Monday, October 1, 2012

What Kind of Fish Netted in Sea Isle is This? Mullet, Striper, or ?

Fishing in the back bay in Sea Isle is fun and relaxing. I confess I don’t always have a lot of luck fishing the backwaters. My fishing experience is usually limited to small sea bass, dogfish (sandshark), oyster crackers (toadfish) and the occasional‘eater’ in the form of triggerfish, flounder or bluefish.

 While I might not always be reeling in the big one, getting out beside the water does sometimes reveal some surprises and interesting finds. I’ve been messing around with a tiny casting net. I can’t say I’ve caught much in the cast net but I have pulled up my share of peanut bunker. During one cast in Sea Isle’s Intercoastal Waterway (not far from Larsons / Ludlums landing) I landed two fish I could not identify with any certainty.  Stripped and only about 4-5 inches long. Very interesting, not as interesting as the otters spotted in the bay, but interesting to me at least :-)

I took a picture of the two fish and released them safely back into the bay.  I really wanted to find out for certain what they were. What makes these two fish so interesting is that everyone I showed the picture to not only had a different answer, but they were certain they were right. Juvenile striper, herring, mullet were all guessed to name a few. I’m still not sure. In some ways this fish looks like a combination of the three.

Any ideas?  Please comment below.


2013 Harborfest Sea Isle City

There are things to do in Sea Isle City, NJ even after the summer ends. It seems as each year goes by, more and more off-season events sprout up making Sea Isle a place to visit not just in the summer.  Harborfest is held in fisherman’s alley, a small section of Sea Isle that is gradually competing more and more with other sections of town for its share of tourist and local activity. Typically held the last weekend of September / first weekend in October, vendors set up along 42 Place right next to the amusement park. 

A fair number of Sea Isle city eateries pull up trailers or tents to serve up their fare. The Lobster loft is right across the street and open for food and drinks. There are plenty of tables and some covered areas to get out of the sun and enjoy a quick snack.  

One nice touch to Harborfest was a rather fun to watch clam eating contest that consisted of a number of locals and was hosted by a local 100.7 radio DJ (whose name eludes me), the ubiquitous businessman Jimmy Bennett, who takes the lead in organizing such events, and Mayor Lenny Desiderio.   Contestants sat on an elevated stage over a long table that somehow reminded me of The Last Supper. Each raced to finish two dozen clams first. It was good fun to watch the about nine people slurping down clams. Trophies and some nice gift certificates were awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rdplace winners.

 Harborfest is still relatively new. Not a huge crowd but definitely a big enough group of people to make it feel like you were part of something. I did see a stage set up with microphones so perhaps I missed an outdoor band performance? If I didn’t, I do think the event could have used more music like the legendary Bayfest sponsors along Bay Avenue each spring in Somers Point. That said, start small and grow big, Harborfest will get there.

 Harborfest was a nice time. Not quite the event I’d drive hours to go see, but if you are in the Sea Isle area or reasonably close by it is worth checking out on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. 

If you get a chance to check out Harborfest, don't forget to check out St. Pats in Sea Isle too. I wrote a post on this event. Click here to learn more about St. Patricks Day in Sea Isle


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spiny Purple Sea Urchins in Sea Isle City, New Jersey

I have the pleasure of being beside the waters of the Intercoastal Waterway throughout much of the summer and some brief stretches during the winter. This is a great place to really appreciate the Sea isle City bay wildlife and learn a thing or two about nature.

One of a number of interesting species I see along the Sea Isle City (SIC), New Jersey bay are sea urchins. They are usually suspended just above or just below the water surface as they hang onto the sides of a dock or bulkhead.

I am not an oceanographer so you may need to give me a little leeway here (lol) but after some rudimentary research it seems that I am looking at the purple sea urchin. I has one to two inch long spines and purple color. I’ve heard people refer to it as a sea anomie but I think they are more poisonous and not the ones I (may or may not) have identified here. Regardless don’t step on or tough these these as the points are meant for protection and will stick you.

Apparently, the purple sea urchin is comfortable resting on these docks as they mainly eat decaying matter. Old kelp, algae, decaying ocean life, plant matter, they eat all of this.

Good to know something helping to keep the bay water clean.

Sea Otters Sighted In Sea Isle City New Jersey?

On March 17, 2012 Sea Isle City hosted its annual St Patrick’s day parade and celebration. The weather was unseasonably warm (mid sixties). While the St. Pat revelry was going on in downtown Sea Isle, I was getting reports of sea otters swimming in the bay (Intercoastal Waterway) in the vicninity of 44th street just across from Larson’s boat rentals.

I was about 10 blocks away on foot so by the time I got over there the sea otters were gone. I’m not sure if anyone reading this has ever seen a sea otter in sea isle? I am not an oceanographer but I wonder if they could have been possibly river otters as my rudimentary research seems to indicate these otters are common to New Jersey?

I wish I saw it. I have heard rare reports of seals sunning themselves on people’s docks along the bay but maybe these claims are incorrect? Maybe they were otters (sea or river) instead?

Sea Isle certainly supports prey that otters enjoy such as clams, crabs, and mussels. Another prey they enjoy very much are sea urchins. I did notice in the area of the otter sighting that there were plenty of purple sea urchins hanging on the bulkheads. Perhaps this abundance of prey enticed the otters?

I wish someone was able to snap a picture. Maybe this is just another bigfoot sighting just on a smaller scale

2012 Saint Patricks in SIC NJ Review

I’ve been attending the Saint Patrick’s Day celebration in Sea Isle City, New Jersey for years now. As a Pennsylvania resident it is nice to shake off the winter cabin fever and head to Sea Isle City for a nice weekend away from town. The 2012 celebration was held on Saturday, March 17th.

St Pats is much easier than other huge events like Polar Bear Plunge to find rental housing for a comfortable place to stay. We were fortunate to rent a place that we have used in the past and it felt like coming home again.

The weather was very, very warm for a March day at the shore. Weather was in the comfortable 60’s during the day and I felt most comfortable walking around in a sweatshirt.

What made this St. Pats different from other years in SIC is that I did not visit the parade and post parade party up at the south-end of the island (63rd street). Instead, for the first time I focused my entire time further north in the central, downtown section of Sea Isle up around JFK plaza.

All of the local establishments were open and fully committed to a St Patricks day theme. The OD, La Costa and Pour House were decked out in St Pats regalia and had the usual great offering of food and drink.

The crowd was very friendly and mostly stayed inside instead of reveling on the street. The only outdoor event was the parade up around 63rd, afterward most people went into the more comfortable St Pats parties inside. That said, there were still plenty of people enjoying the ocean breeze strolling on the promenade and I did notice a few boaters on the back bay taking advantage of the nice weather.

On a side note, there were reports of sea otter sightings on 44th and the bay though by the time I got there they had left. I hope those otters make this a St. Pats tradition so I can see them next year.

The warm weather, friendly crowd and fun Irish themes made SIC St Pats as fun as any I’ve been to before. I was glad I went and I’m looking forward to next year.

St Pats in Sea Isle City New Jersey

Sea Isle City, New Jersey offers a number of winter time events that help folks to forget their winter blues and to give local business a chance to cash in on much needed off-season business.

Saint Patrick’s day in Sea Isle City (SIC) is a popular event. The crowds are not as massive as the epic Polar Bear Plunge but it is still a good time and a chance to catch up with friends.

Typically the party in Sea Isle is located toward the north, central end of the island in the region of JFK plaza. This is where the local restaurants and watering holes are occasionally open in the off-season for special events. What makes St. Pats different from other SIC events is that much of the fun is concentrate at the south end of the Island. Much of the festivities occur near Kixx-McNutley on 63rd street. The SIC St Patrick’s parade begins on 93rd street and works its way north. The parade is far from spectacular but if you feel part of Sea Isle it is a fun way to spend the middle, late afternoon. The parade features local police and firefighters, bag pipes and local politicians and personalities.

The parade ends at 63rd street but the fun keeps going. The party is just beginning as revelers head into Kixx McNutley on 63rd to imbibe in warm refreshments and food. One Kixx tradition I love is when the bag pipe band finishes the parade they usually march inside and continue to play to the delight of the crowd.

For those who do not want to stroll all the way up to 63rd, there are plenty of places with food and drink open near the center of town close to JFK. All the establishments host some sort of St. Patrick’s day fun. The OD, LaCosta, and Pour House all deck out in St Pats themes and stay open for the weekend.

I enjoy this event every year. It is a nice alternative to the big crowds of Philadelphia. SIC holds a nice festive event that I hope continues for years to come.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

2012 Sea Isle City SIC Polar Bear Plunge Review

The 2012 Sea Isle City Polar Bear plunge was yet another hit. This annual event reached its 18th consecutive season on February 18, 2012.

The plunge featured the usual thousands of bathers running into the very cold Atlantic Ocean waters. This follows a terrific costume contest. It is estimated that 50,000 other souls came out to support the event by watching the swimmers and participating in the numerous events surrounding the 2012 Polar Bear Plunge.

All in all I thought the plunge was again another big hit in Sea Isle City (SIC). The plungers ran into and out of the ocean to everyone’s delight. It hurts me (who never goes into the winter water) to watch these folks do this but they seem to love it. They all went in bravely and came out laughing, shivering and with skin as pink as a baby girl's bedroom.

The events surrounding the 2012 Polar Bear were as solid as usual. There were plenty of local and regional vendors selling various goods and food. There were plenty of police on hand who seemed to do a great job keeping things from getting out of hand without spoiling any of the fun.

The entire LaCosta campus was under a giant tent to accommodate thousands of people. Revelers swarmed there to watch the great bands, embrace the festivity and imbibe for a while.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Find Roommates For Shore House You Rented in Sea Isle Avalon Etc

OK, you have committed to renting an entire shorehouse for the summer in Sea Isle City, New Jersey (or Avalon or Wildwood, or wherever.) You've committed yourself to tens of thousands of dollars. You need to find roommates or you'll be broke.

The bane of anyone who takes the responsibility of running a shorehouse is finding roommates and then getting them to pay. There is a lot of pressure to find people because your money, and often the money of others, is on the line. The closer you get to the number of roommates you want, the less you'll have to pay for the house.

There are a number of ways to find beach roommates. Here are some suggestions for finding beach roommates

1. Ask other "shore-people" within your network of aquaintences. People who spend summer weekends renting at the shore are die hards. They also switch homes like baseball players switch teams. If you've spend summers at the shore, you'll know these people. Find out if anyone is looking to leave last summer's house for a new beach house. Finding another shore person is good because 1) You might already know their personality 2) You might be able to ask their last shore house what kind of person they are and if they pay on-time 3) This person is familiar with the shore culture and knows what to expect

2. Ask friends that have visited but never 'did' the shore. Visit a shore house once and your hooked. Ask these people who've been down the shore before. They might say 'no' but I assure you they will wish they could. Everyone who comes to the shore as a guest has told me they wish they could spend the summer like I do. This is what makes them a good lead to ask.

If they say 'yes' you've scored big! Getting friends in your summer home is always more comfortable than rolling the dice with strangers.

3. Ask friends and acquaintances outside the shore. Just like in #2, it always is better if you get someone you know.

4. Ask other people who run shore houses. Very similar to #1 except you are focusing on the so-called 'leader' or 'leaders' of other beach houses. These are the people who collect the rent, sign the lease and otherwise tend to take the most responsibility. They tend to have their finger on the pulse of not only their house but other homes as well. They can tell you if they are losing roommates in their own home or know of people leaving other shore houses.

5. Ask real estate agents that are located at your shore point. I've actually never done this when looking for people to fill 'my' beach house. I have done it when looking to get into some else's beach house. That said, it is worth a try. Ask a local realtor if they know of anyone interested in being part of your shore house. If they don't know of any, leave them your number in case they come up with someone.

Keep in mind, you'll likely be bringing on a stranger (rather common at the shore) so be sure this person is a right fit for your house. .

6. Social Network. FB etc. Do it. Use social network sites to get the word out.

7. Craigslist, etc. Posting vacancies on internet sites like Craigs list does work and sometimes really well. Be sure to keep in mind there are risks in doing this since you are bringing in a total stranger. Make sure they are right for your group.

Have any other ideas? Let me know in comments below. Would love to hear from you.

When you start meeting these people be sure to ask them lots of questions to make sure they are the right fit for your shorehouse.

Be sure they can pay too! Get a deposit.

If you are someone who wants to be part of a shore house. That is, you are not looking to fill a house with people rather you are searching for a group already in a house. Check out this article I wrote How to Get in on a Shore House.

If you want more insight into getting the best roommates, especially if you are walking into a home full of people you may not know, check out these tips.

Find Best Beach Roommates in Sea Isle

If you are looking to get in on a beach house this summer and you are not sure where to start, check out my post Get in On Sea Isle Shore House For Whole Summer. I wrote this article with Sea Isle City, NJ in mind but it can apply to a lot of other shore points.

If you already have a few leads on people looking for shore house roommates, you will want to make sure that you find people that you will make you happy.

I highly suggest after making first contact, set up a meeting. It will be unlikely you will meet the whole group at once but at least get some face time key people.

Ask These Questions:

1. What is the total price of the shore house for the summer?

2. How much will it cost me?

3. How many people are in the shore house? Find out if you are comfortable with that number of people. For some, crowds mean a great party and social life. For others, just a few people allow for good one-on-one and comfort..

4. How many bedrooms are in the shore house? Very important question. Make sure you understand if you'll be 'guaranteed' a bed, or at least space on one, every time you are down. Will you be spending time on the floor at night? Very possible. Some houses have 3 bedrooms and 20 people. Other homes have 5 bedrooms and 5 people. Find out.

5. What does everyone like to do? Another big question. Think about your personality and then think about these potential answers:

"We are all big drinkers, up all night."
"We're pretty quiet. The guys fish and the girls lay out all day."
"We get up real early in the morning."
"We are single and looking to make out"
"All of us are married"
"We don't want people over at all hours"

Make sure you understand what personalities you are getting involved with first.

6. What is the guest policy? Ask if you can have guests come over or not. Often this policy changes as the summer progresses but not always. Some shore roommates don't care how many guests you bring down and how often. Others put restrictions on the amount of times you can have the same person over. Some insist on having guests pay every time they visit. Find this out and then consider what this means to you and those you have relationships with who are not 'in' on the shore house.

7. How long do we have the house for? Can we use it any time we want? Typical shore house summers last the weekend before memorial day to the weekend after labor day but not every house has this policy. Find out.

8. Is there a lease? Especially if you do not know these people, it never hurts to make sure this is all legit. Heck, I've never done this, but it wouldn't hurt to contact the realtor to make sure the lease is real and so are the names of these people.

9. Where is the house? I did a whole article on locations in Sea Isle City for beach house. Regardless of which beach you are staying, be sure to find out where the house is. Location says a lot. Do you want the house to be close to the beach or the bay? Close to the bar? Is the house in a flood zone? Close to town? Close to restaurants? Ask.

10. Pets? Allergies? Do you have any? Do They have any? Important stuff

11. Attitude and expectations. This is related to number 5 above. Think about the qualities you most admire and least admire in a person. Don't think so much about your own personality, rather think about what makes you happy or upset when you meet others. Then find out if any of the 'happy' or 'upset' qualities are rooming in the same house. For example, if you loathe the aggressive in-your-face types, ask if there are any in the house. That sort of thing.

12. Is the house nice? I can only speak for Sea Isle City, New Jersey but I can say that most houses are really nice. Modern appliances, great carpets, spacious rooms, central air conditioning, nice beds, etc. Others beach homes are more worn out. Torn screens, old furniture, dirty carpets, limited or no air conditioning, etc. Get an idea of what the house is like

13. What days do people come down? Some beach homes are only in use during the weekends. People drive down Fri night or Sat morning and then leave on Sunday. Others, especially homes with a lot of teachers, stay during the week or even for the whole summer. Some folks work odd hours and just come during the week. See if this works with your schedule.

The bottom line is be specific about what you want. There will always be surprises, good and bad, when you get involved with a group. Try to eliminate as many bad surprises as possible.

If you are looking to rent a house for the whole summer and want to find good people to split the rent and the summer fun with you, check out these tips as well.

Get in On Sea Isle Shore House For Whole Summer

Getting in on a Sea Isle City, New Jersey shore house for the whole summer is easier than you might think. A lot of people spend their dog days of summer wishing they could afford a shore house. They wish they had a home to go to in Sea Isle or Ocean City or Wildwood or Avalon, etc but feel they don't have the money to do it.

You do not need to own a home down the shore or have to rent one all by yourself to spend your summer at the beach. You don't need a million dollars. There are already throngs of people who weekend at the shore every summer who are not spending tens of thousands of dollars a year for beach property. These 'shore people' rent a beach home for the entire summer or half of the summer and then get a bunch of roommates to split the rent.

A summer rental usually allows 24 hour access to the home for the length of the lease. From my experience, a typical full seasonal lease, runs from the weekend prior Memorial Day to Labor Day or the weekend after.

The price is really expensive. Price for the whole summer can run $20,000 - $30,000. Sometimes less, sometimes more. Depends on the size, condition and location of the house.

For the past 10 years I figure I spend myself about $2100-$2700 yearly to get in on a group rental. This number will fluctuate based the price of the house (for the rental term) divided by the amount of people in the house.

If you want to get involved with group shore house there are a couple things you want to start doing.

1. Ask around. Ask everyone you know. Ask people at work. Ask your friends. Just ask. The New Jersey shore scene is truly a devoted sub culture that is not entirely on-the-radar so to speak. No, this isn't some fanatical sect. These are everyday people who just love the beach scene. You might be surprised how many people do summer beach houses. The best part is, they are almost always looking for people.

2. Craigslist and other ads. Always be wary of strangers but, honestly, a lot of people look for house mates this way. Use good judgement when responding to ads, meet in public places, make sure they are for real and see a lease before sending any money.

3. FB. FB other social media. Checking ads and other social media will certainly turn up potential shore roommates. Just throw the comment out there that you want to be in on a shore house and you'll be bound to run into someone, who knows someone who has done this.

3. Ask Realtors at the shore. Pick a shore you would like to spend the most time in. Ask a realtor in that area if he knows of anyone looking for roommates. They often have people who rent from them that also ask them if they know anyone looking for a place to stay.

Once you have a few leads you'll want to be sure you find the
best beach roommates (click here)

If you already have rented a house and need to fill it with people, check out these important tips.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What Does SIC on Back of Cars Mean?

Have you seen those magnets on the back of cars and SUV's that say "SIC" ?  You probably wonder what the SIC stands for.

If you are an English major, don't assume for a minute that magnet refers to an error that already exists in a quotation.  Especially don't make this assumption if you see the SIC magnet / bumper sticker in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware tri-state area.  I think people would take offense to this presumption. It would be up there with accusing someone's sister of being their mother.

The initials S.I.C. stand for Sea Isle City. Sea Isle City is located in Cape May County New Jersey.  People who display these magnets or bumper stickers are big fans of this shore point. They usually vacation there in the summer.

If you've ever seen one of these magnets, comment below and let us know.  Sea Isle is a great spot and deserves a little recognition (though not too much, I'd hate to see it get too crowded.  I love the fishing, the nightlife, the great beach, the wonderful bay, the boating and the great fun and friends I've had and made there over the years.
So next time someone askes you "What does SIC on the back of cars mean?"  Tell them Sea Isle City, then scoff at them as if they are stupid... kidding.

Another Sea Isle Summer Shore Post

So are you Irish or not?  Even if you have not one trace of Irish blood in your family, you should still get out and celebrate St. Pats.  A cool place to do that is, believe it or not Sea Isle.  Read my review of St. Pats in Sea Isle here.

Rent House For Polar Bear in Sea Isle, NJ - Good Luck!

If you plan on renting  a house in Sea Isle City, New Jersey for their annual Polar Bear Plunge I highly suggest that you do not wait until a few days or even a few weeks before the event.
Sea Isle City is largely a vacation town and there are rentals available in the winter.  For the enormously popular Polar Bear Plungemany of the available houses are being used by their respective owners so they can attend the event. The rest of the homes for rent go really fast.  
Some years back assumed the landlord we rent from in the summer would allow us to rent the house for the Polar Bear.  By the time we asked him it was running late and he wasn't sure if it would be available to us or not.   There was no way we were going to miss 'The Plunge' so we decided to contact a friend of ours that owns multiple properties in Sea Isle.   They were all rented!

The humanity!
Desperate we went to a real estate agent who offered us a place to stay for about six hundred dollars.  We almost shelled out the money but our summer landlord bailed us out (he really is a saint).  We were able to get into his house at the last minute.
My point to all this is don't assume that Sea Isle, NJ is such a sleepy town during the winter that you'll be able to just rent a house anytime.  The Polar Bear Plunge is a wildly popular and successful event.  The island is as full as any summer weekend.  It gets real crowded.
Good luck in your efforts to rent a house for the Polar Bear  Sea Isle City , NJ    Plan ahead early and you'll be OK.

More Great Posts on Sea Isle City Summer Shore By TurtleDog

There Actually is a Farmer's Market in Sea Isle City

Ever Hear of "The OD" ? Sea Isle Hot Spot

Monday, January 23, 2012

What is Sea Isle's Polar Bear Plunge?

OK, if you don't know about Sea Isle's Polar Bear Plunge you are definitely not 'in-the-know'.   This post will explain what the plunge is all about, when it is and who attends it.

What The Heck is the Polar Bear Plunge ?

Sea Isle City, NJ hosts a Polar Bear Plunge every year in February.    You need a strange combination of ingredients to have a successful plunge.  You Need:

1. A town or city with some kind of body of water that people can jump into.  Lakes, ponds, the ocean, etc

2. That area needs to experience very cold temperatures at least part of the year.

3. A bunch of people crazy, insane, sick enough to want to jump into those waters at bitter cold temperatures and typically willing to pay a fee to do so as well.  Oh yeah, these guys also tend to sign a waiver bascially saying, "Yeah, hypothermia is not a problem for me."

4. A cult of people, like me, who do not go into the water but love to watch everyone jump in.

So, People Jump in? That's all That Happens?

No! I mean, 'yes' people jump in the water, in bathing suits and come out all pink and shivering while others (like me) watch in warm winter clothing but 'no' that is not all that happens.  Afterward, the real festival begins.  You need to be a true reveller to enjoy SIC Polar Plunge.  All the watering holes are open and people drink, eat and party in delight all night long.  

There is also a terrific costume contest held prior to everyone jumping into the water.  You must be one of the folks registered to jump into the water to dress up and compete in the costume contest.

What Kind of People Go To The Plunge

 Besides watching everyone jump into the ice cold ocean the rest of the festivities is pretty much a 21 year  old an over event.  That said, the age range can go from 21 to 121 years old. Big age range.    I'm in my 40's and I feel pretty comfortable at the plunge, especially during the afternoon when that is likely the median age range.  As the event gets later it is more a crowd in their twenties.

I'd say about 50,000 people attend the event.  I'll venture to say 'only' 2000-3000 actually go into the water. The rest are their for the party.  Don't believe me? Wait until the a couple weeks before The Plunge and then try renting a house anywhere in Sea Isle  for that weekend. You'll have a hard time getting one.
In my years of going to Sea Isle during the weekend's in the summer, I find that a large percentage of attendees (swimmers and non swimmers alike) consist of especially hard-core, devoted SIC summer renters.  If you've been weekending in Sea Isle during the summer, you'll likely see the same friends at the Polar Bear.

When is The plunge?

Usually the 3rd weekend in February.  I wrote a brief post on that date here

When Does it Start?

Historically, the plunge happens at 2:00 then the party begins and doesn't stop until late at night.

Didn't Someone Tragically Die at The Polar Bear Plunge?

Yes, and this is one of the saddest subjects I've ever added to a blog post.  A woman named Tracy Hottenstien from Conshocken PA passed away in February, 2009 during this event.  She did not die from the actual 'plunge' portion of this event.  Her death was ruled an accident due to intoxication and hypothermia that occurred sometime outside, near the marinas, during the evening. Some suspect she was murdered, though it does not appear there is any evidence supporting that claim.   If you know of any details of her passing, please contact the Sea Isle City Police Department.  I did not know Tracy but I've heard nothing but good things about her so if you know of anything, please let the authorities know.

Have Fun and Be Careful

The Polar Bear plunge is great fun and a big part of Sea Isle's winter culture.  Sea Isle is a very safe town but always be aware of your surroundings, especially at night.  Be careful how much you drink and never drink and drive.  You owe it to yourself and others to have a good time, but more importantly, to be safe and healthy.

More Great Posts on Sea Isle City Summer Shore by TurtleDog

When The Party Stops and The Family Fun Begins, Will My Kids Like Sea Isle City?

I Gotta Go! Where Are The Public Restrooms in SIC ?

Sea Isle City NJ Polar Bear Plunge Date

Sea Isle City has some great winter events to keep things in town hot during the cold weather.  Every year Sea Isle City, NJ hosts its own Polar Bear Plunge.

You may have heard of Polar Bear Plunges at other places in the United States.  Basically, if a town has a body of water nearby, experiences cold temperatures,  and has a cult of crazy people willing to jump in freezing cold water, you have a plunge.

If you want to learn more about 'The Plunge' I wrote a post that will tell you what to expect. Click here to learn more.

Please Check Out Some of These Other SIC Posts

Get Cheaper Beach Tags in Sea Isle

Any Idea What Street I Should Rent on During Summer?

Historically, the plunge is held the third Saturday of February.  It is held every year.   In 2012, the plunge will be held on February 18. People start jumping into the water typically at 2:00 in the afternoon.  

If you are reading this post and 2012 Plunge has passed check with Sea Isle City for future dates or leave me a message and I'll check for you (as well as update this post)

It is a huge event that draws big crowds that do not even go into the water.  Mark your calendar!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Do Boats Pay Toll to Lift Townsends Sea Isle Avalon Bridge ?

Townsends Inlet bridge is located between Sea Isle and Avalon.  It gets a lot of car traffic over the bridge and plenty of boat traffic under the bridge.   I've driven over this bridge, walked over it and bicycled across it.  I took a boat under it once too and that was pretty cool.  It was not a very big boat though.  It was not one of those vessels that is so tall that the bridge has to lift so the boat can get underneath.

Every so often you'll see traffic lined up on the Sea Isle side and the Avalon side.  The cars are unable to cross the bridge because the toll operator has raised it so that an especially tall boat can get underneath.  I'm not exactly sure if the boat somehow signals the toll person or if the toll person simply keeps a watchful eye out for tall vessels and opens the bridge when needed, but I can say that I have seen it lift and watch some pretty amazing boats pass right on under.

The last time I saw the bridge raise I wondered how much it costs a boater to take his or her watercraft under the bridge.  Actually, better said, I wondered how much money it costs to have the toll operator lift the bridge.

When the ship passed and the bridge closed I pulled my car up along side the toll collector to pay my crossing fee.  I asked him what the price is to raise the bridge so a boat can fit below it.   The answer was that is costs nothing to lift the bridge.  Raising the bridge is free and is a courtesy to boaters.

If you have a really tall craft and want to travel beneath the townsends inlet bridge it won't cost you anything.

Of course, that is as of the date of this article.  If they decide to start EzPass beneath bridges sometime in the future, don't blame me :-)
How About Bicycles - Do I have to Pay a Toll To Bike Across The Bridge?

Bike Toll Over the Sea Isle Avalon Townsends Inlet Bridge ?

I do not bike very often but for some reason the shore is just the place to ride. The surfaces are paved and flat and the traffic, compared to the Philadelphia region, tends to be more forgiving and wary of bicyclists.

I rode my bike one weekend from Sea Isle City (SIC) to Ocean City. As I don't ride often, I was really tired but I simply loved the trip.  Riding on two wheels gave me the chance to slow down and see these popular shore points from a different perspective.  It was very enjoyable.

The following weekend I really pushed myself (and remember, I'm not real good on a bicycle) and went from SIC all the way down to Wildwood.

Pedalling over both the Townsends' inlet bridge and the Corson's Inlet bridge led me to two of the same questions. Is there a toll?

At each bridge I asked the toll collector this very question. Do I have to pay when I am on a bike?.  The answer was 'no' you do not have to pay.  The toll collector will let you cross the bridge at no charge if you are on a non-motorized vehicle.

Just a side note, but one thing I really enjoyed when going over the Townsends bridge from SIC to Avalon was the arch of the bridge.  Going up was kind of tough and I really had to down shift the gears.  Once I got over the arch though, I really picked up some speed. I hit close to 30 miles per hour coming down.  Of course, by applying the brakes you don't have to go this fast, but it was fun and a nice relief from the hard pedal up.  Be careful going down though. Be real careful.  Cars will try to pass you and there is a slight curve toward the bottom of the bridge. Don't steer into traffic or lose control, you'll get really hurt and I'd hate to see that happen to anyone.

The Corson's bridge, by contrast, is a much easier but less exhilarating ride.  It is a very flat surface but pretty scenic. Just don't get too carried away looking around.  There are plenty of cars so be careful.

OK... What About When The Bridge Lifts For A Huge Boat? Does The Boat Have to Pay Anything ?

Will My Kids Like Sea Isle City New Jersey

A lot of people ask if Sea Isle City is a good place for people with children. Sea Isle does have a reputation as a bit of a party town but there are plenty of family events and things to do.

The Playground

In the past few years, I've really seen Sea Isle City, NJ develop facilities that are more and more kid and family oriented.  There is a giant playground / sports facility for young kids and teenagers up along 63rd and Landis.  This play ground is second to none. There is a full baseball and soccer field. There is a roller hockey rink and there is a pretty decent skateboard park.

There are tennis courts too.

For younger kids, there is a fairly diverse playground with swings, a rather awesome jungle gym fort and other terrific fun things to do.

Family Music - Excursion Park

If you enjoy some free, family orientated music, Sea Isle has quite a music venue called Excursion Park.  There is ample lawn and bench seating and the stage is huge. The sound system is great too.  Excursion park is at the end of JFK Boulevard, ocean side of the island, next to the Promenade.

Free Concerts at Excursion Park 

Beachcomber Walk

For those of you vacationing during the week, there are weekly beach comber walks.  Local naturalists teach families about the beach, shells and the ocean.  It is very family oriented, geared more toward children but, even as a grown up, I always manage to learn something new.

Learn More About Beachcomber

The Promenade

The promenade is a concrete 'boardwalk' that runs along the ocean-side of the island.  There are a couple of arcades along the promenade for young kids and teenagers.

Skateboards, roller blades and bicycles are allowed during certain hours

Here Are The Times You Can Skateboard, Bike and Rollerblade on Promenade

Ocean City

By contrast, I think Ocean City, NJ is probably the ultimate kid friendly town as it is a dry town (no bars) and has an outstanding boardwalk. Ocean City really is, in my humble opinion, the ultimate family resort. That said, you don't have to vacation in Ocean City to enjoy it.  It is just a short ride (20 mins or so) from Sea Isle and I'd recommend a visit with the kids if you are nearby.

So, Is Sea Isle Good For Kids?

I think if you plan ahead, be aware of the kid-spots I told you about and do a little research on your own, you'll find it a fairly kid friendly town.  

Did You Know About The Farmers Market in Sea Isle - Click Here