Under the boardwalk….BOARDWALK!

Yesterday I started out on a little journey down the sand-covered lanes of my Shore house memories. I touched very briefly on our time down at the water, skimming only the surface of the salty goodness that is Strathmere. I tried to paint a picture of our time there, when, in reality, after re-reading what I had written, words didn’t seem to do much justice for our life there. I left off describing the staple of the Jersey Shore: The Boardwalk.

 It would be sacrilege to take a trip to the shore without setting foot on those wooden beamed streets, without indulging your senses in a buffet of sights, sounds and smells. The boardwalk, however cheesy and touristy it may be, will always be near and dear to my heart. One of the mainstays for our family on the boardwalk is Shrivers.

Shrivers is a candy store that specializes in fudge and saltwater taffy. Every trip we make to the shore we always stock up on these treats, doling them out to family members/teachers/friends upon our arrival at home. Walking into Shrivers is like walking into a candy covered Mecca. Now, my love for all things sweet is not outstanding. I mean, offer me a chocolate bar, and I can easily say, “no thanks”. However, when standing in the shop, hands plastered to the glass case of goodies, my heart beat picks up slightly, as if gearing up for the sugar-rushed coma I’m about to bestow upon it. I cannot help but salivate over the white chocolate macadamia nuts, the coconut covered macaroons, the double chocolate peanut butter fudge squares. Each treat offers itself up to me, emitting a signal only MY brain can pick up, “CHOOSE ME. TAKE ME HOME”. I think to myself, “I can’t let them down, I MUST respond!” And into the bag they go.

While Shrivers may be the FIRST stop on our boardwalk meandering, it isn’t the only one of importance. Every time we set foot on those planks, no matter what time it is, my mom’s internal GPS begins to drive her to the Kohrs Bros. Ice Cream shop. There is a chocolate dipped vanilla cone waiting for her there, ready to tag along as she strolls down the remaining lengths of the boardwalk. In the form of true loyalty, that cone is joined by some more of its jimmy-covered, chocolate coated friends. And we all slurped happily ever after….. oh, and if you are wondering what a jimmy is, that’s the term we northeasters like to give to what most people call sprinkles. Yes, weird, but true.

Another staple on the boardwalk is Mack and Manco’s Pizza. Now, we don’t hit this place up anymore, due to the fact that we are all more aware of the two words I like to call “trans fats”. The greasy, salty, yummy-ness of Mack and Manco’s doesn’t slide down as easy as it used to. Oh well….it’s always nice to walk by and catch a waft of whatever they have cooking away in the pizza oven.

After we’ve satisfied our taste buds, our sights are set on the fabulous, kitschy, tourist-trap shops that line the boardwalk, beckoning curious shoppers with bright lights and loud music. Racks of clothing and jewelry spill out from the fronts, reaching out like arms ready to pull in their next shopping victim. You can’t help but walk in to each one, only to hope that this NEXT store will have the Ocean City Lifeguard sweatshirt in bright red that you’ve had your sights set on since you set foot on the boardwalk that night. Of course it does, along with one in every other color under the sun. You can also find aisles and aisles of FBI t-shirts (and we’re NOT talking about the govt. agency), The Jersey Shore is for Lovers bumper stickers, and countless mugs with sayings that would make your grandmother blush. If you’re looking for high quality attire here, you might want to turn your sunburned behind around and head AWAY from the coast. The only goods you’ll find at the shore are the ones that five years later you’ll place in the goodwill bin at the local grocery store. Nonetheless, shopping is always a must, if not for the quality of the merchandise, then for the pure enjoyment of guido-fying yourself while you’re on vacation.

No matter what your purpose is for coming to the boardwalk, be it the food, the shopping, or the rides, you are guaranteed to leave with a better understanding of the culture that comprises the shore. Yes, it might be tacky, and yes, it might be loud and in your face at times, but the shore will always be full of memories, making it a place that I cherish dearly. I hope to bring my kids back there one day. I want to let them pick out matching Ocean City Lifeguard sweatshirts, I want to buy them salt water taffy and coconut macarooms, I want to take them on the Ferris wheel and buy them seashell necklaces.

 The shore rocks. (Jersey Shore fist pumping ensues)

hearts and hugs,

B.

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