Thursday, October 8, 2015

Grassy Sound: A Profile of "True Grit"

Ever since the small, seafaring village of Grassy Sound, just northwest of the Wildwoods, found itself in the national news spotlight during last weekend's nor'easter, I have been searching for a voice to convey the uniqueness of this place and its inhabitants.

Truthfully, my experience in Grassy Sound pretty much begins and ends with the trips I used to take with my family into North Wildwood (who can forget the "rickety" Beach Creek Bridge?), before the construction of the current boulevard bridge.

The old road, lined with rustic shanties and cottages that seemed so perilously close to being swallowed by the bay, was a rite of passage for generations of Wildwood arrivals.

I will never forget the handcrafted, wooden sign above the door of one of the clapboard homes on the north side, with white painted letters that read: SWEET HAVEN.

Over the past two decades, I've mostly viewed Grassy Sound from above, traveling over the sound on the elevated pass; while I always give a glance to the community below, it only recently occurred to me how much "distance" there now is between this special place and the island of the Wildwoods.

Still, I could ramble on about other aspects - the foul, yet paradoxically glorious smell of the bay, the amazing wildlife that calls the marches home, the thoroughfare that is a boater's paradise, and, of course, our good friends at Grassy Sound Marina...

But, I will turn it over now to a new friend, Edward O'Neill, who possesses not only an intimate knowledge and understanding of Grassy Sound's past and present, but an eye for capturing its essence...

- Al Alven, 10/8/15


Grassy Sound is not just some news story where someone lost their house to another storm.

It is a community of wonderful people who have the courage to love and care for each other. People's hearts break when they hear wood creak or crack.

Houses have been built and lost for more than a hundred years here. Each board is a piece of history as people live out their dreams with guts and determination.

These pictures represent the north and south side and tell a story that you can interpret as you may.

I look with admiration on all of the people who live their life with a little or a lot of risk and sail into the sea with their own homes and heart.

God bless them all as each sunset and sunrise has a special joy and mystery to them.

A special thanks to Jeannie and her dad, who have lived amazing lives and still challenge the sea and showed me how an immigrant adds so much to our lives and demonstrate "True Grit" to all of us.

- Edward O'Neill, 10/7/15

* To check out Edward's complete photo essay, click HERE.

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