Wildwood Days

Stuck in a shore rut? Discover new ways to enjoy your favorites at The Wildwoods, where the kitchy Do-Wop culture makes for a mash-up of retro memories and inspired playfulness on the New Jersey island, culminating in a carnival cacophony of color, aroma, and sounds along the boardwalk.
Friday night arrivals throughout the summer are illuminated for arriving vacationers with a canopy of fireworks mirroring the amusement-lit piers. The resulting fanfare couldn’t be more welcoming. Cruise through town to take in the ‘50s throw-back architecture, a mixture of preserved nostalgia and restored Jetson’s campiness. Then dive into the press of boardwalk masses to take a spin on the merry-go-round or send your stomach churning on the new gravity-mocking “it” ride (which may be short for vom-it). Horror-adoring teens can get their scream on with a scurry through the Ghost Ship, where a cast of face-melted zombies startle and terrify at every turn. Set the kids loose to enjoy late night snacks of water ice and boardwalk pizza, while you start your own tradition surveying the scene from the upper deck of Joe’s Fish Company with a signature margarita or on Jumbo’s heated oceanview patio, daiquiri in hand. Don’t miss Chef Wally’s cuban spiced Curley Fries with cilantro cream dip, a decidedly grown-up way to enjoy a boardwalk staple.
Mornings bring their own pleasures, where you can perambulate the mile-long route unencumbered by crowds in neon-free peace, or motor under peddle power on a rented bike or surrey. Dine decadently, shore-style by taking your morning meal for a sky high spin atop the 156-foot high Ferris wheel at Morey’s Piers. “Breakfast in the Sky” offers whimsical white linen service with an ever changing view. Our shrimp and lobster omelet and blueberry-smothered Belgian waffle came with a basket of pastries and breakfast breads, as well as a selection of fresh squeezed juices and steaming coffee – an $85 luxurious indulgence amid the boardwalk bargains. Keep your eyes on the ocean for dolphins playing in the waves, or watch the amusements wake as workers polish and test each ride before the day’s adventurers arrive.
While expansive free beaches abound in the Wildwoods with boogie board and body surfing possibilities, families with kids in tow usually find their way to one of the boardwalk waterparks, where everyone can find a new way to get wet, from waterslides to lilypad hopping to a cascade from an overflowing oversized bucket. Stressed out parents who usually discover solace by floating in the Lazy Rivers that encircle the maze of slides have a novel opportunity to achieve a zen state among the chaos. Somehow amid the whoosh of an overhead roller coaster and above the squeals of the water filled attractions, the Ocean Oasis Waterpark and Beach Club manages to offer a relaxing menu of spa services from massages to reflexology to sea salt foot scrubs that turn the clutter of amusement sounds into pleasant background noise that blends with the ocean waves. And the adult swim up bar doesn’t hurt either.
The best dining bargain at the beach has to be the early bird dinner special at Jersey Girl at the corner of Schellenger and Atlantic avenues two blocks from the boardwalk. For $25 between 5 and 6 p.m., two people can have their choice of four entrees as well as a second course. Choosing between the entrees like Chicken Baltimore and Grilled Mojito Hanger is hard enough, but deciding to go with an appetizer like island favorite Eggplant Crepes or indulging in a treat like Whiskey Bourbon Bread Pudding demands repeat visits to savor both. Proprietors Phil and Debbie John pride themselves on a fresh, inventive menu and their own delightful homemade desserts. 

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Breakfast in the Sky continues each extended weekend through August, with seatings Friday mornings through Monday mornings. For reservations, please call 609-846-1624. For full menu, schedule and more information, visit www.moreyspiers.com

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