Summers on the Jersey Shore

One of my favorite memories of living in New Jersey is spending time at the beach, and on the boardwalk, in Long Branch, Asbury Park, Ocean Grove, and other places up and down the Jersey Shore.

My family lived in a two story home in West End, just three blocks away from the beach in Long Branch, NJ.  At that time there was a great boardwalk, and at the end of the boardwalk, on the pier right at the end of Broadway, a mini amusement park with a roller coaster, bounce houses, haunted house and arcade games. Across the street from the pier there was an awesome (for the eighties) water slide, and more games and amusements, restaurants, and shops.

I remember that around 1982 some enterprising folks installed a miniature golf course right along the boardwalk, just north of the pier. The theme was “safari” and they had imported ten huge royal palms from Florida to complete the picture. Everytime we would drive past we’d check to see how the palms were doing – they looked pretty gnarly at times- I don’t think they every really thrived there.

My favorite things to do at the boardwalk were play skee ball, and the game where you had to shoot a watergun into the clown’s mouth. I thought it was so cool how you could spray water into his mouth and a balloon would start to blow up over his head! The object was to fill the balloon so much that it popped, and I think that I actually accomplished this one time.

August, 2010

Besides spending days on the beach, eating peanut-butter-and-sand sandwiches – or my dad’s favorite, mustard and liverwurst (ugh!)- we would sometimes go for an italian ice over by Seven President’s Park, or over to the Beach Plum for the best ice cream cones ever.

Sadly, the pier in Long Branch is gone, victim of a fire that burned the whole thing down in 1987 … I believe it was under suspicious circumstances I think, and was promptly replaced by a huge Hilton or Sheraton hotel. Broadway and the downtown area are mere shadows of their former selves, and Ocean Ave. is dominated by strip malls. But, there are some vestiges of my childhood that are still there … such as the Windmill and the Inkwell.

I’d love to hear of some of your childhood summers on the shore too… and keep it alive at least in our memories!

Found this on YouTube:

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Jersey girl by birth, sailor by marriage, wife & mother by grace.

One Response to “Summers on the Jersey Shore”

  1. Leanne Bollinger Rice on January 7th, 2012 at 5:44 am

    Loved reading this!!! I left Long Branch in 1992 never to return , except for family visits, and do miss these times. You described many of my summer days hanging out at the Pier. I still have very vivid memories of going to the Haunted House, the Batting Cages, and playing in Wizard’s World Arcade. Life certainly changed with that fire in 1987. I remember rinsing my bike so fast to get down there because I wanted to see if the rumor of the fire was really true. What a sad day. Part of LB truly died that day and never did ever return!

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane! I’ve enjoyed it! Leanne

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