett, and Ranger B have all been best friends since elementary school, and Brother and Brackett were college roommates. The three of them still get together often, and even exchange gifts at the holidays (it’s sort of adorable). I’m three years younger than the guys; for a sense of scale, they were the cool high school seniors when I was a freshman.  In the early years, as the tag-along baby sister, my goal in life was to bother them as much as possible. Later, I idolized them, and hung out with them at every opportunity (despite being all pre-teenishly self-conscious about whether they even wanted me around). Now that we’re all grown up, we’re all good friends. I’m fairly sure I’m legitimately part of the gang, and besides, we couldn’t have gone camping if I hadn’t brought the tents. 🙂

View from the Lighthouse on Sandy Hook. You can see one of the beaches, and the New York skyline across the water.

We had a real good time. Sandy Hook is beautiful place. The beaches were wide and sandy, the water was warm, and NYC looked perfect (and perfectly distant) across the water. The moon was so round and bright after dark that we didn’t need flashlights. We toured lighthouses, we swam, we drank beer on the beach, we played card games in the campsite, we chased phosphorescent jellyfish, and we had some local beer at the Chubby Pickle and didn’t even lose at trivia night.

Hang tight: I’m going to review some beer real quick. Check out Ales to Lagers for more beer reviews by my best friend (Lady Higg: call me sometime this week? I miss you!). While at the Chubby Pickle, we had the New Jersey Beer Co. Hudson Pale Ale. I found this beer pretty interesting, because at the first taste I didn’t much care for it. It was hoppy and bitter, and also markedly thin and sharp tasting. I feel comfortable using the word shearing. Some folks prefer bitter beers, but I’d much rather have something smooth. I thought this was going to be one of those beers that sticks in my mouth, getting more intolerable with every sip (and between Ranger B, Brackett, and I, we were faced with an entire pitcher!). Here’s the interesting thing: this is the most drinkable bitter beer I have ever had. Maybe it was that shearing quality that sent it straight to the back of the mouth, or maybe it was that light and airy aftertaste, but this beer went down nice, was very refreshing, and actually grew tastier with every sip. Good job, New Jersey.

It’s Labor Day weekend. Soon, everyone will be back at school. For the first time since kindergarten, I don’t have any school to go back to. What a weird feeling! Still, all that back-to-work energy is in the air, and there for the taking. I’m soaking it up, and using it to tackle my own projects. I actually came back from New Jersey feeling really energized, and the best thing about my back-to-school substitue projects is that no one is going to grade them. I’ll tell you more about what I’m up to later this week.

Readers: how about you? Are you going back to school? Do you still feel weird about not going back to school? Have you had all the adventures you wanted to have this summer? Is there anything you still have to do before the summer months are completely gone?