20 Sep 2014--Here in Ocean View, NJ, about 20 miles south of Atlantic City and 20 miles north of Cape May, the southern-most point of New Jersey. Spent the past week visiting a few of the vacation communities...for those of you who watched 'Jersey Shore' as I did, much to my chagrin, there was no sign of Snookie...haha.
We started the week at Sea Isle, the closest town to us. It was very pretty, a typical beach-front community for tourists and summer vacationers. The only things that stood out about it were that, like a lot of beaches in NJ, you actually have to pay to go on the beach here. That is in addition to paying for parking! So you need a "beach tag" for every person over the age of 12, and they check for the tag as you enter fenced-off lanes that lead to the actual beach. Here everyone over 12 had to pay $5 a day for a tag, but each community charges what it wants, and it is not transferable to a different beach...even if you buy a season tag. Seems to me like that could get pretty expensive over the course of a summer.
The other surprising thing was how fresh, and even new, everything looked in the town. We were told that this whole community was pretty wiped out by Hurricane Sandy 2+ years ago, so everything was indeed new, or at least newly sided and/or painted. (Actually every town we went to looked brand new, with the exception of Atlantic City, which comes later in this blog.)
Lots of stores to shop at while walking the promenade that runs parallel to the beach. Here are just a couple things that caught my eye. The 1/2 OFF sign cracked me up...notice the last line where the store owner felt compelled to tell his/her customers how to do the math...hahahahaha...you just know that is for the under-30 crowd!!!! hahaha
On to Cape May another day, but today we took our bikes with us. Cape May claims to be the oldest beach resort in the nation, which I don't know if that is true or not, but it was pretty riding around.
This lighthouse is still in use, unlike the WWII bunker on the beach beside it. The most interesting thing to me about the bunker was that as recently as 1942 it was 900 ft from the water's edge. Look how close it is now.
We were told that for the most part, the further south you go, the more beach there is, and the opposite is true as you go north. The sand is being moved by the currents, and altering the shorelines quite visibly. This 1st picture shows where the coastline was in 1842, and then how it is being lost to the sea over the decades. (I have another picture later, in another town, that shows the opposite effect.)
The beaches and homes here are beautiful, especially along the shoreline, again with most of them newly built or refurbished.
We biked over to the shopping area, an area where several streets have been blocked off to traffic. Not so surprisingly, on this prime property sits a church, in this case a Catholic church built in 1911, called Our Lady Star of the Sea.
I love the shops with the signs for sale like these ones. I'm not sure which of these I think is the funniest...all of them cracked me up. (Maybe the 3rd one? haha)
Our last stop of the day was to another beach area, where the remains of the SS Atlantus are still on display...where it sunk back in the 1920s! It was one of 12 experimental "concrete" ships that turned out not to be very practical. haha
So one town can seem just like the next, but Wildwoods has a boardwalk with an amusement park on the pier...I really thought this could be the place to see Snookie...but, alas, no! In the last pic of this grouping I am carrying our "Polish Ice Water" that we decided to try. It is basically a creamy-like Icee...ok, but nothing to write home about. We had never heard about them, but they are sold throughout the New Jersey beach areas. In some places they are called "Philly Ice Water"...Cathy got a little deep on me here, saying "Jersey doesn't seem to have an identity of its own". Maybe you had to be there, but it was said in all seriousness, and really funny!!!
These 1st 2 pics are a good example of the shifting shorelines. The sands of this northern beach are being picked up over time and shifting to the southern beaches, making a big difference over the decades.
And then, unfortunately, we went to Atlantic City. Not to get on a downer here, but this place is an old Communist's poster boy for the greed of capitalism run amok! In order to get to the casinos and boardwalk you obviously have to drive through the city, so I thought I would take a couple pics just to show you what we were seeing. These 'homes' are literally in the backyard of the casinos, but the whole town looked like these. Having the resorts directly behind such abject poverty is jarring when you see it. And on the other side of those huge buildings is the boardwalk and then the beaches...to be honest I felt embarrassed to be there, never mind a little nervous. (Cathy said 'roll up your windows and lock your doors' as we searched for parking.)
So here is the boardwalk and the beach directly on the other side of those tall buildings in the 1st pics. What jumped out at me here was that almost everyone on this side of the buildings was white, while almost everyone on the other side was black.
Except, course, the black people pushing the white people in the wicker basket carts. In light of what we had already seen, I was so uncomfortable you couldn't have paid me to get in one of those carts!
Of course that is me giggling in the 3rd pic as I am crowned! haha
Cathy felt the crown fit her better!
The Trump Plaza closed 2 days before our visit, the 4th casino to close here, collectively putting 8000 people out of work. The Trump Taj Mahal, still open, is in negotiations with the unions for a new contract as we speak.
A lady passing out instructions to some of those workers on how to get food stamps, unemployment, and Obamacare told us the following:
Donald Trump only owns 9% of the Trump Taj Mahal. The rest of it is owned by hedge fund managers and Carl Icahn, a big mover and shaker in the debt world. They are negotiating with the unions on a new contract that was supposed to be signed already, but they are insisting that the unions give up their pension and healthcare benefits, claiming they are too expensive. They say if they don't give up those benefits, the Taj Mahal will close also!!! In the only town in America that has Section 8 beach front property, I'D STARVE FIRST!!!! hahaha
So we happily put Atlantic City in our rear view mirror, but stopped along the way in another town to see Lucy, the world's largest elephant! Lucy was built sometime in the late 1881 by an entrepreneur trying to sell real estate and attract tourist. She is made of 1 million pieces of wood and stands 65 feet high, 60 ft long and 18 ft wide. He used to take his customers inside and up to the basket on her back so they could survey the different parcels of land he had for sale. She is on the website "Roadside America", which is a website for odd things along the side of the road in the country! haha
And we also saw these doors by the side of the road in another town...they are not on the website, but should be! haha Beside a church and graveyard, I think it must have been a school kids project. Cute! Love the door where it says, " Do On To Others" instead of "Unto", you know that was done by a kid. haha
On to Virginia tomorrow...hoping to see just the pretty side of life! haha