In the Blink of a Traffic Light, Long Beach Island Wakes Up

By WENDY McCLURE | May 15, 2019

It’s about to change. We will soon no longer see blinking traffic lights along Long Beach Boulevard and will have to sit at them. There is such a noticeable change at the shore once those lights get turned on.

It means our little island is no longer our own. It will soon be invaded by tourists who can’t wait to enjoy the many benefits we locals get to take advantage of all year long. And who are we to keep them to ourselves? We have to share the bounty and wonder of our shore town because it’s not truly ours. But we get more benefits this time of year as well.

The traffic lights get turned back on next Monday. We have just a few more days to enjoy the speedy trip down the Boulevard.

My husband and I will personally try to fit in as much as we can while it still takes only a few minutes to get to our destination. We try to focus on seasonal businesses more since there is such a limited time they are open, especially the places that are farther away from that bridge. We love The Chegg and the Black Whale, to name a few that open early but don’t offer year-round service. We are still trying to get that first trip in to Skipper Dipper before the line out the door deters us.

My husband is off work this week so we will try to get in a visit to Raimondo’s before the full season is upon us. That is one place we are lucky to have all year ’round, although the hours are limited in the off-season. I would prefer to sneak in a trip to Howard’s for some french-fried lobster (yes, it is as good as you’ve heard), but we wanted to grab dinner during the week, and they are still open only on weekends.

Of course, there is the beach and all the fun in the sun that is upon us this time of year. Who doesn’t love long days on the beach with friends and family where fun will be had and memories will be made? Maybe beach time includes a radio playing softly to enhance the experience.

When I was young my friends always brought along a radio to play while at the beach. Then I heard someone explain once that he doesn’t like having music at the beach because he likes to enjoy the sounds of the shore: the waves crashing, the sound of seagulls, children’s laughter. I thought to myself, he’s right. I can listen to music anytime. I can hear these sounds only while at the beach. Do you prefer a little music at the beach, or do you like to immerse yourself in the sounds of one of Earth’s greatest gifts?

How about a trip to play some mini-golf? Are you super-competitive or do you just want to have a relaxing time? I don’t think any mini-golf tournament is complete without ice cream at the end. Did you bring your bikes? Long Beach Island is my favorite place to ride. There is plenty of room on the side of the back roads on the south side of the Island. Or how about renting some kayaks or SUP boards?

Get on outside and soak up the great weather while it’s here. But if the weather doesn’t cooperate, there is still plenty to do. Put together a puzzle as a family? I always thought it was so nice when everyone pitched in and maybe got it framed when finished. Rainy days are good days for playing cards, grabbing some books from the library or a good old-fashioned board game. Check out some of the galleries and studios on the Island. Stop by the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences in Loveladies to see what they have going on and maybe take a pottery class. In fact, they have a number of classes offered all summer long.

There are some things we try to do throughout the summer that we consider worth the extra time and aggravation it takes to get down to the southern end of the Island. I love grabbing a sandwich at the Sand Bar and taking in the view (although the dunes now have changed it) at the Engleside and the Sea Shell in Beach Haven. We don’t go as much as we used to because, well, we’re older now. But every once in a while we will invade the youth scene on the Island. There are some things that are pure bliss for various ages, including a nice cold beer or maybe a strawberry daiquiri with a view of the beach on a hot summer’s day.

Ah, it’s almost summer and I personally can’t wait to get started!

Wendy McClure of Beach Haven West is the host of “The Hopefulist” podcast and blog.




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