The fadeaway

Allenhurst Beach Club

Allenhurst Beach Club

Late August always brings back memories of growing up two blocks from the beach in a four-by-four block town on the Jersey shore.

Allenhurst (just north of Asbury Park, Springsteen fans) was a town of sprawling old homes, many of which were only occupied in the summer by families that came from other places.

The town’s biggest attraction was its beach club, still one of the best I’ve come across, featuring three salt-water pools that were emptied, cleaned and refilled with ocean water each night.

For us “locals,” the last two weeks of August marked the beginning of taking our town back.  The weather started to turn then, if only for a day or two, and the crisp air that brought out the sweatshirts also sent summer folks (“bennies”) home and college-aged lifeguards and beach workers back to school.

That crisp air hinting at fall is here again this week, and though Labor Day is still a week away, summer is starting to fade.

Where did August go?

For me it’s been a planning and prepping month of sorts (though this blog’s been neglected), researching and writing story pitches that hopefully will yield good work.

Like many of you I also traveled some – a day or two at the beach and several days in Washington, D.C.

I love Washington, even in the swampy summer. No matter how often I go, I find something new. (Click on the photos at the end of this post.)

I did the ritual walk along the Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to Capitol Hill, but this time I slowed down and actually ventured inside a few of the buildings I usually just pass along the way – the National Gallery, for one, and the Library of Congress. 

It’s hard to say how or why I never visited the Library of Congress, but I’m so glad I did this time.  From the inscriptions outside the Madison Building to the breathtaking interiors of the Jefferson Building, there’s so much to absorb.

I had time to wander through just two of the library’s exhibits, Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I , which runs through January 2019, and Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustration, which runs through the end of this year. Both are well worth your time.

I also discovered the fountains tucked away behind the trees in the National Gallery’s Sculpture Garden, complete with a lovely pavilion and restaurant that I never knew existed.

And of course, I hit my usual stops – the Newseum, the Supreme Court, Kramerbooks off DuPont Circle. 

Next weekend, as it has done for decades, the town of Allenhurst will dye its ocean green, marking the unofficial end of summer there and signaling to the club’s members that it’s time to clean out their lockers and cabanas and get on with the fall.

For me, a few more beach visits are still ahead. I’m not quite ready to call it a season, especially since September and October are my favorite months at the shore.

There’s lots of good stuff already on the fall calendar, though, to help ease the transition.

Bruce is on Broadway, Joe Biden’s at Lincoln Center, and a new book season is on its way.

Time to fall forward.