Usually, we spend a week’s vacation in Ocean City, NJ, but this year we never scheduled a definite vacation, so I jumped at the chance to participate in the Jenkinson’s Boardwalk Family Ambassador program through JerseyMomsBlog. Another reason for participating is because my childhood memories of summer and the seashore reside in a very special place, namely Point Pleasant Beach. My uncle owned a house right on South Baltimore Avenue and many summer evenings were spent strolling the boards at Jenkinson’s, riding the rides, munching on pink cotton candy, and hearing the roaring ocean in the background. In a way, this simple day trip was a homecoming of sorts.
I falsely assumed the drive would take a long time. Surprisingly, after starting out at an early yet reasonable hour, we arrived in a little over an hour and found ample parking right behind the pavilion. Grabbing our beach necessities and wristbands, specifically provided for our trip, we breathed in the tangy scent of the ocean, relished the warm sand between our toes and inviting green waves splashing against the shore. Ahh…the beach! Summer yielded us a perfect beach day.
As we settled on the beach, a calm came over me. Both my husband and I settled on our blanket with books in hand while the kids each became determined to build sand castles. Then I ventured toward the shore where bright green seaweed spread in a narrow swath among a belt of pearly mussels and other shells artfully framing the water. Although the waves were somewhat rough, the water was so refreshing. Standing there, breathing in the sea spray relaxed me and felt like a balm to my soul. Minutes later, my kids, E and J, joined me, splashing gleefully in the waves and laughing. How could life get any better? We spent most of the morning alternately sunning ourselves and splashing in the water, discovering that we needed to make an effort to visit the beach more often. It was clean, quiet (even with a decent-sized crowd on the beach) and an ideal location for summer fun.
Hunger took over, so we dined at a boardwalk grill before heading toward our next destination — the Aquarium — conveniently located boards away. What a brilliant complement to the beach, introducing sea life to beachgoers, bringing everything full circle! Offering enough to interest daily visitors without detracting from precious beach time, you get the best of both worlds – leisurely sunbathing with marine biology. And my kids loved it! They genuinely exclaimed surprise and delight at the different varieties of fish they saw and pointed out fun facts. Watching a shark swim by, my son J insisted I put away my camera, so we didn’t disrupt the violent creature. Then we witnessed the seals’ feeding time which drew quite a crowd.
One of my favorite things to do when at the beach is to stroll the boards and people-watch. Since I grew up going to the Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk, I was pleasantly surprised to see familiar rides looking fresh and lively. Having been to a few other much longer boardwalks before, one thing struck me that my husband vocalized, “This is way more accessible than other boardwalks.” And it’s true! They provide restaurants, arcades, souvenir stores, carnival games, rides, an aquarium, the beach – anything that makes for a fun afternoon or evening – without exhausting you and little legs who aren’t used to such a trek.
Next, we happened upon the Fun House, centrally located among the attractions. J begged to try it out, so dad volunteered to accompany him while E and I awaited their return. By the colorful exit, we witnessed people gasping after a gust of air blew up at them. Some looked terrified; some exhilarated. When the boys left the Fun House, B’s face lit up, but J’s looked a little worried. A few twists and turns with clowns and gorillas unexpectedly popping out broke J’s bravado.
Time to change gears. What’s the perfect way to end a day at the beach? With ice cream, of course. As children, we looked forward to the time when we’d get an ice cream cone or bag of cotton candy, so I couldn’t deny my own kids the same pleasure. So we bought some and enjoyed panoramic views of the ocean and blue sky. One snafu in my day was that my overabundant ice cream cone melted all over my hand, and how could a luscious dessert be a downfall?
Don’t let your summer slip away! There’s still time to soak up the sun and delve into the surf one last time. I can hardly wait to go back!
This is an original post for JerseyMomsBlog by M.B. Sanok, who can also be found at her Blog, Maple Brown Sugar.