Farewell, OCNJ

The semester has come to an end and, sadly, so have my weekly posts to Eat Play OCNJ.

While I’m excited to have more time at the beach during my summer break, I’m not going to be able to post as often.  I’m really looking forward to escaping technology and heading to the beach where I can truly unwind and relax.  I hope to still continue this blog, maybe with monthly roundups of my favorite experiences!

I’ve really learned so much about Ocean City through writing this blog that I would’ve never known otherwise.  I explored so many streets and areas of town I’ve never visited and found more exciting places I can’t wait to share with my family and friends.  Writing about OCNJ and sharing photos of its beauty really made me cherish and appreciate the town so much more.

I met some really great people and business owners throughout my visits gathering content for my blog posts.  It’s great to make connections with as many people as you can when working on a publication like this.

While I enjoyed creating all of my posts, here are my top 5 favorites!

  1.  Coffee Spots in Downtown Ocean City
  2. OCNJ Boardwalk Classics: Photo Gallery
  3. Ocean City Scavenger Hunt
  4. Inhale and Exhale the OCNJ Air While Listening to PLAAY Owner & Instructor, Liz Beasley, Talk About Opening Her Business

  5. The Summer Season is Upon Us in OCNJ!

 

Hopefully, this is not a goodbye, but a see you soon!  I really hope you get the chance to visit my favorite place in the world, Ocean City, New Jersey, this summer, and experience the greatness for yourself.  Thanks for sticking with me through this journey.

All the best,

Nicole

 

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Farewell! (Photo/Nicole Baglivo)

 

 

Let the Countdown Begin, OCNJ! Memorial Day Weekend is Just 3 Weeks Away

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.

Excited Residents

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

What’s an Acai Bowl? Visit Yoasis Frozen Yogurt in OCNJ to Find Out!

Yoasis Frozen Yogurt Ocean City, NJ has come up with unique, health-friendly menu items throughout the years. Different from the usual beach treats like ice cream, funnel cake, and fries, Yoasis offers items like fresh pressed juices and acai bowls.

Open from March-January, Yoasis’ two locations in Ocean City draw crowds from near and far with their picturesque treats.  Visit Yoasis on Asbury Ave and the Boardwalk to see what the hype is all about!

I was able to talk to Abby, one of Yoasis’ employees, who works at their Asbury Ave location.  She gave me some background on Yoasis, their organic ingredients, and even named their most popular menu item!  Take a look at the video below for a glimpse into Yoasis, your frozen yogurt paradise, and even watch them make an eye-catching treat.

The Summer Season is Upon Us in OCNJ!

Winter has come and gone and it’s time to prepare for summer, or “in-season” in Ocean City, New Jersey.  As the days have gotten warmer businesses that closed for the winter are beginning to reopen and prepare for the summer crowds.

Be ahead of the game by preparing for your summer vacations and day trips now!  Here are 3 important tips for preparing before the summer months bring the crowds to ONCJ.


  1. Find a place to stay.
    Securing your hotel, condo or home rental for your stay may just be the most important part of your trip.  As America’s #1 Beach town, summers have grown more filled with vacationers looking for rentals.  Good thing vacationers, there are many ways to find a rental for your stay.  Check out these sources to find your group the perfect home for your vacation stay in OCNJ.Berger, Monihan, Grace, Fox and Berkshire Hathaway all have offices throughout the island to help vacationers find rentals and residents their vacation homes.  Be sure to keep your eyes open when traveling throughout the island, as many properties display signs on the porch telling you which real estate company is renting out the property!

    Want to avoid real estate offices? Check out Airbnb, which shows you locations, pictures, and pricing all in one place.  The best part is, you can instantly book through Airbnb on their website.

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    OCNJ is home to hundreds of beautiful properties available for rent through the resources listed above. (Photo/Nicole Baglivo)

  2. Buy ride tickets at 1/2 price.
    Beginning this past weekend, the ride piers on the OCNJ boardwalk began selling 1/2 priced tickets.  While this sale only lasts one short week, it’s important to take a quick trip to Ocean City and get those highly prized ride tickets now while they’re half off.  Don’t wait until your vacation in the summer months where you’ll be paying full price for tickets!Both Gillian’s Wonderland Pier and Playland’s Castaway Cove ride piers opened most of their rides this past weekend.  Not only was it a gorgeous April weekend in OCNJ, but the boardwalk was filled with families laughing and screaming with joy on the classic boardwalk rides.

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    Gillian’s Wonderland Pier, home to the tallest Ferris Wheel on the OCNJ boardwalk. (Photo/Nicole Baglivo)

  3. Get beach tags.
    Unlike other South Jersey beaches, Ocean City requires beach-goers to purchase beach tags to relax and enjoy the beach.  This season beginning June 3rd through September 4th, beach tags are needed for everyone ages 12 and up.Seasonal, weekly and daily beach tags are available for purchase.  Beach tags can be purchased online, or in town at City Hall, the Rt. 52 Welcome Center, the Henry Knight Building at 12th & Haven, or at the Aquatic Center on 17th & Simpson. Forgot to buy beach tags before heading to the beach?  You can purchase them on the spot from the Beach Tag Patrol who walk the beaches.

    Insider Tip: You can save $5 if you purchase beach tags before May 31st when the prices go up.

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    Yes, even the windsurfers need beach tags to use the OCNJ beaches! (Photo/Nicole Baglivo)

    I hope these tips come in handy when planning your Ocean City vacation for Summer 2017!  Visit Ocean City Vacations’ website for more vacation planning info to make your summer in OCNJ a memorable one.

Inhale and Exhale the OCNJ Air While Listening to PLAAY Owner & Instructor, Liz Beasley, Talk About Opening her Business

Liz Beasley, a part-time resident of Ocean City, New Jersey opened her business, PLAAY Fitness & Yoga in January 2017.  After noticing something OCNJ was missing, listen to find out how Liz seized the opportunity and created something residents and vacationers of all ages can enjoy.

 

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PLAAY Owner & Instructor, Liz Beasley, on the silks. (Photo/Nicole Baglivo)

Check out PLAAY Fitness & Yoga’s Facebook page for schedule updates and offers as the summer season approaches.

Blogger Proflie: Photographer and Blogger Andy Macpherson

I recently reached out to the owner of another blog that focuses on Ocean City, NJ.  I was able to talk briefly with Andy Macpherson, age 34, of Egg Harbor Township about his experience with blogging and learn more about his business history.  Andy is experienced with blogging and currently, runs more blogs than just his Ocean City NJ Blog!  Read on to learn more about Andy and his blogging background.


For the past three years, Andy has been blogging about photography.  His main blog, Macpherson Photography, provides examples of his work along with tips and ideas for photography sessions at the South Jersey beaches.  When explaining how he became involved with blogging, Andy tells how he was really interested in search engine optimization and Google rankings for his photography business.

Learning that blogging was a great way to improve SEO and rankings, Andy decided to intertwine his photography with writing a blog.  After beginning his photography blog, Andy created his Ocean City NJ Blog to help out his photography business.

Sharing the most difficult part of blogging, Andy describes the process of writing blog posts. While he doesn’t enjoy writing, he likes being able to utilize his photography with interesting post topics, post schedules, and SEO.

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Blogger Andy Macpherson, 34 of Egg Harbor Township. (Photo/Andy Macpherson)

When thinking about the role blogging plays in the future of journalism, Andy shares that he loves blogging as an outlet of journalism.  While Andy enjoys reading political blogs, he predicts that blog content may be regulated in the future to align with the views of those in power.

In reference to the most the most interesting aspect of running his blog, Andy notes how he enjoys seeing good traffic numbers and having visitors convert to sales.

Andy also shared some advice with me as a beginner blogger looking to maintain a beat blog. Andy feels that SEO and site design should be a blogger’s priority.  He recommends using the paid version of WordPress.  Next, he thinks bloggers should always remain consistent.  Finally, Andy stresses the importance of practicing writing and improving your skills as a writer.   A blogger should discover what type of writer they are and stick to that style throughout their blog.

If you’re looking for a photographer in the South Jersey area skilled in beach photos or looking for more information about OCNJ, check out Andy’s blogs!

Featured header image was taken by me, Andy sent me the portrait of himself. 

OCNJ Boardwalk Classics: Photo Gallery

The attractions, restaurants, and stores on the Ocean City boardwalk change annually, but there are a few traditional spots that have remained strong.  These classic spots on the OCNJ boardwalk are open all year and draw a lot of tourist attention during the summer months.

Such classics, like Johnson’s Popcorn and Shriver’s, truly emulate the heart and soul of Ocean City.  Parents and grandparents have memories of visiting these spots when they were children, and love being able to see the joy these attractions bring to their children and grandchildren.

What are your memories of these classic attractions on the OCNJ boardwalk? Browse through these photo galleries to see how these classics look today.


Johnson’s Popcorn

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Johnson’s Popcorn has not one, but three locations on the Ocean City boardwalk.  In addition to their OCNJ locations, Johnson’s has a storefront in Wildwood, NJ, as well as a food truck.  With their 14th street location open all year long, Johnson’s offers over six flavors of their famous popcorn.

Johnson’s popcorn recently opened a sister store next to their year round 14th street location in Ocean City.  This second store focuses on pre-wrapped gifts ready for purchase. Johnson’s opened in 1940 and has remained a major attraction for locals and tourists since the beginning.

Ocean City Coffee Company

I was lucky enough to begin a conversation with a South Jersey native while inside the Ocean City Coffee Company’s boardwalk location this past weekend.  While discussing our favorite coffee blends from O.C.C.C., Sidra Kazmi, 22, a student at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, told me how her dad always surprises her with her favorite coffee while she’s at school.

“Coffee is my savior.  With so many long days in the library, I always need a caffiene boost.  Every time my dad visits me up at school, he brings me a bag of my favorite coffee, OC Coffee Co.’s Ocean City Blend.  Having a cup of their coffee while studying always helps me push through and makes me think of the beach,” said Sidra.

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No matter how high the temperatures may soar during the summer months, you will always find people walking on the boardwalk with an O.C.C.C. cup of joe.  Along with their coffee, Ocean City Coffee Company offers apparel and gifts at all of their locations.

Manco & Manco

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Manco & Manco is, arguably, one of the hottest spots for pizza on the Ocean City boardwalk.  On a nice day off season and pretty much every warm day during the summer months, the line for a slice at Manco & Manco’s usually reaches out to the middle of the boardwalk.

Looking to avoid the long line and wait times?  You can get a steaming hot pie delivered right to your home, rental or hotel.

Steel’s Fudge

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Steel’s Fudge, open since 1919, has brought in many tourists to the boardwalk.  It’s very often that you will see a Steel’s employee in white pants and a navy blue top offering free samples to boardwalk-goers.

Even in the off-season, Steel’s offers a variety of salt water taffy flavors ranging from caramel apple to raspberry lemonade.  Be sure to peek in the window next time you’re on the boardwalk, you may just catch a glimpse of Steel’s handmaking their famous fudge.

Shriver’s 

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Shriver’s is a household name among Ocean City locals and tourists.  Open since 1898, Shriver’s continues to be a landmark site on the OCNJ boardwalk.  Parents and grandparents remember visiting as children and love to show their children and grandchildren the fun of Shriver’s.

From the lively store windows to the glass walls of the taffy/fudge factory, Shriver’s always draws a crowd.  Stop by at the right time, and you may just walk away with a free, larger-than-life blow-up salt water taffy!


Make memories and family traditions with your siblings, cousins and extended family members by stopping by these OCNJ boardwalk classics next time you’re in town.

All photos were taken by me.

Ocean City Scavenger Hunt

Can you find the painted electrical boxes?

Among many unique features of the town, Ocean City, New Jersey has an interesting display of art on the streets.  Walking around the north end of town, you may find more than a couple murals painted on the electrical boxes.

All beach themed, Ocean City has turned electrical boxes, which would usually be overlooked, into a unique attraction.

Next time you’re in town looking for an activity for your family to participate in together, go on a scavenger hunt for the painted electrical boxes!  There are many located on the streets between 16th and 8th next to stoplights and on the boardwalk.  Time yourselves and see who can spot the most painted boxes, and take pictures along the way.

Here are a few of the painted electrical boxes I spotted while in town this past weekend. If you need help finding them, discover their exact location in the photo captions.

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“Aloha”- 16th & Central (Photo/Nicole Baglivo)

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“Under the Sea”- 18th & Wesley (Photo/Nicole Baglivo)

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“Osprey nest”- 34th & Bay (Photo/Nicole Baglivo)

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“Ahoy Captian”- 10th & Ocean (Photo/Nicole Baglivo)

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“Beach scenery”- 13th & Boardwalk (Photo/Nicole Baglivo)

See what other themed electrical boxes you can find!  I hope this scavenger hunt will be fun for you and your family and encourage you to explore the hidden gems of Ocean City while you’re at it.

All photographs were taken by me.