Shore Memories
Looking back on summer’s good times
By Erin Bell

If you live in SJ, it’s likely you have treasured memories of the Shore – lots of them. And odds are they all involve happy times with your family and friends. Take a look at just a few of the great memories sent in by SJ readers. We know the Shore season is pretty much over, but we’ll always have our memories (and next summer!).

I loved going clamming with my mom in Brigantine when I was little, but I probably did more playing than clamming. I remember her teaching me to look for the holes in the sand during low tide (we always had to go at low tide, and she would check the paper for the times), and then you would dig! I remember hearing the commercials for the new Brigantine Castle on the radio while we drove there. I was always scared we were going to see the castle, but we never did.  –  Elizabeth Adams, Marlton

Back on a rainy Saturday morning in August 1987, a bunch of my friends and I decided to hop in the car and take a ride to Wildwood. We didn’t have a place to stay, so we figured we’d just wing it and see if we could find something. Well, we found the best place ever, called the Wyndmoor Apartments. We had the best time there. It had a nice second-floor balcony where we would hang out after we came back from the Boardwalk. It was a tradition we kept up for quite a few years.  –  Dina Maher, Cherry Hill

Judy GroveWhen we rented on Long Beach Island on summer vacations, I would always get up early and go to the beach to set up “our spot” for the day. I loved to stay and watch the lifeguards arrive and push their chairs into place. It had a feeling of routine and sameness that I welcomed and loved.  –  Judy Grove, Willingboro

I remember 39th Street in Brant Beach in the mid-’80s – we rented a house for a month. It was crowded, because the vacation included my parents and my six siblings, two of whom were married and had kids. My youngest brother came down in the middle of the week with a friend. They got there late and ended up sleeping in the car because we were all asleep and it was too late to knock on the door! Sometimes, so many friends slept over that they spilled out onto the picnic table on the front porch.  –  Peg Smith, Cinnaminson

One of my favorite moments from our vacations to Beach Haven was when I was very young. My mother was sitting in a beach chair working on a puzzle book, and my brother was quietly playing in the sand. The next thing we knew, my mom was flat on her back with her feet in the air! My brother had dug the sand out from behind her chair – it was such a funny family moment… even though Mom wasn’t too happy!  –  Laurie Sporing, Medford

When I was a kid, we would stay in Ship Bottom or Surf City with my dad’s Army buddy and his family. They had these trampolines at a place called Tumbletown in Ship Bottom – it had holes dug in the ground with trampolines stretched over them. After we got ice cream, we would get time to jump. I guess it was pretty dangerous, because I remember when they got rid of the trampolines. But they were fun.  –  Tina Fox, Beverly

Stefanie Cohenspring_09_115We always stayed at a friend’s house on LBI with four other families – 23 people, including 13 kids, in one house. And it wasn’t a big house! The kids would play tag football on the beach and go sailing. The adults would barbecue and have wine and sangria. In the evening, the kids would be in the house and the adults would be on the deck, watching the gorgeous sunsets over the bay.  –  Stefanie Cohen, Moorestown

My family and I were in Wildwood for my sister’s color guard championship, and my dad asked if we wanted to see the motel my great-grandparents used to own. The motel was called the Fran-Celia. They combined their names, Frank and Cecilia. It was the largest of the three they owned. The other two were called the Surf Haven and the Trylon. It was so cool and vintage-looking. I’m pretty sure they knocked it down to build condos though. I’m just glad I got to see it before it was destroyed.  –  Paul Damiani, Williamstown

Ridgway Grace scanned-measure015My fondest memories of the Shore were my family’s trips to Corson’s Inlet. I can still remember taking the nature trail out to the ocean. You felt as if you were in your own little world. Looking out for birds, toads and other wildlife kept us more than occupied. At the end of the walk, we were rewarded with a swim in the ocean. I look forward to carrying on the tradition and taking that very walk with my two little girls every summer.  –  Ridgway Grace, Haddonfield

The thing that comes to my mind first is eating at all my family’s favorite restaurants at the Shore – places like Voltaco’s and Piccini’s in Ocean City, and the Crab Trap in Somers Point. As a family, we also liked to play a good round of 10-cent skee-ball at Jilly’s in Ocean City and ride bikes on the Boardwalk.  –  Steve McGettigan, Ocean City

Paula Marbach_07092014_001bEvery summer, I spent the first two weeks of August at my grandparents’ Shore house with my parents and my five siblings. They had a two-bedroom Cape Cod with a ladder to the unfinished attic, which was where all the kids slept – with no air conditioning. We played outside from early morning until late evening, swimming in the bay with the jellyfish, crabbing, fishing, riding bikes and playing ball.  –  Paula Marbach, Florence

Mattmaley-babiesIt was the 4th of July and Amy and I were staying with my parents in Ocean City. I made up the story that we were going golfing that morning and had to walk to the Boardwalk to get donuts from Brown’s. I sent my Dad out earlier to place a sign I had custom-engraved on a predetermined bench. As we approached the bench on the boards, I feigned a rock in my shoe and had to sit down. I sat on the bench, made note of the sign, then popped the big question. My favorite part was she didn’t believe I was serious. I’m a jokester but getting down on one knee with a diamond ring and a sign that says, “Will you marry me?” is pretty much as serious as it gets. Anyway, she said, “Yes,” and we had donuts, coffee and a champagne breakfast waiting for us on the beach that morning. That night we celebrated in Atlantic City; where I had arranged a gigantic fireworks display specifically for us (or at least that’s what I told Amy). Three years later, we visited our bench with our two new additions to the family.  –  Matt Maley, Collingswood

We would go to Seaside Heights every year around April to play the games and win the Easter baskets – we wouldn’t leave unless we got one. I loved when my grandparents and the rest of my family would come with us – we had the best times. It was my favorite because my mom always tried her hardest for me. She was so good at the crane games.  –  Ashley Epifano, Willingboro

Ricardo Esteves IMG_20140715_0001One of the fondest memories I have is when my mother, my two siblings and I would go to the Shore for a day. The anticipation leading up to the trip was just as intense as the ride in the car with no air conditioning. As we got closer to the ocean, the smell of the air changed and we knew what was waiting for us. When we finally arrived, we could barely focus on getting our beach things. If we had our way, we would have all run to the beach and jumped into the ocean to begin our day of fun – but our mother kept us focused until we got to the spot where we put down our gear. Then, and only then, could we break loose and run like crazed kids, racing to see who could be first into the water. Sometimes the water was so cold that it almost took your breath away, but that didn’t matter.  –  Ricardo Esteves, Hammonton

October 2014
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