Jerseygator's Blog


Jersey Shore

Posted in Friends,New Jersey by jerseygator on September 13, 2010

This week is my first real experience of going “down the shore” in New Jersey.  I had visited the shore after moving here from Florida and was not very impressed; the place we went to had an extremely small, extremely crowded beach area (which we had to buy a token to enter!) and a lot of cheap shops and fried food vendors.  This is what everyone up here seems to live for come summer?  No thanks.

My friend Sharon and her daughter Courtlyn invited me and my daughter to spend a few days at the shore for “not-back-to-school” week.

The advantage of off season... a beach to yourself

The hoteliers aren’t dummies and homeschoolers are a nice target demographic for September before everything closes down for the winter. (Yeah, I had to learn about “closed for the season” when I moved up here, too.  Go figure.)  Seemed like a nice opportunity to see what everyone kept going on about.

We’re staying at a little hotel on the beach in North Wildwood, NJ.  The community looks like any beach community I’ve ever been in, albeit with fewer year round residents (N. Wildwood has a permanent population of about 5000).  I had a moment of place-confusion this morning thinking I was in Florida at Indian Rocks or Maderia Beach.  The beach here in N. Wildwood is wide and (thanks to the off-season) empty.  The waves and dunes are a restful backdrop to long walks and sitting in a lounge chair and reading.  Beach experience intact.

What is different is the boardwalk.  You enter under an arch that reads “Enter here to join the happiest people in the world.”

..."the happiest people in the world."

The boardwalk is wide and bordered on both sides by shops selling, yes, cheap trinkets and fried foods.  However, it’s a fun walk, sort of like being at a fair.  I’m starting to see the appeal!  Sharon and I walked the boardwalk for an hour this morning while the girls were still sleeping, staking out where we’d have breakfast and the best deals on end-of-season closeouts.  We found the bike shops where we’ll rent some tandem bikes tomorrow, and the salt water taffy store with the pleasant Macedonian woman who treated us to samples of fudge while we looked over the taffy flavors.

I had been warned to watch out for “Snookie,” and other Jersey cliches, but what I’ve found is what I’ve found everywhere I’ve traveled; Nice, decent people.  From Paris, France to Dillon, SC, NYC to the Jersey Shore, people are overwhelmingly pleasant and helpful.  Travel does open your mind and heart.  It teaches you not to be afraid of people who are different than you, but to open yourself up to new experiences and viewpoints, while having a good time.

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