As my husband mentioned in his first post, this past July we bought a second home in Bradley Beach. The purchase was the culmination of three years of looking– sometimes avidly, sometimes half-heartedly — for a beach house. Finally the seashells had all aligned and a house we had looked at and loved in ’07 came back on the market at a price we could afford. Considering the housing situation, it became a now-or-never proposition and we took the plunge.
One of my considerations in buying a beach house –besides the usual considerations such as price, location and the number of bathrooms—was the idea of owning a second home at all. Like many of us who grew up in North Jersey and spent time “down the shore” first on family vacations and then on our own as teenagers and young adults, owning a shore home was a lifelong dream for me. But faced with the real possibility of having that dream fulfilled, there were many things to think about. Did we want to take on a second mortgage payment? Was it a good investment for the future? Would we get enough use out of it? And then, of course, there was the moral dilemma of the starving children in China and the uneaten green peas: was it right to own 2 homes when some people went homeless?
And then, also, there were the two houses themselves to consider. Without sounding too airy-fairy, I must confess that I always believed that houses—at least some houses—had souls or spirits of their own. I know many people besides myself who, in the course of house hunting, walked into a house and knew immediately that they were “home”. Was it possible to feel that way about two houses or would the beach house always be just a place to visit?
Our home in Nutley was built in 1920, and, when we purchased it, had all the earmarks of a home that had been well loved and cared for and which seemed to welcome us as its next caretakers. This new house was only 3 years old and had only been rented, never lived in by the people who owned it. If it had a soul, it had yet to be awakened.
Nine months have passed. Needed repairs have been made and the interior has gone from cold white to the soft greens and blues of the sea shore. Although not fully furnished, it is gradually being filled with pieces we love, both old and new. Every weekend we eagerly look forward to the one hour trip that will bring us to Bradley Beach and our shore house. As we pull out of the driveway I look back at our home and know that in a few days we will be back in the comfort and warmth with which it embraces our busy weekday lives. Soon we are at the door of our other house and are welcomed by its relaxed and peaceful atmosphere, patiently waiting to share its quiet calm with
us. Here too, we are home.