Snapshot: Christmas Tree at Surfer’s End

For several years, this tree has popped up on Second Beach in Middletown for locals and visitors to enjoy.

Middletown cuts a Californian picture on this tepid Christmas Eve’s eve, where families stroll into the wind and a dozen surfers catch full moon waves. Some are here to snap last-minute holiday pictures in front of the mysterious Second Beach Christmas tree, a Surfer’s End tradition for several years. Nobody knows who puts it up, usually around Thanksgiving, but many locals contribute ornaments, from a quahog shell on rope to a Vermont cow to a piece of wood inscribed with the social media hashtag “#beachtree.”


Photography by Jason Evans.

On this afternoon, several groups rotate in for their own Instagram-able moments. But the generous midday sun has other plans: It pours across the sea and lands directly on the evergreen, casting shadows on what would be picture-perfect captures. Some beachgoers take their DSLRs, iPhones and well-groomed dogs and scoot; others ease into the sand and succumb to the dazzling intangibles: 41 degrees, warm sun, gleeful surfers on joy rides, a moment of yuletide peace. Who would’ve thought a Christmas tree could bestow such gifts?