True Meaning behind “Jersey Strong”
Reality television shows like “Jersey Shore” and the “Real Housewives of New Jersey (NJ)” give viewers only a glimpse of what life is like in the Garden State. In true reality, life at the Jersey Shore is unlike and much more than the “GTL” (Gym, Tan, Laundry) lifestyle.
I’ve grown up at the Jersey Shore and traveled from exit 117 in Keyport to exit 0 in Cape May in which I’ve watched countless sunsets along the coastline, ate at a number of delicious restaurants and sunbathed on all of my favorite beaches.
My favorite vacation spot is off exit 63 in Long Beach Island (LBI). Without offering a busy boardwalk for its visitors, LBI still attracts beachgoers to its 18 miles of sandy New Jersey beaches. The historic surfer retail store, Ron Jon Surf Shop has greeted LBI visitors since opening its doors in 1959. Sights such as the Barnegat Lighthouse and restaurants like Chicken or the Egg keep annual visitors coming back to enjoy their favorite pastimes.
While there are hotspot attractions like the Point Pleasant and Seaside boardwalks, there are also beach towns which offer more relaxed and secluded views and entertainment.
The small town of Keyport offers its citizens and visitors alike big New York City views peeking out from across the Raritan Bay. Keyport spots like the Keyport Fishery and Mike’s Sub Shop have been serving local and visiting customers for over 50 years. In just a short drive, New Jersey residents can travel from the Keyport waterfront, past local farms to vast parks such as Holmdel Park.
Whether they live near an ocean, in a suburb or city or on a secluded farm, Garden State residents share the same value of “Jersey Strong.” Under two miles away from Keyport is Union Beach, one of hardest hit towns along the Jersey Shore during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The hope and perseverance of Union Beach and of the surrounding local communities portrayed the strength of the people living in the state.
Out of state visitors may pass in and out of the Jersey Shore hot spots once the summer has come to an end, but it’s the residents of these tiny beach towns who share a feeling of a united community. Jersey residents have been strong long before reality television show “Jersey Shore” dubbed the “GTL” lifestyle.
Leah Carton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org