It’s May and Ocean City, New Jersey is looking alive. Businesses are reopening, annual construction is finishing up, people are walking the boardwalk, and it’s beginning to look a lot like summer. Memorial Day Weekend is the kick-off to summer in OCNJ and it’s only three weeks away.
The streets are already filled with people enjoying the warm spring weather and business owners are welcoming them into their stores. The excitement continues to grow in Ocean City for a summer of fun.
Not only are the downtown area and boardwalk growing busier as the days get warmer, but residents are beginning to visit their summer homes making OCNJ more populated. This past weekend while preparing my house for Memorial Day, I was talking with a few of my neighbors about the approaching summer season. We were all sharing in the excitement of summer in Ocean City; the most wonderful time of the year.
After working in her garden and planting new flowers, my neighbor and part-time resident, Teri D’Alonzo, told me what she was most looking forward to this summer. Teri shares, “living in Philly with our children located all over Jersey and Pennsylvania, it’s hard for all of us to get together in one place. Once summer hits, we have a place here where we can hang out, relax and make awesome family memories. As a mother and grandmother, I really love when my whole family gets together for traditions we’ve created in Ocean City”. Teri and her family have been spending their summers in OCNJ for the past 5 years.
While taking my dog for a walk, I ran into another one of my neighbors who is making a big move before summer starts. Lori Grenier, from Maryland, spends every weekend in Ocean City with her husband, daughters and her sister’s family. After outgrowing their vacation home in OCNJ, it was time they look for a new one to fit their whole family. Lucky for Lori, she found the perfect house right across the street from her sister on the south end of the island.
Lori told me, “we really love being able to spend our weekends here with my sister. My girls love surfing all day and spending time with their cousins at night. We’re very lucky to have found our new summer home across the street from my sister’s home, and we’ll be all moved in before Memorial Day Weekend! There’s no better place to spend our summers than here with our family”. Lori also mentioned that her favorite holiday is Memorial Day because she gets to be at the beach!
After hearing from only two residents of Ocean City, I think you can understand the joy and happiness OCNJ brings to beachgoers. Everyone on the island looks forward to Memorial Day Weekend as the kick off to summer and works hard getting their homes ready for the season. Drive through town in May and the homes have never looked more clean and picturesque.
Businesses Ready for Action
From the north end to the south end of the island, business owners are working hard to prepare their storefronts for the summer crowds. Businesses that were closed for the winter are now open and some new businesses are joining the ranks for Summer 2017. With only 3 weeks until Memorial Day Weekend, OCNJ businesses are working day and night to get ready for the holiday.
I walked around Ocean City the other day to catch a glimpse into what it’s like preparing for the summer season. I was even able to talk to some business owners and employees about their excitement for summer.
First stop: Ocean City Welcome Center
Located on the 9th Street Bridge connecting Sommer’s Point to Ocean City, the Welcome Center is gearing up for the summer crowds. While not being able to give me a direct quote, one of the Welcome Center employees mentioned that they see crowds of around 300 people a day in the summer.
The Welcome Center offers information, coupons, and beach tags along with some breathtaking views of the bay and the north end of town. I really suggest stopping by during your trip to OCNJ. The views are spectacular and sunsets from the 9th Street Bridge are mesmerizing.
Next up: Popular beach activities
Almost everyone at the beach spends their time biking and surfing. As the most popular beach activities, stores are prepping for the sales, repairs, and lessons that come with summer.
Surfers Supplies on 31st & Asbury has everything a surfer could possibly need. From boards in all sizes to wetsuits and wax, they have it all. Their friendly staff and island music really make their store welcoming to residents and tourists.
Tuckahoe Bike Shop, with 4 locations in South Jersey, has one right in the heart of Ocean City on 12th & West. With open doors and super friendly and knowledgeable staff, there’s no better place to find the perfect beach cruiser. Browse through their bikes, take one on a test ride, pick out your bike basket and you’ll look like a true Ocean City resident.
Bay Avenue is home to a bunch of jet ski and boat rentals. With Pirate Ship excursions, parasailing, wave runners and fishing trips, everyone in your family is covered. Insider tip: visit any of the Welcome Centers for a vacation guide with coupons for the businesses on the bay!
Don’t forget: The Boardwalk
There’s no better place to spend summer nights than the OCNJ Boardwalk. After refurbishing the boards this winter, the Boardwalk will be a popular attraction this summer. For a Boardwalk events schedule, check out this link!
The residents, business owners and employees of Ocean City always find a way to make someone’s day a little more special. Located in the back of Shriver’s store is a glass wall where you can take a peek into the salt water taffy kitchen. After visiting Shriver’s countless times throughout my life, I’ve never seen them actually making taffy in the kitchen. When I visited this past week, they were making a batch of grape salt water taffy and one of their employees offered us each a fresh taffy right from the kitchen! It was an awesome experience and something I’ll never forget.
While walking the boards this week, I sat and watched the construction of the new Manco & Manco for a little bit. A friend and employee of Manco & Manco, Kyle of Ventnor, says the Manco & Manco expansion should be ready for Summer 2017 with more seating than their other locations.
New Manco & Manco across from Shriver’s on 8th & Boardwalk. (Photo/Nicole Baglivo)
Fun Fact: Ocean City High School students ride beach cruisers on the Boardwalk during gym class! I saw a group of kids riding on the boardwalk and asked if they were in gym class after seeing them in OCNJ apparel.
OCNJ High Schoolers riding bikes for gym class. (Photo/Nicole Baglivo)
Last, but not least: Asbury Ave
With more stores open for the season, Asbury Ave is bustling with people shopping and dining. Businesses are preparing for the summer crowds and events on the avenue. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, princesses, pirates, clowns, Mummer bands and face painters line the street to entertain tourists for Family Day. Local businesses like participating in Family Day by offering specials and interacting with tourists and residents.
I talked with business owner Lauren Waltz, originally from West Chester, PA, about the summer season. While preparing her boutique, Blue Lotus, Lauren shared, “I really like the liveliness that the town brings in the summer. It’s like the town’s blood gets pumping again after the winter”.
Not only does Lauren have a beautiful store that’s popular with teens and young adults, but she really loves what she does. “I know I shouldn’t say this, but I don’t do it for the money. I just really love what I do here and I love the people I meet here in Ocean City,” said Lauren.
I was also able to talk to Lisa, a Receptionist and Massage Therapist at Fabiana Edward’s Salon on Asbury Ave. Lisa, from Marmora, NJ, recently graduated massage school and is looking forward to her first summer as a Massage Therapist in Ocean City. Lisa said, “Ocean City is a fun place for kids and parents, but parents are always looking for a way to unwind on their vacation. Offering massages for the first time beginning this summer will be a great way to welcome new customers to our salon and to Ocean City”.
Lisa and the staff at Fabiana Edwards are also active with Family Day on Asbury. “We always offer specials on kids cuts, as well as our braid bar on Family Day. It’s awesome to have the whole family stop in for services after a day of fun on the Avenue,” shared Lisa.
After hearing about everyone preparing for Memorial Day Weekend and seeing my pictures from all over Ocean City, I hope you guys are more excited for summer too! It’s amazing to see Ocean City go from a quiet town to a bustling town with so much energy in a matter of weeks. I hope you all get a chance to experience the joy and happiness of Ocean City, New Jersey this summer.