Thursday, November 27, 2014

Seaside Heights Boardwalk pre-Memorial Day

Posted by Stu On June - 18 - 2009

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For most of my life, Seaside Heights was just a 3 mile drive away.  Having lived by the boardwalk my whole life, I never understood the big deal about it.  As a kid, it was a fun place.  As a teen and young adult, it was still a nice place to walk around, but it sure did make traffic suck in the summertime with all the North Jerseyans, New Yorkers, and Pennsylvanians swarming the area.

For those not in the know, to residents of The Shore and South Jersey, North Jersey and New York tourists are “bennies” and PA ones, particularly from Philly, are “shoobies.”  I could go deeper into the origins of these but I really don’t feel like it.  Look it up.

Anyway, from my experience, most people out of state think boardwalk towns are booming year round and always have something going on.

Nope.

The towns, and boardwalks especially, are just about ghost towns for most of the year.  Summer season is only Memorial Day weekend til Labor Day, less than 5 months.

So to prove my point, I went to Seaside on May 7, less than 3 weeks before “the season” and took pics of the boardwalk.  I wanted to show that even the more popular shore destinations look about the same as Asbury Park for most of the year.  This also served as a nice blast of nostalgia, since Seaside is no longer a quick drive for me but now over 100 miles away.

And as for the benny/shoobie thing, I for one never saw the big deal.  Sure, they add to the traffic of an already overpopulated area, and sure some are very, very obnoxious.  But if it weren’t for them, shore towns would have next to no economy and probably wouldn’t exist.  Take the bad with the good and shut up already.  Funny part is most of the “shore people” I know moved there from North Jersey or NY and really have no room to talk.

…and I guess technically I’m a shoobie now, but I still don’t appreciate getting grief for going back to where I grew up and lived for 25 years.

…oh yeah, pictures.  I started at the landmark Midway Steakhouse and first headed north.  Coin Castle, one of the big 2 arcades, was completely closed up.  This used to be my favorite arcade when I was a kid, but then they got rid of like 90% of their arcade games and replaced them with all that crap that gives out points and tokens.  I switched teams and began to frequent Lucky Leo’s.

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Up the boardwalk a bit is Casino Pier, which is always closed in the off-season.  Nearly every shop and stand was closed as well.

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Once you get past Casino Pier, the north end gets pretty boring.  There are sky swings that run down to the end of the boardwalk; that’s the only ride up this way.  Many of the arcades and stores down this way are much smaller and less visited than those at the southern end.  Pleasure Island, a pretty run down but still decent arcade, was up this way but shut down a few years ago.

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At the very end is…nothing.  Always wished they put something here.

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Told ya they hate bennies.

I headed back south.  Down this way are many more arcades and stores.  There’s also a second amusement pier, Funtown Pier.  This one’s more geared toward little kids.  It’s also completely off limits in the off-season.

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Down near the very end is the Saw Mill, a very popular pizzeria and bar.  When I visited was just a few weeks after the Saw Mill’s inside caught fire.  It was being fixed up and the air still smelled like burnt wood.  I’m glad they got to it before the whole place went up.

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Best soft vanilla ice cream ever:

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Best salt water taffy ever:

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Stores like this aggravate me.  Anyone who buys anything from this place is a tool.  And probably a benny.

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Back where I started.  Time to go.

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Popularity: 28% [?]

Whale Beach

Posted by Stu On February - 21 - 2006

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We had read about something strange among the dunes near Strathmere, just north of Sea Isle City. While not very large and not necessarily worth the drive from Bayville, it sure is…..different.

From the road, it just looks like a high part of the dunes – with a weather vane sticking out of it. Climbing up the steps reveals a small fenced off section, with oars, signs, pieces of boats, angel statues, and other random knick knacks. The walkway is even carpeted.
A storm in 1962 destroyed many of the homes nearby, and Whale Beach is where one of them stood. From what I’ve read, the family across the street owned the house and created Whale Beach as a memorial.

Popularity: 11% [?]

Sandy Hook 2006

Posted by Stu On February - 6 - 2006

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2002 Trip / 2004 Trip

Friendly reminder – decent amount of pictures. For you folks with dialup… get broadband already. Seriously. It’s 2006, man.

This trip easily destroyed the 2 previous trips I took to Sandy Hook. This time around we met up with a few forum members, along with some of the fine folks from What’s in the Forest.
We first explored Batteries Mills and Kingman. We then checked out the Nike missile base, followed by a mortar battery.


Batteries Mills and Kingman

Semi-disclaimer – Neither of these are very safe. The floors have several holes, and some of the stuff on the ceiling is barely attached anymore and could come crashing down at any time.

These 2 batteries were almost exactly alike, so I just grouped their photos together.


Can’t get out this way…


One of the many holes. Some are quite deep.


Wasn’t kidding about stuff coming down from the ceiling.


Skeletons of 2……somethings.


Nike Missile Base

One building had a grim surprise for us…..2 dead raccoons that apparently got stuck.


Mortar Battery

Another semi-disclaimer – Lots of asbestos.


Fun with asbestos!

Popularity: 25% [?]

“The Stinkhouse” – Abandoned Fish Factory

Posted by Stu On May - 20 - 2005

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Just offshore of Mystic Island is an island with an abandoned fish factory on it. Some people refer to it as “The Stinkhouse” because of the alleged stench coming from the island. A group of us, including William from It’s New Jersey, rented a small boat and headed out to the island. We saw some docks in front of the factory but couldn’t land at them because they were in too bad of shape. So we beached the boat and attempted to find a path to the factory. Upon landing, we noticed lots of pieces of cups and plates along the island’s shore. We still don’t know where they came from or why they’re there.
We tried hacking through a thicket, but I found a semi-path along the docks to the right side of the island. It was a dangerous path, and we were covered with gnats the entire way. We had to hack through the last 15 feet or so to reach the main building.


Dead horseshoe crabs covered with flies.


Approaching the building.

After finally getting to the factory, the bugs seemed to vanish. As we poked around inside, a big owl swooped down from another room and then flew out a hole in the roof. Ospreys are also abundant on the island. There is some graffiti inside, but not nearly as much as I was expecting. People have been here, but not too many.


This building was inaccessible due to it being surrounded by poison ivy.

Popularity: 11% [?]

Island Beach Hotel Ruins

Posted by Stu On April - 20 - 2005

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A few years ago, a friend of mine told me about hotel ruins somewhere on the bay side of Island Beach. He also said a grand piano used to be visible among the wreckage. I forgot about his tale until recently, and I set out to find the hotel.
The hotel was called the Reeds Hotel and was a popular resort in the 1800’s for wealthy hunters and fishermen. Since it cost so much to transport food to the island back then, all the food was grown on the island. An artesian well nearby supplied water.

Very little is left of the hotel and the other surrounding buildings now. The foundation is barely noticeable because it’s so overgrown. Due to the age and condition of the resort, I also have to question the grand piano story. There are hints of other buildings along the trail as well, but it takes a sharp eye to pick most of them out.

Popularity: 7% [?]

Grassy Sound (2005)

Posted by Stu On April - 20 - 2005

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Originally visited in June 2004

I’ve been wanting to come back to Grassy Sound ever since I first visited because it’s such a unique place. The first thing I noticed this time around was that the boardwalk’s holes had all been repaired; we ended up walking to the very end and seeing houses I didnt’ even know were there. At the very end we saw where a house had recently burned down.

The boardwalk takes you over 2 small streams. While now hole-free, parts of it still squeak and make you wonder whether or not it’ll support your weight. The boardwalk is still uneven planks, and in a few spots we noticed pieces of fencing and even police barriers were also used to build it.

Overall, it’s the same ol’ Grassy Sound I saw last year.


The town off in the distance

Popularity: 8% [?]

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