Yesterday, we did one of our most favorite Jersey Shore things. We went to the Point Pleasant Boardwalk, played in the arcades, and put the kids on some rides. Growing up here, going to the boardwalk was a favorite family activity. I remember heading up to the boardwalk with my family, my parents would give me some money to spend at the arcade or on wheel games. And when you won something it was total elation! Then we would go on a few rides and get cotton candy or ice cream. Once we were teenagers, we’d spend summer Friday nights on the boards. It was a favorite hangout spot, a favorite date spot, and just a part of life here.
The coolest thing about the boardwalk is that, although the rides get repainted and maintained, not much really changes. Yesterday, I stood near the kids balloon ride and closed my eyes. The sounds have not changed in the 30 years that I have conscious memories of coming here. The ringing of the train signal as the train passes through the walking areas, the bells of the wheel games and water-balloon stands, the hum of Jersey families all talking about which ride to go on next, the occasional loud outburst of a North Jersey mom, accent and all, yelling at a kid to stop whining. The smells are the same too-the salty air mixed with an intoxicating blend of cotton candy and funnel cake. Yes, the boardwalk is a place we can bring our children and know that they are experiencing, for the most part, exactly what we experienced at the same age.
Some of the rides are just a rite of passage. There are the boats, the crocodiles, the motorcycles, and of course the ferris wheel and the carousel. Our kids are getting bigger now, and are graduating to some of the bigger-kid rides, which hold a little less nostalgic value for me. Although, when I see them on the Super-Himalaya, with it’s loud music blasting, I am 14 again with that cute guy I used to ride it with 😉 .
We had so much fun bringing the kids to the boardwalk this week. We loaded them each up with quarters for the arcade, which they mostly spent on the crane games and skee ball. Then they got to cash in any points they had won for prizes, which are always less valuable than the quarters spent to win them, but it’s all about the experience! They were a little bummed they didn’t get to go on all the rides they wanted to, but it leaves something to look forward to. We love that they are growing to love this place as much as we always did.