With the unofficial kick off to summer starting, we all know things will just not be the same down the shore this year. The one thing that can’t be changed, are all of the memories that I have there as a kid and the ones that I have created for myself every year since then…
The Jersey shore may not mean much to some people, but, I have quite a few reasons why it does mean so much to me! First off, family…
My dad grew up in Newark, spending most of his summers in Lavallette. My grandparents rented a house from a relative every year on Virginia Ave. There were cousins that lived about a block or 2 away from it (still do). My grandmother would pack food for an army just for the ride down the parkway alone! Typical Italian woman, making sure there was always food within arms reach. Here’s a handful of old family shore pics I’d like to share!
Last year, visiting family who still live in Lavallette, I thought it would be fun to go past the house my dad spent his summers in. I was hoping to see that big nautical wheel outside like in the picture above, but I didn’t. It was still nice to see the house that holds so many memories of my dads childhood. One of my favorite things to do is to try and find an exact location that I see in our families old pics. Try it! It’s really fun!
My parents met at Seaside Heights. My mom was at the pay phone on the boardwalk talking to her mother when suddenly a handsomely boozed up US Marine started talking to her. My grandma was apparently panicking on the other line, telling my mother to stay away from him!! She hung up the phone, and the rest was history. They fell in love!
That bit of history alone is just a part of why the shore means so much to me, because of how much it meant to all of them! As time went on, we continued the tradition of going down the shore every year, multiple times a year.
Anyone that knows me, knows how important it is that I keep up with family traditions. My sister and I now like to bring my nieces, nephew and even their friends too down the shore. Though we may not be able to this year, it still doesn’t change the memories we’ve already made.
Now, outside of my family reasons of why I love to be down the shore, is the food OF COURSE!!! Kohrs ice cream, cheesesteaks, dippin dots, deep fried anything and everything you can imagine, pizza, seafood… It’s endless and delicious! My favorite boardwalk food would have to be vinegar fries. There’s just something about that greasy goodness..
It’s almost impossible to take a trip to Seaside without having to grab a gigantic slice of my dads favorite boardwalk pizza from Marucas. After eating a slice, we grab 2 pies to go, this way we can freeze some at home. Having to drive 2 hours back up the parkway with the smell of pizza in the car can sometimes be torturous!!
Atlantic City actually has some of my most favorite foods. Harry’s Oyster Bar has delicious oysters and the best tuna tartare I’ve ever had!!
Speaking of AC, times certainly have changed there, and for the better. It’s not so much about the casinos anymore. There are new tiki bars, laser light shows at night, sand sculptures. I think it’s much more cleaner than what it used to be too. Will it survive throughout this pandemic?! I think eventually, hopefully!
Between my family and food, you can see why the shore means so much to me! Not only did I grow up every year going with my own family, I also joined my best friend and HER family as well! They would vacation in Wildwood for 2 weeks at a time, here and there. Wildwood was a far stretch down the parkway. Those were tough parkway days. The days before EZ pass, when traffic would hardly move. The old fashioned Jersey gridlock driving through the tolls!! I remember her parents stuffing as many blankets and pillows, bags and boxes, as they could fit into their very long station wagon. We would get nice and comfy in the back for the almost 4 hour car ride. We’d fluff our pillows, put our walkmans on and off we’d go!!
How many of us has spent prom weekends down the shore 🙋🏻♀️ There’s a boat load of memories there that I probably shouldn’t share!! But still, they were memories that can’t be changed but will always be cherished!
While the beach is not for everyone, it’s extremely therapeutic to me. One of my most favorite things to do throughout the summer is to toss a few bottles of water into a small cooler, grab my beach bag, take the top off my Jeep and head straight to Sandy Hook, all by myself! It’s the closest beach to me, so I’m not on the parkway that long. There is no boardwalk, so there aren’t really any crowds. I call this my “Tina Time”
As much as I love my solo beach time, nothing compares to the feeling I get when visiting the boardwalks. It brings back so many memories, something that can’t be taken away from me. So, it certainly saddens me to see how this pandemic has effected the boardwalks for sure! So for now, go and inhale that sea air. It’s good for the soul…