Every person who spent summers at the Jersey Shore as a kid has a particular beach they remember as their own.

The Jersey Shore lends itself to routine and family tradition. Many of the businesses oriented around the tourism industry have been around for several decades.

Our grandparents started going to certain beaches and to certain amusement parks. Our parents made formative memories there and wanted their children to have the same.

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For those of us who called the Ortley Beach section of Toms River our "Jersey Shore," there are a particular set of memories we share.

Sitting in Route 37 Bridge Traffic

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This was a test of patience.

You could bear the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Garden State Parkway, but there was a particular kind of torture about sitting on traffic on the Route 37 bridge. You were so close -- you could smell the salt air.

Your car was exposed to the sun and would bake quickly. No air conditioner was powerful enough. You would crawl, brake, crawl along and spy a break in the traffic up ahead when BAM! The drawbridge had to open. Your parents may have started arguing if Route 35 would have been the smarter choice.


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Miniature Golf at Barnacle Bill's

Barnacle Bill's Amusements Facebook Page
Barnacle Bill's Amusements Facebook Page
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That big, hulking lumberjack Barnacle Bill was the symbol you arrived at Ortley Beach.

You played at least one miniature golf game at Barnacle Bill's each summer. Ol' Bill was a totem of childhood summers at Ortley Beach for you, but many of the fixtures at the Barnacle Bill's Miniature Golf are fresh in your memory from the whale to the Snoopy to the lighthouse.


Barnacle Bill's Arcade

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Barnacle Bill's Amusements Facebook Page
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No trip to Barnacle Bill's Miniature Golf was complete without a trip to the arcade after.

There were classics like Space Invader but there was also skee ball, Mortal Kombat and the four-person Simpsons game. When you started to become a sullen teenager, the arcade held more allure for you than mini golf and became your hangout spot of choice.


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Packed Beaches on Holiday Weekends

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Certain weekends during the summer, the crowds on the one-mile beach would be so dense that it felt like you were walking a balance beam of sand between beach towels.

Holiday weekends -- or any nice weekend in July or August, you could count on being packed in like sardines from the badge checker down to the sand castles on the water line.


Long Walk to the Beach Bathroom Hut

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You traveled over the molten lava white sand at the top of the beach and risked boardwalk splinters to take the long walk to the dark bathroom hut.

Let's face it: most times, you said, "It ain't worth it." And then you headed out into the ocean for a swim.


2nd Avenue Snack Bar

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Getty Images / Canva
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The hot sand and the splinters were worth the risk for a trip to the 2nd Avenue snack bar. (There may have been other snack bars, but for this writer, the 2nd Avenue one was the only one that mattered.)

It didn't matter if it was over 100 degrees out -- nachos smothered in hot liquid cheese never go out of fashion. Walking those sand balance beams between towels and managing to finish your nachos without somebody kicking sand into them was a skill.


Playing on the Bayside

Photo by Richard Pasquarella on Unsplash
Photo by Richard Pasquarella on Unsplash
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Maybe it was a cloudy day. Maybe your parents didn't want to deal with the oceanside beach crowds. Maybe Mercury was in retrograde.

Whatever the reason, you spent at least one day on the bayside. The bayside had swings, a jungle gym and tennis courts to keep you occupied.


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Crabbing on the Bayside

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You went crabbing on the bayside and someone special to you showed you the ropes. And I'm not talking crab trap nonsense.

I'm talking a hook through raw chicken.

I'm talking holding the line and waiting for the tug. (That's where the patience learned from sitting on the Route 37 drawbridge traffic kicks in.)

I'm talking pulling up the line gently and when you saw Mr. Krabs thrashing the angry claw not gripped on the chicken, swooping in with the net.

You can still remember the way the crabs sounded scrambling over one another and sliding around in the plastic bucket, can't you?


Walking the Lavallette Boardwalk

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You walked the Lavallette Boardwalk at sunset with your family after dinner.


A Night at Casino Pier

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A vacation to Ortley Beach wasn't complete without a trip to Casino Pier.

Somewhere in your grandmother's photo album, there exists a photo of every family member as a toddler riding the little boat ride or the little car ride or the little motorcycle ride. These were basically the same ride red plastic lights and horns, and each kid in the family has the same bewildered look on their face.

Eventually, you got older, enjoyed the more thrilling rides and lost too much of your parents' money on the boardwalk games.


Swirl Cone at Kohr's

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Kohr's Instagram (@kohrsoriginal)
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No orange has tasted as orange to you as that tangy swirl on your Kohr's cone at the Seaside Heights boardwalk.

If you were lucky, your parents might also pick up a bucket of fries along the boardwalk. Never has so much oil been infused into a french fry as happened on that boardwalk. The bucket could barely contain it.

That Kohr's cone, though -- this was the treat at the end of your night at the Casino Pier because the Himalayas ride, french fry grease and dairy don't mix.

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Gallery Credit: Jackie Corley

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