Sunday, November 06, 2011

Cliffwood Beach NJ

Cliffwood Beach Boardwalk

One of the  most startling Jersey postcard images I've come across. I spent a lot of time on Cliffwood Beach on Raritan Bay in the 1990's. It was undeveloped, purposefully unkempt,  clearly   restored from some earlier use. The place  didn't look quite "natural."  But nothing was there except an unpaved parking lot, small tidal creek,  gooey clay deposits with preserved mussel beds embedded in them, some old pilings.  It was a nice, quiet  walking, sitting & thinking kind of beach  a short drive south of  Raritan River on Route 35.  I treasured the place.  I could get there from the Woodbridge Pearl  Arts Store in about 20 minutes, often drove down straight from my job in the  early evening, picking up a fast food supper  on the way.  Hundreds  of Horseshoe Crabs came ashore in May to mate, with a frenzy of birds feeding on the tiny eggs.  I always drove down to see  that.   Many times  in summer  I was the only person  there.   Even after I learned a public pool had once been located somewhere along  the beach  I had no idea it also had a boardwalk until I saw this postcard.

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You already know that the Aberdeen side of the beach was naturalized. Dunes were encouraged and did help to protect the beach for a long time. But the last few series of storms did a lot of damage. Much of the dunes were washed away, now every storm or high astrological tide washes the beach up on the road, its only a matter of time before we have to move the road. Route 35 floods badly there as well, we're suppose to be getting funding to fix it...I hope they throw some of that into beach restoration. You should visit, you'd be surprised at the change. There's a sea walk now on top of the old sea wall. The Old Bridge side had a very nice park, since closed due to the discovery of mercury...or do you already know that, I might have read it here!!/2011/11/three-little-birds-along-cliffwood.html
Lived here most of my life, including the 60's. It was a great town to live in. They tried to restore some of the beach (pool and Cat and The Fiddle), but that ended in 1970.
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