By Casey Feldman,
Temperature breaks 90, but the water’s still a little cold.
First, one must endure the fight through molasses-slow, bumper-to-bumper traffic. Once one finally reaches his or her shore respite, the sights and sounds of summers past repeat themselves with soothing familiarity: the whir of banner planes on the beach, dragging along advertisements for Coors Light or Heineken, breaking through the rush of the ocean and the cacophony of seagulls. Sticky popsicle fingers, courtesy of the Fudgy Wudgy man. Sand castle masterpieces lost to the irrepressible incoming tide. The sluggish trudge back to the house at the end of a long beach day: lobster-red, sunburnt skin, the clank of chairs, coolers, umbrellas, beach bags, buckets, shovels, towels, and the moans and groans of those (usually Mom and Dad), who are forced to lug it all.
The Jersey Shore is an indisputably popular summer vacation spot for Delaware County residents who frequent it from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Among the many who fought the three hours-plus traffic on Friday, May 25, were the D’Olios of Springfield. The D’Olios have been coming to their home on 57th Street and Central Avenue in Sea Isle City for years, according to Michael D’Olio.
The D’Olios planned to dine at one of their favorite restaurants in Sea Isle, the Lobster Loft, in addition to “relaxing,” and fishing, said Michael. However, the fishing has been disappointing: “No bites,” he said. “The water is too cold.” The fish weren’t the only ones scared off by the cold water: with temperatures in the 50s, all but the bravest swimmers and surfers remained on the beach.
Kitty D’Olio claimed that this Memorial Day weekend was “more crowded than usual” as evidenced by the never-ending traffic and the crowded beach. She attributed this to the hot, sunny, beach-perfect weather-high temperatures ranged from 88 to 91 degrees for the weekend.
“This was the best Memorial Day anyone can remember!” agreed Bill Buchanan of Remax Beach Home Realty. Buchanan said that he doesn’t believe increased gas prices will lessen shore traffic this summer. “It’s a short enough ride to Sea Isle, Ocean City, Avalon…that high [gas prices] won’t keep people away,” he said.
Buchanan also said that the price of rentals is about the same, claiming that figures have “held steady.”
“In Wildwood, some prices may be higher there because of all the changes in the town…it has upgraded more from weekend-warrior to a weekly-rental type town,” Buchanan stated. Overall, he said, he expects this summer to be a “good one” at the Jersey Shore.
Whether the prices are up or down, it seems as though many loyal Jersey shore-goers will come to the beach no matter what the economic conditions.
“Nothing will keep us from the beach!” said Nicole McKenney, of Media. Kelly McKenney said she comes to 62nd Street and Pleasure Ave. in Sea Isle City for “the relaxed atmosphere” and to “be with the family. Sea Isle’s the best!” she proclaimed.
If this past hot, sunny, and busy weekend is any indication, “business will be good this summer if the weather cooperates,” said Buchanan. Water quality has been consistently good, and is expected to remain so this summer.
Beach tourists may not be as predictable as the ceaseless ocean in which they swim, but one thing is certain: the Jersey Shore has an allure that will draw visitors no matter what stands in their way, be it gas prices or storm predictions. Said Dianne Anderson, of Springfield: “The shore is special. There is just something about it. Summer isn’t really summer until you’re on the beach.”