Monday, October 10, 2011

Raising the Roof (and the rest of the house)

No, they didn't find any striped socks and ruby slippers under this house, and it's being raised, not falling to the ground. Welcome to the post "Tropical Storm" Irene scene along this picturesque stretch of beach houses in my town. This is one of the houses that was most damaged during the late August storm. Apparently the homeowners have decided to raise their entire house almost a full level, adding what will be a 10-foot fortified cement foundation. The seawall in front of these homes is being rebuilt as well. This photo was taken yesterday, a day that saw temperatures reach the mid-80s with nary a cloud in sight. Not bad for early October in Connecticut.

August 28th, 2011—Early afternoon of the morning Irene struck our coastline. For my post on the storm, and for more photos, click here. The house pictured at the top of the post, is being struck by the huge breaking waves in this photo.

The same scene photographed last week. The water is calm as can be, seagulls appearing as white dots floating on the Sound. Though very dramatic, these clouds produced little rain. During my 2-hour walk that day, I only saw about 5 minutes of intermittent raindrops. A little bit of bright blue sky can be seen peeking out from the clouds right behind these beach homes.

A close-up view of Irene's damage. Repairs to the seawall can be seen in this view, too. I'm pretty sure the cement will be faced with granite before they're done. Everything is being rebuilt to as-new, or better condition, as befits this "Republican" section of town, lol.

Six Weeks Later, Calm and Peace 
Blue skies, our American flag, and soaring kites, as families enjoy their private beaches on an unusually warm Sunday afternoon. Not really visible in this photo, in person, Long Island, New York, could be faintly seen on the horizon. I believe it's only about 16 miles across the Sound from Connecticut.

Low tide reveals the amount of sand that was swept away back into the Sound due to Irene. It didn't stop these homeowners from strolling along their beach, and I bet the sand is fully restored by next summer. All sorts of work is going on along the shore right now, from the construction seen at the top of this post, to new sod being rolled out at many of the homes, to new stone walls being built and old seawalls being repaired. Sand will be trucked in and will restore these beaches, too.

Your trusty photographer's, and blogger's, long shadow cast by the late afternoon sun behind me. The "Jersey Barrier," or temporary cement wall, to my right, is protecting the crumbling road and seawall. There is a sidewalk along this stretch of road that is largely missing now, as are parts of this narrow two-lane road. The frequent bicycle riders, joggers and walkers along this stretch, need to be extra careful now as there are no shoulders or "safe" areas, but drivers are well-aware of this from what I've seen and experienced. And it's off the "beaten path" anyway, not a main road of any sort.

A rustic bench and pot of autumn flowers at the beginning of this particular home's beach walk. In this stretch of town, the homes are separated from their beaches by a road. Each home has a walkway to the beach across the street from their residence. Some have long wooden boardwalks over the pampas grass and beach roses in the marsh, and others, like this one, have only a short stretch of sand to traverse to reach the water.

A beautiful beach rose, Rosa rugosa, blooms along the roadside. Their single petals contrast with a cultivated rose's multiple rows of petals, but they're just as attractive. The shrubs grow to about 3-4 feet tall, and have deep roots, helping to protect the sandy soil. All of these plants emerged relatively unscathed by the storm, although many lost their leaves, but they're already showing fresh green growth.

A late afternoon moon rises above the Madison Beach Club, now shuttered for the season. Such a stark contrast to Irene's story seas and skies. 

Small pieces of driftwood resting on the sand at West Wharf. The strong shadows are courtesy of a 6 pm sun, low in the sky as it is at this time of year.

Footprints, remnants of a memorable Autumn Sunday afternoon at the beach, softened by drifting sand, create an almost lunar landscape, exacerbated by the strong shadows.


  1. The aftermath of the horrid storms, earthquakes, etc did bring us some nice weather in return, but was it really worth it? The first house that is raised on mini scaffolds looks like its ready for the movie Up! Bring on the balloons, lol.

  2. Wonderful pictorial. I too am intrigued by the raised house. I wouldn't want to climb it's new steps with groceries! Please take a photo of the final product when construction is complete.