I’m about to let you in on a little secret that might surprise you: the television show, The Jersey Shore is not an accurate representation of what life is like in the beach towns of New Jersey. Sure, the particular area that the show was filmed in does lives up to some of the things that were portrayed there, but outside of the tiny town that people identify the show with is a hidden oasis of picturesque beach communities.
Lavallette is a tiny, quaint beach town I grew up spending my summers in. On one side of the island is the ocean and on the opposite side is the bay. Beach shops and boutiques line the streets and home made ice cream is available on every other block. There are staple restaurants like the Crabs Claw that you can roll into after a day on the beach wearing a tank top and swim trunks, snack on coconut shrimp, and dance to live cover bands belting out hits from Bon Jovi and Journey all night long. The boardwalk is ten minutes away where you can go on all types of rides, play games, sip cocktails and eat all sorts of food - it looks like a giant festival every night of the week.
Some of the best memories of my childhood are spending morning to sundown playing with my cousins on the beach. Now some of my favorite memories as an adult are spending quality time with my family on summer weekends. Everyday life is hectic for everyone, so I always look forward to coming together for a weekend of relaxation with family “down the shore” (as we say in Jersey).
While I grew up spending much of my time on the beach, I now spend many weekends on the bay which means lots of fun water sports! Kayaking is one of my favorite outdoor activities to do. Not only is it a phenomenal workout for your shoulders, back and core, but it allows you to be so close in proximity to the water and connect with nature - something I crave living in New York. It’s rare that one weekend goes by without hopping in kayaks and doing a loop around the island! It is also one of my favorite times to catch up with family and friends.
Boating is also something that I have fallen in love with. My dad takes the family out for sunset cruises and it is one of the most peaceful things to witness. The bright orange sun setting on the water that looks like glass is a vision that never gets old. If we’re feeling really wild, we will attach a tube to the back of the boat and go on a speed adventure, surfing over the waves (while trying to hold on for dear life).
As Labor Day approaches and the end of summer nears, I’m very reflective on all the special memories made over the last few months with family and friends down the shore. To me that tiny beach town is a vault that special memories year after year keep getting put into. Lavallette is a beautiful island where you can just stop everything moving around you and breathe. And the simplicity of that is priceless.