If you follow me on twitter you've caught snippets of all the fun I had over the weekend at the #JerseyLove retreat - but I want to start here with the "why" behind this trip. (And then I'll fill you in on the fabulous time we had.)
I am part of a close-knit group of bloggers. Back in October when Hurricane Sandy hit we, along with the rest of the nation, sat horrified as we saw the storm rip through the East Coast. We were especially worried about two of our members that live in Belmar, NJ - and were heart broken by the updates they sent us when they could snag a connection. Both of their homes had to be gutted and rebuilt. Thankfully, they and their families were safe. We felt helpless as they relayed stories of their neighbors and friends who faced similar or worse fates. We wanted to help. That's how the idea for this trip was born - and now that it's happened I'm wowed at what a group of women can do when they pull together.
|Presenting donation to the mayor|
The purpose of the trip was two-fold:
1. To raise money for displaced families.
2. To show people that the shore is better than ever and ready for visitors
We had some very generous sponsors that helped provide the donation we presented to Belmar's Mayor to aid the families that are still rebuilding their homes and their lives after the storm. The sponsors also rolled out the red carpet for us so that we could experience all that the shore has to offer - and we tweeted and instagrammed our butts off to spread the word. We spent the bulk of our time in Atlantic City, but we spent one day in Belmar - the town that is home to our friends and that suffered a lot of devastation from the storm. We had a great time that day - but we were surrounded by reminders of why we were there. From the boardwalk under our feet that was newly rebuilt, to the stories the business owners told us, to the battered houses and ominous green X's on some doors.
|Even rainy days are beautiful on the Jersey Shore|
Despite some challenging weather, we managed to have a great time at the beach in Belmar. That was in large part thanks to the hospitality that our hosts D'Jais showed us. We ate a great lunch and mingled while the braver among us suited up to go surfing with our sponsors D6Sports.
|Quintessential Beach Bar|
Here are our fearless bloggers getting a surfing lesson in the rain.
|Nothing can stop |
I was supportive from the porch at D'Jais.
|Doing my part to stimulate the local economy|
I know I sound like a broken record, but I'm blown away by the generosity of our sponsors - speaking of which: if you are on twitter you can enter to win D6Surf Skimmer at our twitter party next Tuesday. We got to see these skim boards in action and they look like a blast. It's like mini-surfing for kids - it reminded me of a scooter on (very shallow) water. Tons of fun. I hope to tweet you there!