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Bayshore Summer: Finding Eden in a Most Unlikely Place Hardcover – June 9, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1st Ed. edition (June 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 054719563X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547195636
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,280,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Product Description
Bypassed by time and "Joisey" Shore-bound vacationers, the marshes and forests of the Bayshore constitute one of North America's last great undiscovered wild places. Sixty million people live within a tank of gas of this environmentally rich and diverse place, yet most miss out on the region's amazing spectacles.

Bayshore Summer is a bridge that links the rest of the world to this timeless land. Pete Dunne acts as ambassador and tour guide, following Bayshore residents as they haul crab traps, bale salt hay, stake out deer poachers, and pick tomatoes. He examines and appreciates this fertile land, how we live off it and how all of us connect with it. From the shorebirds that converge by the thousands to gorge themselves on crab eggs to the delicious fresh produce that earned the Garden State its nickname, from the line-dropping expectancy of party boat fishing to the waterman who lives on a first-name basis with the birds around his boat, Bayshore Summer is at once an expansive and intimate portrait of a special place, a secret Eden, and a glimpse into a world as rich as summer and enduring as a whispered promise.



Amazon Exclusive: A Letter from Pete Dunne, Author of Bayshore Summer

Dear Amazon Reader,

There was a time--and it wasn't long ago--that the Dicks and Janes and Sallys of this world went out and soaked their sneakers in streams, gleefully blackened the legs of fresh-washed jeans on rough-barked trees, and dared each other to see how many eggs were in the nest at the end of that topmost limb. Engaging the natural world was as natural as natural could be.

Then they grew up. Lived busy lives. The wonder and discovery they knew as kids became a memory, not their reality--which is sad, and a trend that as a thirty-year member of the New Jersey Audubon Society staff I have battled all my adult life.

Bayshore Summer, like its predecessor, Prairie Spring, is, on the one hand, an extension of my lifelong effort to bring people and the natural world together. It's also a metaphorical knock on the door from an old friend; an invitation to come out and play in a world that hasn't gone anywhere but out of fashion in many people's minds.

I've lived on New Jersey's Delaware Bayshore for over twenty years, and I'm still discovering natural spectacles here in one of the last, great wild places along the Atlantic seaboard. This coastal region has survived people and evolved for four hundred years, and while in many respects the forests and marshes and communities seem immune from time, I'd encourage visitors to visit soon. Time has a way of catching up on special places, just as it transforms children who once went out every summer day seeking discovery and wonder.

With luck, readers will rekindle memories of wet sneakers, bark-blackened jeans, and maybe the urge to go out, once again, and engage a world where wonder and discovery lie at the fingertips of an outstretched hand.

-Pete Dunne

(Photo © Linda Dunne)




Amazon Exclusive: Photographs to Accompany Bayshore Summer
(Click on images to enlarge)
Photos © Linda Dunne

In late summer, swallows gather in the marshes of Delaware Bay Baymen Captain Tom Pew and John Burens catching Atlantic blue crabs New Jersey's wild and scenic Maurice River Linda Dunne, surrounded by a fraction of the migrating shorebirds An adult osprey by his presence posting notice that this territory is his

From Booklist

Preserved along the shores of Delaware Bay and up the Maurice River in Cumberland County, New Jersey, there are areas of natural wonder unnoticed by most East Coast drivers hurrying to cities and coastal tourist destinations. Tidal waters, salt marshes, and woodlands shelter a variety of wildlife in close proximity to villages out of which family farmers and generations of fishermen practice their trades. According to Dunne, nature writer and director of the Cape May Bird Observatory, southern New Jersey is a time-forgotten area that has been somewhat protected by high humidity, annoying insects, and bad press. Believing that industrial fisheries and real-estate development are about to permanently alter the balance of the previous three hundred years, Dunne spent a summer visiting game wardens, tomato farmers, fishermen, party-boat operators, and the graves of nineteenth-century naturalists to learn more about his beloved county. His witty and persuasive “what I did this summer” natural-history report merits reading. --Rick Roche

Customer Reviews

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Once you start reading this book, you won't be able to put it down.
Marvin G. Goldman
And we natives of southeastern Pennsylvania may have to rethink our stand that the only good that could come of South Jersey would be for it to float out to sea.
Corinne H. Smith
Part travelogue, part exquisitely readable natural history handbook, Dunne's gem of a book is a fitting tribute to the denizens of New Jersey's bayshore.
E. Rothstein

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By cait VINE VOICE on August 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you want to see a region of NJ that may even surprise many who live here, one really must venture down to the Delaware bayshore.

Once home to a number of thriving communities that made their living from the rich bay waters, plentiful with blue crabs and oysters, today visiting them is often like stepping back in time. And if you can deal with the insects, one of the few things that may thankfully retard development, it is a wild and beautiful area.

"Likewise, there is no green like salt marsh hay. It is deep and rich and pure; untainted by blue, untinged by yellow. Just pure, pure primary green. Green enough to make the Emerald Isle want to trade up. Green enough to make you wonder what the rest of Eden was like, because after its equilibrium was shattered by a simple act of harvest, it is pretty clear that some of it washed up here, on the shore of the Delaware Bay."

Mr. Dunne, a resident, with his wife, of the charming Cumberland county town of Mauricetown, vice president of the the New Jersey Audubon Society and director of the Cape May Bird Observatory loves the bay coast of NJ and has written a book that makes that very clear. It is also a book that will share that beauty with the reader.

Part history, part geology, part natural science book and 100% love story with the land and hardy people that make this area their home, Bayshore Summer is a delightful book. How can I not love a look that takes us several time to his local Wawa convenience store, a store I know quite well, and explains where the name Wawa comes from? How can I not love a book that tells us, time and time again, about the amazing array of incredible insects that populate this area?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Carroll VINE VOICE on July 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Pete Dunne's BAYSHORE SUMMER is a fine look at the Garden State's little known natural world. It so much more than The Sopranos or (shudder) MTV's Jerset Shore. Dunne's examination of NJ's Southernmost bay area is just what you want from a nature book:

Humor- "Wawa is Lenape for 7-11."
After a chapter spent on NJ's amazing variety of biting insects-"Here we laugh at mosquitoes. But in case your interested, there are plenty."

Poetic introspection: "Do you remember the serene confidence watching the dawn come up confers on a person?"

Wonderful descriptions: "There is no green like salt marsh green. It is deep and rich and pure; untainted by blue, untinged by yellow. Just pure primary green.( Note: OK, Green is a secondary color, but I like the image.) Green enough to make the Emerald Isles want to trade up."

And informative: The life of a bayshore fisherman, the constant battle between poachers and game wardens, the struggle of wildlife to just survive amidst man's "improvements" are all components that Dunne handles eloquently.

Why not 5 stars? Just a few quibbles- There's a bit too much local info, with Wawa being mentioned so often it's like product placement and two trips with crabbers was one too many. The chapters on "light pollution" and summing up all the dangers the bay faces are a bit too preachy and end the book with a definite lack of enthusiasm that deflates it a bit. There is so much joy present throughout the rest of the work that while I appreciate the message it seemed out of sync with what came before.

If you like to read well-written and thoughtful nature books, I wouldn't pass this by.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Darwin's Bulldog VINE VOICE on June 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Pete Dunne, and his previous books, will be well known to birders, and is the director of the Cape May Bird Observatory. The book represents a year-long project on the lesser known Bayshore (as opposed to the Seashore) of South Jersey. Millions of people visit the seashore while driving through or near this unknown coutry. The book would have us believe that he 'discovered' this Eden through this project, but of course he was likely well aware of the natural uniqueness of this area. Overlooking this literary device, the book is filled with vignettes of his experiences and adventures in Cumberland County, NJ, which any birder or naturalist will love. If you use Google Earth to follow each chapter's location and adventure, you will be well rewarded.

There is a bigger picture though; the problems with conservation of archetypal natural areas, the depletion of species, the loss of industry and livelihood are not unique to this part of the world. The 'real' story in this book is that these problems are found almost anywhere. It takes only a small effort to pursure local lore, history and culture. It may be easier to find local habitats that are threatened. Near my home there are inland pine barrens, tidal fresh water marshes, and ridge top dwarf pine barrens in need of protection. This book reminds us that with only small effort, we can all find a personal Eden.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Newman VINE VOICE on August 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is far more reflective than I expected. I've read a lot of Pete Dunne's books and his anecdotes and clear, engaging writing style make them great reads . And while this book has the same writing qualities, it has a bittersweet nostalgia and a rather serious theme through a series of otherwise buoyant encounters and stories.

Where I expected this book to be a straight forward natural history of the Delaware Bay, it reads like a memoir of a maturing naturalist marking the changes of his birthplace. He celebrates the beauty and wildness of this surprising Eden in the shadow of a sixty million people, but he can't help noting that this is a changing paradise. And like many maturing naturalists he understands that this Eden is not untouched wildernesses, but a balance that man has been a part of for generations.

But now, this bayshore balance of man and nature is dying by degrees, and Dunne documents this death through shorebirds and farmers and poachers and fishermen and star light. All of which are suffering the human pressures of our most densely populated state. He explores the sliding baseline where we are generationally losing our touch with what was or could be. He explores dozens of viewpoints and facets like charter fishing where a single legal sized fluke now marks a good day, where once it would have been bushel baskets of weakfish. He also marks where a waterman now flirts with profitability, hoping his take of crab and fin fish outweighs the cost of taking his boat out of the harbor.

While this all sounds like a downer, Dunne sweetens it all with his joy of nature. Where weakfish disappear from the bay, osprey return. Where once there were tens of thousands of knots, there is still the beauty of hundreds.
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More About the Author

PETE DUNNE is the author of many books, including Pete Dunne's Essential Field Guide Companion, Pete Dunne on Bird Watching, and most recently Prairie Spring, the first in a four-book series on the seasons. He is the vice president of the New Jersey Audubon Society and director of its Cape May Bird Observatory.

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Bayshore Summer: Finding Eden in a Most Unlikely Place
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