This one comes to us all the way from the Grand Forks Herald:
When it gets hot in Minnesota, people head to the lake. When it gets hot in New York City, the masses head to the Jersey shore.
When visiting friends in New Jersey this week, we decided to take a Sunday drive to the shore where many New Yorkers have gone to cool off for the past couple of centuries.
No wonder the shore was popular before air conditioning and is still popular today. The temperature was in the mid-90s and the air was stagnant inland, but at the shore it was a perfect 80 degrees and breezy.
The Jersey shore experience is different than going to the lake. The shoreline is about 125 miles long, but every inch of it has been discovered, exploited, developed and fenced off.
Parking near the beach? $20. Purchasing the bracelet that allows you to actually walk on the beach? $7 per adult. Thirsty for something wet? Get out $10.
Boardwalks, restaurants, boutiques, marinas and dance halls dot the beach side of the street while enormous 19th century houses with big wraparound porches, some converted into bed and breakfasts, others into restaurants, line the shore side.
Jammed for blocks behind the enormous homes are rows of wanna-be beach homes within walking distance of the shore. The farther you get from the shore, the smaller the homes get, until they are darn near shacks.
Enormous gut? Let it hang out. Swimming suit three sizes too small? No big deal. Nice tan? Fine, but not necessary. You paid your $7 dollars, show your leg dimples to the world!
The ocean is still beautiful, despite the crowds. Big breakers ebb and flow. Nobody swims, but there is a lot of playing in the big waves. If you walk out in the water a ways, you can for a moment enjoy some unadulterated natural beauty.
Until you look up 500 feet over the water. There, a fleet of airplanes patrols the shore dragging banners behind: “Save on insurance.” “All-U-Can Eat Crablegs, $24.95.” “Find your dream home today!”