Jersey shore looking ahead to summer

April 17, 2009 6:18:48 PM PDT
Today's warm weather found store owners and tourists anticipating the season to come.

The period right now is called the shoulder season: the couple of months before the onslaught of summer visitors. The shoulder was looking pretty strong today, thanks to some decent weather.

"We walked the boardwalk for a while," said Judy Schorr of Manahawkin. "And we liked the shops. They have nice shops here. You know, we just got some exercise and enjoyed the nice weather for a change."

The sunshine brought out plenty of people: some for the weekend, others just for the day. They were shopping in stores, catching a surrey ride and sampling boardwalk food - much to the delight of Walt Gauta of Walt's Primo Pizza.

"It's really good," he said. "I'm hoping the weather stays nice and we'll be packed."

Sandee Simpson of Bellmawr and her friend Carolyn O'Brien are teachers off from school. Like many others today, they just enjoyed a day at the shore.

"Can life get any better?" said Simpson. "Kohr Brothers' custard, Mack and Manko's pizza, sunshine, a day in Ocean City. Life is great."

Businesses were sprucing up for the new season, which merchants hope will be bright despite economic gloom. It is another reason to get a good, if not early, start.

"It's always important every year," said Wendy Barth of Separately Swimwear. "With the economy the way it is, a little more, because we don't know what we have ahead of us. But it's always a good thing to have a nice, strong shoulder season, whether it's spring or fall."

"We anticipate it every year," said Robbie Eger of By the Sea. "It doesn't happen every year, but we hope it does."

A few people braved the cold wind off the ocean to get a little sand between their toes. But most were content to enjoy the boardwalk and all it had to offer.

"We like to go to Mack and Manko's," said Sophia Klin of Binghamton, New York, sampling a slice of pizza. "We've never tried this [brand] before, but we like it."

And so there is a nip in the air. But the sun is shining, the shops are open and visitors are starting to think seriously about the sea shore season of 2009.

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