Grandparents, Tanning and Laughter: My Experience at the Jersey Shore

24 08 2010

I am a Jersey girl and have lived 10 to 20 minutes from the beach my whole life so I have never understood the concept of being fully surrounded by land. Though there are actually people who grow up never having seen the ocean. It’s sad but true. I began to realize this was a reality for some people when I attended the University of Pittsburgh, a school where 90 percent of the students are from instate.

While at Pitt, my inner circle of friends originated mainly from the outer suburbs of Philadelphia. I learned a lot from these friends.  I learned that they insist on calling subs “hoagies”, they are extremely passionate about their sports teams — to the point of obnoxious — and most important, they spend their summers at the Jersey Shore.

One of my girlfriends has been renting a house in Avalon for one week every summer since she can remember. I was able to join her and her family there for a couple of days this past week. I was excited to finally see for myself what all of the fuss was about. Living 10 minutes from a beach, I never saw the point of traveling an hour and a half just to go to a different one, but these Philadelphians may be on to something. I can now say I have had my first official “Jersey Shore” experience.

There were no Situation or J-Woww sightings and no one got into any fights at the bar, but we did have a hot tub. Although it was broken, so it was more of a lukewarm bubble bath. Every night we had a home-cooked meal where everybody sat together around the dinner table as a true modern family. Three generations — grandparents, mother, stepfather and children — passed around food while speaking of politics, relationships and popular culture. As someone who comes from a very small family, it was a treat to be a part of this large family dynamic.

Of course it had to rain one day, but we took full advantage of the one sunny day we had while I was there. The only oil at our disposal had no SPF in it. Its sole purpose was to accelerate your burn. Snooki would have been proud. Except I woke up the next day with my eyes and lips swollen and I’m now paying the price by peeling. My face is about three different colors. Snooki never mentioned what to do when something like this happens. Help!

The only thing I have to say I was unhappy to discover in Avalon, as a New Jersey native and loyal New York sports fan, was the amount of Phillies and Eagles paraphernalia that has taken over the shore. I had to remind myself a couple of times that I was still in New Jersey. We went to a bar one night and when we walked in all I saw was a sea of red. There was only one person in the entire place wearing a Yankees hat. Another night we went shopping in Stone Harbor and they were even selling Phillies and Eagles gear! I guess I can’t blame their buyer for knowing their audience and wanting to bank on it, but I was in disbelief at the ratio of Philadelphians to New Jerseys. I hadn’t felt this outnumbered since I had left Pitt in May. They even called Italian Ices “water ice”. I think we are losing the bottom half of our state to Pennsylvania.

I am glad I was able to take the time to discover what my own state has to offer. It’s strange to think what a difference an hour and a half can make. Just a couple of days at the shore can do wonders for the soul. Some sun, quality time with family and friends and relaxation can really help clear your head. I think everyone should take a vacation, even if it’s just to the Jersey Shore for some “GTL”.

Hanging at the Beach

Grandpa Herb and Nicky drinking Four Loko

Hannah and I dunking Oreos in milk

Everyone at the dinner table

Check out this video of little kids reenacting MTV’s Jersey Shore! Too Cute!

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