Ocean City’s summer season comes to close, but not without fond memories.
For some, summer vacation at the Jersey Shore is an annual tradition, when visitors rent the same homes and condos or stay at the same hotels year after year.
“We get pastries at Dot’s Bakery every morning for breakfast,” says Matt Sharayko, an Eastern University college student from Harleysville, Pa. Every summer the Sharaykos rent a home in Ocean City for their family vacation.
“You always have to stop at Farley Station on the way to and from the shore,” says Sharayko. “That place is dripping wet with the nostalgia of childhood vacations.”
During the start of his trip, Sharayko headed straight to the beach after eating five Boston crème doughnuts and a cup of strong coffee.
“I’d travel light with nothing but sunglasses, water, my towel and an iPhone nestled inside a Ziploc bag,” he says. “I would follow my routine of sunning myself and then going in the ocean for a nice swim to cool off. This ritual was carried out every day that the sun was shining until I would go back to the house and shower later that evening.”
Pastry delights, Italian food, family lounging and some late-night walks along the beach and the Boardwalk were how Sharayko spent his relaxed summer nights during vacation.
The annual Ocean City Boardwalk Art Show was a favorite for many vacationers, especially the creatively inclined. Donna Elias, from Brigantine, describes the show as the best in the U.S. while Chuck Law, of nearby Linwood, made sure he took a dip in the ocean after he packed up his art tent at the event’s finale.
The Worrell family, from Woodlyn, Pa., vacations in Ocean City every summer at their grandparent’s house on the north end of the island.
“It’s so great to have my whole family together in one place and their closest friends coming to visit us,” says Debbie Worrell, while enjoying cooking a summer dinner feast for her family. The Worrell’s have been vacationing in Ocean City for years, knowing every hot spot and Boardwalk deal and routinely playing competitive annual round of putt-putt golf.
For 26-year-old Halley Lukens, the Night in Venice boat parade is her favorite part of summer vacation in Ocean City, an event she has grown up with.
For the past five years, Lukens’ friends have come to her grandmother’s bay-front condo for a big party with a DJ spinning tunes and a home decorated with lights.
Catching the right wave on his surfboard is how Robert Kulisek spent his summer vacation in Ocean City. Having started his own retro-themed free newspaper for the island, Kulisek is all about the surf community and riding the consistent waves that break against the island.
“For me, surfing transcends the normal sense and words can’t really describe it because there’s a lot happening, all on very different levels,” says Kulisek.
Passing by some beautifully designed homes and landscapes, Sharayko recalls morning bike rides from one end of the Ocean City Boardwalk to the other and stopping by Jon & Patty’s Coffee Bar & Bistro for a snack.
“It’s really a cool place for food,” he says. “An exciting menu compared to what you typically see offered at restaurants down the shore.”
It seems that every Ocean City visitor has his or her own favorite restaurant, activity and even beach. Whether it’s keeping a tradition alive or experiencing the island for the first time, summer vacationers in Ocean City are a diverse lot, coming from states across the country between Memorial Day weekend and the upcoming Labor Day weekend.
As many vacationers are about to pack up their things, check out of their hotels and condos and head back to wherever they came from — only to do it all again next year — like Sharayko, they’re saying: “Goodbye Summer 2012. It’s been real.”
OCEAN CITY EVENTS CALENDAR
Sunday, Sept. 2
Ocean City Tabernacle, 550 Wesley Ave. Gospel Music Award winner Lynda Randle performs with pianist Joey Gore and vocalists Gale Mayes and Angela Prim. Free. 7pm. Call 399-1915 or visit octabernacle.org.
Monday, Sept. 3
Mayor’s Labor Day Race
Starts at 23rd Street beach. Five-mile beach run and one-mile walk/run. Run starts 9am followed immediately by walk. $20 pre-registration, $25 day of event, $10 for ages 14 and under. Call 398-6900 or e-mail Lrumer@ocnj.us.
Tuesday & Wednesday, Sept. 4-5
Ocean City Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace & Boardwalk. Pops Orchestra presents ‘Hairspray’ in collaboration with the Ocean City Theatre Company. 7:30pm. Tickets $25.
Friday Through Sunday, Sept. 7-9
Street Rod Weekend
Sports & Civic Center, 6th Street off the Boardwalk. Features classic cars on display. Sat. noon–4pm. For more information call 525-9300.
Street Rod Weekend
Ocean City Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace & Boardwalk. Our Three Tenors II. Richard Troxell, Cody Austin and Zach Borichevsky. These tenors will knock your socks off. 7:30pm. $20.
Walk for Children in Foster Care
Starts at Ocean City Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace & Boardwalk. 5k walk-a-thon to raise funds for children in foster care in NJ. Walk goes up and down the Boardwalk. Registration begins 12:30pm, walk begins 1:30pm. 977-4880. Pre-register online at fafsfoundation.org.
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 12
Ocean City Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace & Boardwalk. A Night in Old Vienna. Featuring favorite Strauss waltzes, polkas, marches and vocal jewels.Sponsored by Manco and Manco in memory of Frank Ruggieri. 7:30pm. $10 and $15.
FRIDAY & Saturday, SEPT. 14-15
Red & White Weekend
Ocean City High School, 501 Atlantic Ave. An all-class reunion of OCHS. Football game and pre-game BBQ Friday, parade on Saturday, Oct. 15. Visit ochsalumni.com.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 15
45th annual Ocean City Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament
On the beach. Registration 5-6am at Ocean City Intermediate School, 18th St. and Bay Ave. Competition 6am-12:30pm. Cost: $10 for individuals, $60 for six-member teams. Lunch served and trophies awarded at the school after the tournament. Co-sponsors: OC Dept. of Recreation and Ocean City Fishing Club. 398-0534.
Ocean City Airport Festival
At the Municipal Airport, 26th & Bay Ave. 10am–3pm. Features include a ground display of unusual airplanes ranging from World War II planes to classics and warbirds. 525-9223.
Sunday, Sept. 16
If the Eagles don’t improve on their 8-8 slate of 2011, or fail to make the playoffs for a second straight year, head coach Andy Reid will likely not return for a 15th season.
Unlike most beach towns in the Northeast, Ocean City has a large year-round population and a high school right on the beach that boasts one of the most talented surf teams in the country.
Levon and the Hawks were about to hit the stage when the band’s bass player, Rick Danko, seemed to be missing. When Frye discovered that Danko was in an Ocean City jail — busted for smoking marijuana — he had the sergeant of police in Somers Point, Lyn Bader, contact the Ocean City Police Department and persuade them to let Danko come to Tony Mart’s so the band could perform.
Signaling the end of the 2012 summer season, the South Jersey Lifeguard Championships will commence on the 34th street beach in Ocean City on Friday, Aug. 10.
“Beach chairs, shore birds, surfboards and the like. All you have to do at the show is look behind my tent and out to the beach to see what I love and what I paint. Anyone who likes coastal art will love this show.”
You might not be able to take a trip to Italy this summer, but escaping to Venice for a night is definitely a prospect.
“The races are really cool, it’s a really big South Jersey culture thing."
For the first family of American folk, Ocean City is a traditional stop on a nationwide tour that’s filled with late-night highways, city skylines and crowds of music lovers both new and old.
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