Tag Archives: Donovan’s Reef

Retro Icon’s Summer Spirit

Sea Bright icon Dizzy Dave parties on in his haunt
Photo/Facebook photo of Joanne DiStefano Garelli

A reprise in honor of the Sea Bright icon known as Dizzy Dave on his 70th birthday … There’s a birthday fundraiser going on for Dizzy Dave with a goal set for $4,000 to help him out. So far, $1,175 has been raised. Click here to contribute to making Dave’s 70th monumental. “Dave turns 70 on July 5th and it would be really nice for him to feel the love of all the people who know him in our wonderful town that takes care of its own,” said David Van Vliet, the organizer.

Nothing says local and summer quite like a glimpse into the past of a Sea Bright icon in his local beach element, albeit a likely polar bear plunge scenario here.

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Retro RFH Rite of Passage: Close Donovan’s Encounters

Close encounters at an iconic RFH alum hang-out may be a thing of the past these days, but old memories of Donovan’s Reef times die hard. So do close RFH classmate relationships.

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Iconic Spot: Beaching it at Donovan’s on Memorial Day Weekend

No sooner did NJ Gov. Phil Murphy sanction opening beaches for Memorial Day weekend than management at the iconic Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright announced that only those with season badges would be permitted on the beach at their back door.

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Looking Back: Donovan’s Sandy Demise

By Elaine Van Develde

Seven years ago it began. And when Superstorm Sandy stopped its swirling on the sliver of peninsula that is Sea Bright, it plopped the iconic Donovan’s Reef down in bits and pieces.

People of the Rumson-Fair Haven area mourned the loss to a relentless, remorseless Sandy. And when they were allowed to travel over the bridge into Sea Bright, many diehard loyalists of the tiki hut by the sea could be found just sitting and staring at what once was. They walked the sea wall looking for souvenir scraps reminiscent of their glory days at Donovan’s. They talked. They even cried.

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Memorial Set for Longtime Fair Havenite Larry Curchin, 59

Longtime Fair Havenite Larry Curchin’s loved ones summed up the sentiment of his passing on April 10 by ending his obituary with a thought to remember him by: “When you see a motorcycle go by one day, with the rider loving every minute of it, you will still know that Larry’s wonderful, passionate spirit lives on.”

Continue reading Memorial Set for Longtime Fair Havenite Larry Curchin, 59

Saying Goodbye to Rumson Jersey Girl Kit Rowett White

“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.”  ~ L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

A lot of heart is what the Rumson girl everyone knew as Kit Rowett had. A lot of people loved her — some who even only knew her for a moment. I guess you could say that this impish-grinned, twinkly-eyed Wizard gave her heart to the Tin Man.

And, boy, did he cry. He smiled a lot, too. This Tin Man, embodied as  the many loved ones who had a piece of Kit’s heart, smiled a wide, collective, rust-proof smile on Saturday as a celebratory goodbye was bid to the Jersey girl loved and lost on Sept. 19 after a valiant battle with cancer.

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Scene Around: Donovan’s Opening Day Icon Sighting

Photo/Grace Cangemi Ryan

What would a Donovan’s Reef reopening be without a spotting of its unofficial, or official, mascot — the iconic guy about town everyone knows as Dizzy Dave?

Well, lots of area folks were there for Sunday’s (delayed from Saturday) grand reopening. And, while it was pretty packed and running into Dave was tantamount to playing a giant game of Where’s Waldo, one devout Donovan’s fan, Gerry Ryan, found him and struck the classic pose.

Ryan’s wife, former Red Bank Councilwoman Grace Cangemi Ryan, grabbed the photo op and shared it with Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect.

Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl told us he was there as well, but, no roving photographers seemed to capture him, either. He said he did not see Dizzy. “It’s surprising that I didn’t,” Ekdahl said on Memorial Day. “He’s pretty hard to miss!”

The new place got a thumbs up from the mayor. The Ryans and all other locals and fans we spoke with gave the new Donovan’s rave reviews.

Now, where’s Dizzy Dave?


Retro Donovan’s Devastation, Memories

It was like a scene out of The Wizard of Oz, with a wicked witch of a storm dropping a house on the spirits of Rumson-Fair Haven area locals. It was the scene of what many might call the Superstorm Sandy crime that devastated the Sea Bright peninsula and wiped out a decades-long iconic spot — Donovan’s Reef.

When the coast was literally clear of the storm’s wrath, locals flocked to the site to see what Sandy had spit out and left behind. They cried, reminisced, meditated on the jetty and gathered tiny scraps of memories made at the longtime RFHers’ hang-out.

The Retro Pic(s) of the Day take us back to Donovan’s in the aftermath of Sandy.

Laying on the ground were decades worth of remnants from a hut by the sea where many milestone memories were made. On the cusp  of the iconic spot’s reopening, people wonder if the new and expanded hut by the sea will be a place to DO it again? Time will tell. Locals are poised for the fresh start. But, they always seem to look back on the good ol Donovan’s days.

What is your favorite Donovan’s memory from years gone by?

— Elaine Van Develde

— Photos/Elaine Van Develde

Resurrection: Donovan’s Debut

It’s day that many Rumson-Fair Haven area locals have been anticipating since the ravaging dawn of 2012’s Superstorm Sandy — the reopening of the devastated iconic Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright.

After many fits and starts, that day, save for any unforeseen issues, now appears to be set. It’s Saturday, a Twitter post confirmed, though with a praying hands emoji.

“4+ years ago we were washed away ? thanks Sandy,” a post on the Donovan’s Facebook page says. “NOW, there is light at the end of the tunnel. You can sit at the inside bar & take in this amazing view! Can’t wait to see you! Hope for no delays and we open MDW!”

Take a look at the progression since Sandy in the below photos …

— Photos/Elaine Van Develde

Focus: The Donovan’s Rebuild

When it comes to the rebuilding (and expansion) of the iconic Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright, things are looking up … and out.

It will be five years ago this October that the mainstay locals’ summer hangout and RFH reunion spot was tossed and flattened to bits by Superstorm Sandy.

So its rebuild has been a particularly long-awaited one by townies and Rumson-Fair Haven area folks.

The plan is for the new, improved and indestructible Donovan’s to be open for business by the start of the summer season.

Much progress has been made to date.

Take a look and see for yourself …

— Elaine Van Develde

Retro Post-Sandy Donovan’s

There’s a lot of buzz about the long-awaited rebuild of Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright after it’s untimely, untamed demise due to Superstorm Sandy’s merciless wrath in October of 2012.

Well, Donovan’s will be getting back in step with its summer traditions in a literally grande way.

So, the Retro Pic(s) of the Day offer a glimpse back to a winter about four years ago when Donovan’s was in bits and people came to mourn what was or was not left of the iconic hangout on the beach.

Take a look back and remember …

— Elaine Van Develde

Donovan’s Reef after Sandy
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

Sightseers looking at what’s left and mourning the loss of Donovan’s Reef after Sandy
Photo/Elaine Van Develde