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In Love With A Jersey Girl: ‘Down The Shore’ With My Daughter

By Serge Bielanko |

Beach Bum.

Oh, man. I had really forgotten how great it could all be, all this life and living.

But, last week, the day before Father’s Day, I loaded my 3 year old daughter Violet into the Honda and we headed out on the open road, just the two of us, for the first time ever.

We were bound for New Jersey, to the beach where my relatives had invited us to come and stay for a spell. My wife Monica had a serious eye infection and so, at the last minute, she decided that she had better stay home with our 1 year old son.

But, I had been building it all up to my daughter for so long now ( it had been  months since we begun making our plans, talking about seashells and the beach and the waves) that I knew there was absolutely no way that I could or would let her down.

We were going!

Down the shore!

A daddy and daughter trip for the ages, y’all!

And jeez, it had been so long since I headed down to the Jersey Shore, just me and a cute girl, that I had completely forgotten how life-affirming it can actually be. When you first roll off the turnpike, out of the dense hot Pine Barrens, and you whiff that fresh saltwater air rising up off the back bays besides the Parkway, something wild and savagely good happens to your guts.

You feel insanely alive. You feel woken up after a very long strange dream. Electricity jams it’s currents through your veins and makes your heart throttle and you know that within like thirty minutes: you and the little lady will be toe-deep in the sand, standing in the ocean’s cool spray.

If you’ve never been “down the shore,” if you’ve never sat in the miles of gridlock creeping along through Philly and then rolling ever so slowly off the exits for Atlantic City, or Ocean City, or Sea Isle, Avalon, Cape May, or wherever, then you might not know the particular sort of thrill I’m trying to describe here.

But if you have ever been, if you know those places, and that feeling of Friday night traffic leading you to those beach towns, well. Then you know exactly what me and the kid were feeling when came cruising across that first bridge, the radio blasting Jackie Wilson and Fats Domino, the sunshine glinting off the water and the boats as if the whole world was just a big old diamond ring; just me and my honorary “Jersey Girl.”

We had such a fabulous time together.

I hope you dig our pictures…

nggallery id=’127708′

A Daddy/Daughter Trip To The Beach

The 85th Street Beach Kid

This was only Violet's second time to the Jersey Shore, or any ocean beach for that matter. Last October we visited the beach, but it was a lot colder and windier than I was hoping. So, this was Violet's first SUMMER trip to the shore.



You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.

And on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep up with on Facebook.

More from Serge:

The Ballad Of Violet And Speaky: A Girl And Her Bargain-Bin Tiger, Part One


Beach Bums In The Mist:  A Taste Of Single Daddy Life

Before I Had You: Reflections On A Bachelor’s Life Before Kids

Now And Forever: How Being A Father Keeps You From Being A Dad

Come On Up For The Rising: Heading Home After the Fire

25 Things About My Son, Henry





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About Serge Bielanko


Serge Bielanko

Serge Bielanko writes about fatherhood for Babble Dad and about marriage stuff for Babble Voices at He Said/She Said. His writing has appeared in Esquire and The Huffington Post, as well as on his personal blog, Thunder Pie. He lives with his wife and two kids in central Pennsylvania. Read bio and latest posts → Read Serge's latest posts →

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10 thoughts on “In Love With A Jersey Girl: ‘Down The Shore’ With My Daughter

  1. Anne says:

    Serge, you captured it perfectly! Riding to Wildwood, NJ, the air changes, the sky changes and then it is wide open. I miss that feeling. I live in Virginia Beach now and it just doesn’t smell the same. Not as salty.

    1. sergebielanko says:

      Hey, thanks Anne. If you know that ride to Wildwood then we are cut from the same cloth, that’s for sure. I’m sorry about the unsalty air down in Virginia. That just isn’t right, but please tell me you at least have dead horseshoe crabs that wash up on the beach. Have a great summer.

  2. Kristin says:

    Fantastic post. And I feel exactly the same way about the beach, even though my beach is in Connecticut. One of the things I miss most, now that I live in Kansas! But I get my kids to the Connecticut shore every summer, without fail!

    1. sergebielanko says:

      Thanks Kristin. You get Beach Bum of the Year award for making that trek every year. Your kids must be the only ones in the ‘hood with any seashells, huh?!

  3. BonnieLee says:

    I’m just impressed that you did not mention the name SNOOKI at all! I’ve never been to the Jersey Shore, so that’s all I know about it. I just found out that I won a free trip to Atlantic City…but I’m not even sure if that’s considered the Jersey Shore.

    1. sergebielanko says:

      Bonni Lee, Atlantic City sure is in the very heart of the Jersey Shore. Hope you have a blast there. Snooki Forever!

  4. Amanda says:


    You and yer moniker are best bloggers, bar none. Whatever happens, and hopefully things seem possible with perspective, your kids will always be your kids. All that magic remains for single parents. Hardest part of divorce/separation for kids and ‘adults,’ is that I found I had to communicate more with the very one with whom I could communicate least…for the sake of the kid. It is so worth the effort to keep it together, she said in retrospect. You are both so real and full of life. That ocean can heal all things. Wish you could take Monica on tour with you or you both could get a beach hol together!

    1. sergebielanko says:

      Thank you, Manda! You rule.

  5. Tina says:

    Beautiful writing… she sure brings out the Artist in her Dad. I wonder if my parents looked at me this lovingly. What a beautiful thing in this world…. you and Monica love your kids with all your might and boy does it show!

    1. sergebielanko says:

      Thanks a lot, Tina. I appreciate your kind words.

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