Memorial Day is the celebration of the men and women who have lost their life serving in the armed forces. Many celebrate by visiting cemeteries or memorials around the United States, but Memorial Day is also the unofficial start of the summer. School is ending and June is beginning. There is an excitement in the air about what summer could bring. New friends? New opportunities? New places to see?
Summer is the time of longer days, colder drinks, and fewer worries. I celebrated Memorial Day by visiting Ocean City, NJ. My boyfriend’s family has a beach house there and it is only a three and a half hour drive from us. I have visited Ocean City plenty of times over the past years, but we have always had to fly into New Jersey. On my very first trip to the Jersey Shore I had some doubts. Of course, when you think of the Jersey Shore, the first thing that pops into your mind is that awful reality show The Jersey Shore. I was told by my boyfriend several times that it “was not like that at all”. Over the past few years of visiting, I have learned that the Jersey Shore is a large piece of land with many different beach towns, and each town has its own little culture. Seaside, where The Jersey Shore was filmed, is the only city of the Jersey Shore that represents the party aspect of the show. But even then, the characters of the show poorly represented the area as a whole. Most of the other cities are very nice, clean, family-friendly towns.
Ocean City is just the cutest little beach town. The beaches are absolutely beautiful and clean. You have to have own a pass to be on the beach during the high season, which is Memorial Day to Labor Day.
It rained on and off all weekend, but was still able to go out the beach on the first day. When we went to the beach, the lifeguards weren’t on duty yet and we could bring out our dog Bear to the beach. He loves the sand because it is the one place he loves to dig holes (he learned real fast not to do that in the backyard).
My favorite part of Ocean City is the downtown area. There is this amazing store called B&B that carries all the best summer brands, such as, Billabong, Izod, Tommy Bahama, and Quicksilver. And the prices are very affordable. Besides the shopping, downtown also holds one of the greatest treasures of Ocean City, the boardwalk. There’s tons of restaurants, shops, and activities to do. It is fun for the whole family. The boardwalk even has concerts at night. When we were there KC & the Sunshine band was playing that night. We didn’t go because we were attending a party that night, but that would have been so much fun.
The main goal of our to the boardwalk was for food. We got crab fries from Chickie’s & Pete’s, pizza from Big Slice, and ice cream from Kohr’s Brothers. The crabs fries are my absolute favorite. So much so that I did not even think to make a picture of them, I just ate. The pizza is exactly what it sounds like, a huge slice, but at only $5 a slice this deal can;t be beat. You have to either fold it up or get it cut in half to eat. And the ice cream! Kohl’s Brothers has been around since 1919 and it a staple in the Ocean City community. Even though they are famous for the original orange and vanilla custard, I had to get my favorite, a chocolate and vanilla swirl dipped in sprinkles.
It was a full on eating festival. You really cannot go wrong with boardwalk food. And the best part about being with a group of people is that you do not have to decide on one place to eat, everyone can go and get what you want to eat. Just be careful of the seagulls! They will try to steal your food and it is illegal to feed them so don’t even try.
We also stopped at Playland’s Castaway Cove. This amusement park has games, rides, and mini golf! My boyfriend, his mom, and his brother played a few games but for the most part we just walked around and looked at all the rides. The flying swings made for a great photography opportunity.
Bottom line. If you are looking for a family friendly beach town that has a lot to offer, Ocean City is your place. An added bonus is that if you want to leave the family-friendly atmosphere of Ocean City for something a little more upbeat, Atlantic City is only a 30 minute drive away. Atlantic city has casinos, restaurants, bars, and shopping.
We also visited one day this little town 20 minutes away called Avalon, NJ. There is this great bar & restaurant there called The Whitebrier. I went last year for the first time and again this year and it is always a good time. The age range is about 21-29 year olds. There is ample outdoor space, as well as, indoor bar space. There is also a full service food menu and a sushi bar! Great food, service, and atmosphere. This place cannot be beat if you are looking for a young place to hang out.
Memorial Day is always an exciting weekend. It unofficially begins summer. But let’s not forget the men and women who have died so that we can still have a summer of freedom to look forward to.
Since Memorial Day marks the start of summer cookouts and BBQ’s I have decided to share my mom’s classic chili recipe. I absolutely love to cook chili. You can use it in several dishes and it freezes well. I always make huge pot and freeze half and use half. The best part about chili is you can add whatever you want to it. You can follow this recipe to a tee or you can adapt it to your own by adding different vegetables or using a can a beer. My mom is a very talented cook. When I asked her for her chili recipe she laughed and said “I have never written it down.” So, we made it together and I wrote down each step and ingredient as we went along. Hope you enjoy!
For Mom’s Classic Chili Recipe CLICK HERE
For more photos of Ocean City CLICK HERE