JERSEY GIRL(S) & THE JERSEY SHORE
Contrary to what people believe or what some die hard "New York haters" may think about NJ, you can't deny the beauty of that particular part of the country and all the picturesque sites it has to offer-- Green pasturers, lakes, mountains, wildlife, history, but most importantly... sparkles, hairspray and a TON of sass.
Growing up in New Jersey, I just couldn't WAIT until the weather would change and the summer would reveal it's GORGEOUS sweaty self once again! Every summer, since I was about 2 years old or so, my parents and I would vacation down the shore, specifically Ocean City and Wildwood Crest.
For those who may not be familiar with the Jersey Shore, Ocean City is located in Cape May County and is one of the most family friendly beach areas known within the state. Wildwood, further south on the parkway but still within the same county, is known as a resort city on the Jersey Coast.
It just so happens that my Mom and Dad would visit both areas even before I was born and part of the picture. Prettyyyyyy cool! THEIR parents introduced the shore to them as children, and THEY in return then introduced the shore to me. Once the three of us started vacationing together, I remember staying at the Marriott resort in Ocean City, at that time known as the Residence Inn, and I have very vivid memories of my mom, dad and often grandmother visiting and renting out the duplex condo/hotel room for a week or more at a time.
Back then, Marriott's, specifically the Residence Inn, were known for hosting evening activities such as happy hours, movie nights, bbq/sandwich/soup nights etc for all the quests to enjoy. I remember standing in line for the free food, OBVI, around 5 or 6pm and bringing the food back to our room for lunch the next day! :) Most of the times it would be my dad and I checking out the lobby for the snacks and free soda, stuffing our pockets and bags, and bringing it up to our room so my mom and grandma had more time to get ready to head out for the night!
It's so funny to think back on your childhood and see which memories stick with you for life ya no? A detail that is so small, can be extremely memorable.
My parents and I always loved exploring the entire shore area, rather than just staying in one town or city the whole time. Most of our nighttime activities took place in Atlantic City, home to casinos, lavish Buffetts, entertainment and so much more! Visiting AC and getting tickets to a live theater show or comedy experience was and still is a big part of the reason for my love and passion for the arts. I just thought the shows were so magical and I dreamt of the day I would be on stage like the actors and actresses we saw! Some of the shows I can remember seeing were: Footloose, Annie Get Your Gun, a TON of magic shows, and of course those legendary Impersonation shows like "Legends in Concert".
SO... FUNNY LITTLE THOWBACK DITTY...
My parents and I attended an Elvis Impersonation show once in AC. The entertainer's name was Jamie and he was SOOOO cute. In case you are wondering, he was obviously impersonating the younger, hot version of Elvis... Not the fat older version....
I remember having really great seats, probably the 3rd row or so from the stage. During one part of the show Elvis [Jamie] looked me in the eye, and handed me a red rose. The crowd cheered and my 17 (I think) year old self was completely embarrassed, but like I said, he WAS super cute, so of course I was flattered and crushing hard on Elvis.... Jamie.
So.... After the show was over, my parents, and still to this day it shocks me that they did this, having me say hiiiiiiiii and introduce myself to Jamie!!!.... BUT, WELL.... I did it... I said hi and let me tell you-- you can NOT imagine what happened next. ----
ELVIS [Jamie] asked in FRONT OF MY PARENTS, if we could hang out that night in the casino. MY PARENTS SAID YES. I was completely flabbergasted. I mean, I was about to hang out with a legend. A L E G E N D IN CONCERT people!!!!. Okay so continuing on... As far as my adolescent brain can remember, my dad went up to the hotel room, to watch TV, I think we were staying in AC for the night, and my mom waited downstairs in one of the casino lounges. Jamie then took me upstairs to his hotel room, I KNOW I KNOW OBVIOUSLYyyyyy how that sounds, DUH, but he ONLY showed me his room for a hot sec, and thennnnn he took me to an empty convention ballroom, kissed me and s e r e n a d e d me ELVIS SONGS on the friggen piano.
Like- hello????! What a way to end a night!
Theater wasn't just a love of mine, it was something my parents used to enjoy as well and something I will always remember and cherish doing with them.
I was extremely fortunate growing up having been so cultured when it came to live theater, and the benefits it can have and bring to a person's life. Music, art, performances--- they can really bring communities together, and that's what I've always admired about the industry and the "idea" of performing.
NOW THAT YOU KNOW MY ELVIS STORY... TIME TO GET BACK TO THE JERSEY SHORE EXPERIENCE.
...as an only child, my parents and I started bringing a friend or two down the shore with us, so I had someone my age to keep me company. Not having a close, close friend growing up, and as someone that floated around between different friendship groups I didn't have just one particular close friend. Thus the reasoning for inviting different people throughout the years.-- I.E: Friends from my past theater groups, my childhood best friend from HS, my college besties, my younger cousins AND older cousins, a past castmate from American Idiot, and most recently, THIS summer, my roomie/best friend Aurieeeeeeeeeeeee! (Who was ALSO a cast-mate of mine from American Idiot)
Around the age of 13 or 14 was when my parents and I discovered this condominium complex at the very tip of Wildwood Crest, Seapointe Village. THAT'S where my parents have been vacationing ever since, and were Aurie and I just were a few weeks back.
NOW READERS, if I haven't bored you with my past Jersey shore stories just yetttttt, now comes the part where I tell you my TOP 6 FAVORITE THINGS TO DO DOWN THE SHORE.
TOP 6 FAVORITE THINGS TO DO
1). STAYING AT SEAPOINTE VILLAGE. This place is the perfect resort to visit and vacation as it has a lot of great amenities to enjoy. Those amenities include: 4 pools, 3 fire Pits, stainless steel grills throughout the property to rent and use, steam room & sauna, arcade room, gym, 3 giant outdoor jacuzzis, basketball and tennis court, a two story outdoor sun bathing deck, a private entrance and private resort only section of the beach, a beach hut that serves food til the evening hours, umbrella rentals, beach workout activities and more! Whether you prefer renting a condo, apartment, or private home, prices begin at a relatively cheap rate and there is something to rent and enjoy for everyone!
2) THE LOBSTER HOUSE on Fisherman's Wharf- Located 3.8 miles from Seapointe Village, a 9 minute car ride or 19 minute bike ride, this restaurant is OUTSTANDING. Even If you aren't staying in the cape may county, it is still a delicious meal that you MUST experience. With waterfront dinning, large indoor dinning room, a raw bar, and an outdoor boat with a full service bar, this little getaway dock experience is unlike any other. Not to mention, The Lobster house is open daily, is rated one of the top BEST seafood restaurants down the shore, and this 2022 they will be celebrating its 100th year anniversary!
3) THE WILDWOOD BOARDWALK... DUH! If you have yet to visit the famous wildwood boardwalk, you are surely missing a piece of NJ history. I actually didn't know this until I looked it up, but the boardwalk spans 38 blocks- that's 2 miles in length! It also includes a waterpark, countless food vendors, indoor and outdoor boardwalk games, Morey's Pier which hosts all the big rollercoasters [my personal favorite spot ], and of course the famous Douglass Fudge and Kohr Brother's Custard Shops. PS, If you are a fudge lover, their chocolate marshmallow fudge is to DIE for.
4) CAPE MAY'S HISTORIC DISTRICT. Do you love colorful Victorian homes? Bed and
breakfasts'? Nighttime Haunted Ghost Tours? Antique shopping? Gifts & Souvenirs? A cluster of delicious seafood restaurants?..... Well if you answered yes to any of the above, or ALL of the above, then this place is OBVIOUSLY for you. Whether visiting with family, on a cute date, or having a girls only Prosecco drinking weekend talking about how you don't need a man in your life to be happy, Downtown Cape May has ALL the charm you could ever want.
5) DUFFER'S... the perfect breakfast spot for the entire family. What breakfast joint has a Mini Golf spot, an old fashioned homemade Ice Cream Parlor, an indoor arcade room, gift shop, pancakes, AND an old fashioned train that spans the whole ceiling of the restaurant??... Do you give up?? IT"S DUFFER'S! My family and I have been visiting Duffer's for years now and every time we go back it'sJAM PACKED as ever but the food and the ambiance is truly one of a kind. A little secret, this little ditty of a restaurant is actually part of the reason why I wanted to re-decorate and turn my Astoria Kitchen into a 1950's diner! ---- pics to come when it's completely done!
6) Last but not least, WILLOW CREEK WINERY & FARM. If you love exploring and are looking for something to do during the day, check out this beautiful and picturesque winery. Grab some food and make a reservation for brunch OR lunch on their outdoor patio, and then spend the rest of the day walking the grounds, tasting wine and touring the winery. I mean what could be better than that?? FUN FACT.. this winery has over 50 acres of land!!
PICTURES FROM THIS PAST VACATION, BELOW... Pictured below; Mom [Michelle Tobias], Dad [Andrew Tobias], Aurie Ceylon of AurieSays, and My Uncle Robert [Robert Galante].
WELL READER'S, I feel like now is the time I MUST leave you. I dropped so much Jersey wisdom on you, that you must be boiling with excitement and already packing up the car for your vacation.
There's so much more to explore when visiting the Cape, and just the Jersey Shore in general. Why, Aurie and I BOTH spent our teenage years vacationing in Wildwood during the summers, [we had know idea and just found this out this year] and we both had VERY different experiences.
Though vacations are supposed to be all zen and a BREAK from stressors and the real world, they can actually be pretty stressful if you are not prepared and don't know anything about the area you will be staying in. SO, make sure to do your research, read some blogs, ask some friends about THEIR experiences, and you will for sure have the time of your life. Sparkles and all.
***Until next time--- Stay safe readers and have a great rest of your summer!!!!!