10 Boardwalk Foods You gotta eat
Fatty, delicious, greasy awesomeness. Don't even think
about dieting at the shore.
The Jersey Shore boardwalks are known for beaches, sun, rides, and fun. Less well known
are the local delicacies—the foods that make any trip to the Shore complete. Throw those
Weight Watchers points to the wind and let the gluttony begin. These are the Shore treats
that everyone must try before they die.
Raw dough drizzled through a funnel into
piping-hot grease and then covered with
powdered sugar. Awesome.
Jersey pizza has a thin crust, a tangy sauce,
and lots of cheese on top. Get it plain with
garlic powder or with pepperoni.
3. FRIED OREOS
Oreo cookies dipped in batter and fried, then
covered with powdered sugar.
Deep-fried dough balls topped with
powdered sugar. Think Italian doughnut.
On the boardwalk, it’s all about vanilla or
chocolate twist cones. Kohr Brothers ice
cream is the local favorite.
6. PORK ROLL & CHEESE
A Jersey staple. Pork roll (a.k.a. Taylor ham,
a.k.a. Canadian bacon) is grill-fried and
served with cheese on a bun.
7. Italian SANDWICH
A sandwich roll with Italian sausage,
peppers, onions, and sauce. Topping with
vinegar or cheese is optional.
8. CHEESE FRIES
French fries smothered with melted cheese
or drowned in vinegar and salt. Sometimes
called Boardwalk Fries.
Clams steamed in their shells and served
with melted butter. Best by the dozen.
10. FUDGE & SALTWATERTAFFY
A Jersey Shore classic, saltwater taffy was
invented in Atlantic City during the 1880s.
New Jersey gets a bad rap. Its official title may be the Garden State, but the “Armpit of America” slur is the one you’re more likely to know. Yet millions of people flock to the Jersey Shore every year. That’s right, millions. Perplexed? Don’t be. New Jersey has a lot more going for it than just turnpikes and airports, and the Jersey Shore is a pristine, 120-mile stretch of coastline with a culture and identity all its own. The Shore is home to wooden roller coasters, birding lookouts, whale-watching tours, historic roadside architecture, and glitzy casinos. Ice cream cones on sun-baked boardwalks, amusement park rides after dinner, and long days of surf and sand are why families come back to the same beaches— not just through the years but through generations. My mother’s family first stayed at Avalon Campground, in the southern part of the Shore, 40 years ago. I’m still a regular visitor. Back in the days before air conditioning, the Shore’s ocean breezes provided relief from the scorching summer heat, especially for those who lived in crowded cities like New York or Philadelphia.
Where you lived dictated what part of the
Shore you visited. New Yorkers chose
the northern beaches of Long Branch,
Asbury Park, and Ocean Grove, while
Philadelphians flocked to southern
Shore hotspots like Atlantic City, Avalon,
Stone Harbor, and the Wildwoods.
The Shore hasn’t really changed all
that much since then, although these
days you’re likely to get free Wi-Fi in
your motel or rented house. The famous
boardwalks are still there, and today each
has a character all its own. Wildwood’s
boardwalk is known for its terrifying
rides, naughty T-shirt shops, and games
of chance. Ocean City tolerates none of
the above—the town doesn’t even allow
smoking on its stretch of boardwalk.
Atlantic City’s boardwalk—the first ever
built—is a mash-up of both, with a few
casinos thrown in.
The hundreds of motor lodges that
sprung up after World War II in towns like
Wildwood were considered revolutionary
in the 1950s, when the notion of driving to
your room instead of passing through the
lobby was a new concept. In other parts
of the country, their kitschy architectural
style might be called Googie or populuxe,
but at the Jersey Shore they go by their
own name: doo-wop hotels.
Honky-tonk boardwalks aside, the
Jersey Shore is also great for nature
lovers. Cape May is the finish line
for the World Series of Birding. Sandy
Hook State National Park, at the Shore’s
northern end, is closed to development,
and it offers windsurfing coves on
one side of the peninsula and beaches
on the other.
The Shore's year-round appeal has also
grown, especially in Atlantic City, where a
vibrant resurgence is under way. This year
the first Atlantic City gambling house,
the Resorts Hotel and Casino, celebrates
its 30th anniversary. Meanwhile, the
opening of the new Borgata Hotel and
Casino in 2003 sparked a development
craze that replaced rhinestones and neon
glitter with a slicker, cooler, and more
sophisticated style of gambling.
There’s nothing secret about the
Jersey Shore, but it’s also one of
America’s less-well-known vacation
spots. It’s a place like no other—one so
unique that it has its own preferred name:
the Shore. You don’t go to the beach in
New Jersey. You go to the Shore—and
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