SOS – Save our Summer: The Re-birth of the Jersey Shore
Memorial Day weekend passed with little fanfare. Gone were the parades, the annual unlocking of the ocean, the traffic jams on the Garden State parkway on Friday afternoon, the local lemonade stands, and the bustling excitement that comes with the promise of a summer weekend at the beach. However what beach towns like Ocean City did see were signs of hope, signs that we are all adapting to our “new normal.” Despite the weather, the boardwalk, beaches, and local eateries were busy. Businesspeople and patrons alike are adjusting to the imposed social distancing measures put in place. These differ from town to town and seemingly from store to store.
Take out is now the name of the game and each location has created their own system. Browns on the boardwalk, famous for their apple cider donuts, has always seen long crowded lines. People typically wait over 45 minutes for a box of donuts or a table in their open-air restaurant. To facilitate the process, payment is taken at one window while food is served at the next. Social distancing reminders have been stenciled onto the boards as a reminder to stand the recommended 6 feet apart. In addition, the full breakfast menu is being offered to go. Over the weekend the owners took advantage of the sandy beach area adjacent to the restaurant. Picnic tables with umbrellas have been added so that patrons can still enjoy their meals beach-side. Everyone is getting creative and diners are thrilled.
Retail shops such as Ocean Treasures and The Shirt Shack are adapting as well. Vendors are moving tables to the front of their store in order to sell t- shirts, beach décor, and knickknacks. Clothes are folded and items such as jewelry are displayed on small racks, only to be replaced with additional merchandise as quickly as it sells. Registers are right at the front of the stores. Shoppers are not permitted inside the storefront but that does not seem to be inhibiting sales.
In Ocean City, real estate sales are brisk. Properties hitting the active market that are priced correctly are selling in a matter of days. In some cases, just one day. The consensus is that families do not want to travel far from home, nor to they know when we will be able to leave the country. As a result, they are buying the beach house now instead of waiting. Many families purchasing second homes in town are doing so without the intention of renting the home at all. In fact, some are asking to see homes that do not have any rentals in place or would like the rentals that are already in place to be canceled or moved to another unit.
The demand for rentals is up as well. Clients are reaching out in hopes of finding a seasonal or month-long rental. With swim clubs not reopening, summer camps canceled, many parents are looking to break up these extended summer months with a trip to their favorite beach town.
One thing is for sure, our summer has a different look to it this year. But if the events of the past weekend are indicative of a chance to save our summer, it seems as if everyone passed the test. Visitors and locals alike were all happy to be in town. The promise of a walk on the beach or boardwalk, eating your favorite slice of pizza, grabbing a tub of hot caramel corn, or just smelling the salt air is enough to make anyone happy. Whether it’s a bike ride, a lazy day in the sun, fishing at the inlet, or a boat cruise through the back bays to catch a sunset, the beach brings us all together, even though we’ve got to stay 6 feet apart…
© 2020 Maureen Schneider
Maureen Schneider is a resident of Ocean City and a full- time realtor with Berkshire Hathaway’s top producing team in Ocean City in 2019. She specializes in assisting clients in staging their homes for sale to maximize potential value and is an expert in locating properties that exactly fit their needs in Cape May County. Contact Maureen directly for updates on your beach town, with specific market questions, or for assistance in selling or buying your beach home at 609-703-7307 or email Maureen.Schneider@FoxRoach.com.