Summer Happiness Down The Jersey Shore
By Mary Jane Hurley Brant
Ah, summer. Double ah when it’s at the beach. Triple Happiness when it’s down the Jersey Shore. We simply cannot get enough of this southern part of New Jersey. Why not? Because summer down the shore makes us happy without even trying. Notice I wrote “down the shore” because we all know that if you’re from the Philadelphia area you never say, “I’m going to the shore” you say, “I’m going down the shore.” That’s the expression which immediately identifies who’s really cool and who isn’t.
By March, we people from Philly and the Main Line begin dreaming, planning, and counting the days until we can lie on the beach under a cherry red umbrella probably ordered from LL Bean or Frontgate. We people here begin dreaming about how much we will have to spend to rent an overpriced place that would go for a quarter of that rate anywhere else. We people here begin thinking about food, too, especially the Philadelphia hoagie - sometimes incorrectly called a grinder or a sub - but more often the “Classic Italian hoagie.”
Seriously, hoagie comparison is a sport in this area and everyone has their favorite place to get one. Oh, bring on a nice crusty sesame topped Amoroso roll, provolone cheese, capicola, salami, thinly sliced onions, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, hot peppers, virgin olive oil, and a dash of oregano, salt and pepper. Oh, Lord, kill me now, but don’t forget the potato chips and a nice cold Bud first.
Okay, the sandwich and beverage is now nicely packed in this reverie so let’s get into the Jeep or Highlander or Ford F150 Truck and get there. Over the Walt Whitman Bridge, down the Atlantic City Expressway to the Garden State Parkway we go when those first whiffs of the Jersey Bay are upon us. Oh, Nirvana is close. That’s the moment when we systematically lower our car window and pick our turnoff – Atlantic City, Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Avalon, Stone Harbor, Wildwood, or all the way to Cape May. (If we were headed to Long Beach Island it will be the dreaded Route 70 crawl.)
Oh, those delicious bay scents carry our thoughts away along with the first sighting of swooping gulls - like stringless kites – gliding on the wind. Now our bodies really begin to relax and we’re either getting closer to our house (if we’re lucky or rich enough to have one down the shore) or to finding a parking place.
Three hours later - if we’re coming down on Saturday - the dream becomes a reality and we arrive. That’s when we load up with a chair, a sack full of books and every technology invented for humankind and make that sweaty schlep to the beach! We rationalize that six blocks isn’t really that far to walk anyway. This is pure intoxication. It’s so worth it! Seriously, we begin to swoon with just the mere thought of freshly applied suntan lotion. I actually have visions of myself being that girl from Ipanema. Oh, the right lotion can make that happen. Yes, my friends, coconut smells are powerful prompters of happy summer feelings and delusions of grandeur for this Jersey girl.
And it’s not only lotion which seduces our sensibilities, now sand in our toes and ocean breezes beguile us, too. Oh, we love the sound of our flip flops clopping toward a tumbling and tantalizing surf, the same feet that will soon be running to get into the water every time the beach patrol shows up because we again didn’t buy a beach tag.
Sitting down in our chair we begin to lather on that lotion I wrote about earlier. We breathe in deeply, close our eyes and think about how many years have flown by. How many laughs, how many walks, how many wonderful memories make up a life?
I suppose a great advantage about our mind is the way it can resurrect the past and mix it all together with the present to raise our serotonin levels and our hearts to heavenly heights. I suppose this dreamy girl from Ipanema just feels grateful and happy to have another chance to join the other travelers on the way to a summer of happiness, even for a week, down at the good old Jersey Shore.
This Article was published in the SandPaper May 28, 2014
Aronimink & Greene Countrie Living Magazine June 2016
Tags: Down the shore, down the Jersey Shore, The Main Line, Philadelphia, LL Bean, hoagie, Apple, girl from Ipanema, Jersey Girl, Amoroso