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Bridge To Nowhere

In the swamps in southern Ocean County, on the mainland side of the Barnegat Bay, there’s a dirt road that takes off eastward from an otherwise empty stretch. It’s a bit after the American Legion, and about a mile before the porn shop. After rattling your way down this unmantained isthmus, suddenly there was a mound in front of you. I only ever tried this at night, but it sure seemed to come out of nowhere. There are steps that lead up to a wooden platform. It’s a foot bridge about 6 feet wide, over one of the tributaries that criss cross the swamp.

The strange thing about this bridge is that there’s really nothing on the other side. If you walk across, there’s another short set of stairs that… leads you right into the marsh. There are no paths on the east side of this bridge. Just waist high swamp grass. Other than a couple of radio towers and the LBI bridge in the distance, it’s about as remote as you can get in the most densely populated state in the union.

This was one of my favorite out-of-the-way spots in New Jersey. I’ve seen sunrises from there. I’ve drank whiskey. I’ve shot off model rockets, almost been thrown into the river, confronted wasted rednecks, and wandered into the dried out swamps during a drought. To make our mark, sometimes we would bring chalk or magic markers and scrawl phrases that meant something at the time. The locals who probably went out there to fish the next day must have had no clue what these writings meant. We didn’t mean them to be graffiti. We just wanted to leave a little something permanent.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing permanent out there. The Bridge To Nowhere burnt down several times. The last I heard they gave up rebuilding it.

You should still be able to make it out there. The remains of the bridge are nearly as beautiful as it was in it’s prime. It used to symbolize the temptation of wandering into the unknown. Now you can go and think about what it’s like to see a while other world that’s just out of reach. Either way it’s a good place for some writers to go drink by moonlight.

Telling you all this is really an excuse to play the song Bridge To Nowhere by the Stone Lonesome, featuring vocals by Zach Jones, one of my favorite local musicians. I can only assume this is the spot he’s singing about. How many places like this can there be?

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Categories: Adventure, Music
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