Monday, May 30, 2011

Besides the Shore: Where do you vacation?

Ahhh Memorial Day traffic. When I traded my "shoobie" moniker for "local" upon moving to the South Jersey Shore in 1999, I learned quickly to bulk up on supplies for big weekends and hope that I didn't have to get in the car - or God forbid - cross a bridge to go to the mainland during this time. Early reports are that local tourists are flocking to the Jersey Shore and predictions are that visits will be up throughout the summer . . . weather permitting

Good news for the economy, but the report also got me waxing nostalgic. Since I moved from the Shore in 2005, I often miss that feeling of relaxation that makes so many pile in cars and brave the roads. But the traffic is intimidating. Despite advice on back roads, or leaving during different times, I usually I opt for day trips during the week now.

But yesterday, due west, away from the beach, my wife and I strolled around Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA (different states, symbiotic economies). And I noticed something: The Jersey Shore vibe. No guidos running around getting into fights . . . quite the opposite. Just a lot of relaxed people, escaping for the weekend, enjoying their days off. Very similar to my memories of the Shore.

A month ago, I tried to capture my feelings on moving to Lambertville in a short video:

As we had dinner at Bell's Tavern in Lambertville and drinks at The Landing in New Hope, I looked around and saw packed restaurants, lots of cargo shorts, flip flops and even some Hawaiian shirts. A lot of motorcycles. It was an overall sense of electricity in the air with a side of chill.

Many people in the area get away to the beach and enjoy the ocean. And some also come to the many NJ river towns: Lambertville, Stockton, Frenchtown & Milford to enjoy the scenery along this bucolic part of the Delaware River. It's a different vacation, and for many, a different vibe. But I had actually had many similar feelings last night as I did when I lived in Margate City. No beach, but the vacation relaxation vibe was apparent and intoxicating. Just more humid with no salt in the air.

There are many other local non-shore relaxation spots. Let's not forget the many lake towns in Morris, Warren Passaic & Sussex. Some people also do the Poconos in PA or Lake George area in NY.

So I needed to ask the question: Besdies the Jersey Shore, what local spots do you visit to chill out in the summer?