The 10 Commandments Of Memorial Day Weekend
As the days begin to dwindle down to hours until the unofficial start to summer in Ocean County with Memorial Day weekend quickly approaching, I thought that this would be a good time to share a few, let's call them "best practices" for Memorial Day weekend at the Jersey Shore.
We'll be seeing scores of visitors arriving over the long weekend, but after they go home, we're left with the mess.
Remember when this photo went viral a few years ago? It's what Point Pleasant Beach looked like after Memorial Day Weekend 2014.
If you bring it in, bring it out.
Yes, we're only hours away from the start to summer in Ocean County, but that also means that we're only hours away from summer traffic in Ocean County.
Both locals and visitors alike can make it easier on everybody by following a simple formula:
Know where you're going. If you don't, pull over and figure it out.
I'm not joking when I tell you that when I leave our Seaside Park studio on Friday evenings, more often than not I end up behind someone going about 10 miles an hour trying to figure out where they're going.
It's ok to be lost, just do it away from people who aren't lost, please.
(A note to millennials who may be reading this - that thing in the photo? It's called a "map". It's like a GPS on paper. Weird, right?)
This ties directly into the previous list item.
Whether you're in Point Pleasant Beach, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, or Asbury Park, you'll see plenty of people playing what a friend of mine dubbed, "the parking lot game", where cars slowly circle parking lots looking for spots and stalking people walking to their cars (and you know they're just going back to get a phone charger or something).
Close parking spots are great, but you'll have to hope to get lucky and it'll cost you.
And trust me, they will ticket you if your time on the meter runs out.
Pro tip - get to Seaside Heights early and you can park for free here!
New York City has pigeons, we have seagulls. They're basically rats with wings.
I'll never forget, and this is a true story, sitting on the porch of our Seaside Park beachfront studio watching a guy let seagulls eat Doritos off his stomach.
Feeding the seagulls will accomplish one thing - it'll encourage them to keep coming back, and that gets messy. In more than one unpleasant way.
Whether or not you agree with a possible statewide ban of smoking on beaches, I think we can all agree that nobody wants to walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke (or even worse, cigar smoke) when they're trying to enjoy the sights, sounds, and yes even smells of our beaches and boardwalks.
Not to single out smokers, but please keep the sea breeze enjoyment of non-smokers in mind when you light up.
Oh, and see #1 above. Don't leave butts in the sand. Gross.
As I said above, summer traffic is just a way of life here in Ocean County.
Sure, most of us know shortcuts (and you better believe we're keeping them to ourselves!), but there will be plenty of times that all of us will get stuck in shore traffic.
It is what it is.
It's easy to get frustrated and angry, so here's a fun coping mechanism - just picture each car as a couple hundred dollars for our economy.
Look, I get it. I know that cracking open a few cold ones for a holiday weekend is as much of an American tradition as firing up the grill is, and yes, there are plenty of boardwalk businesses and booths that will happily hook you up with a beer funnel.
If you have to get wasted that's your choice, but honestly, please don't puke on our boardwalks.
Been there, done that, got it all on video.
There's no sense in pretending that we don't do it - checking out the lifeguards is also one of the guilty pleasures of summer in Ocean County, but as much as some may think otherwise, they're not just there to be admired.
They're there to save our lives. It's right there in the name.
If the lifeguard tell you to swim back in, if the red flags are flying, if you hear the sharp blast of a whistle, don't ignore them. It could save your life.
Yeah, I know that I can get a little preachy and come off like a wet blanket over everyone's fun on these things, but honestly, we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and there are plenty of ways to make a great time out of a holiday weekend at the Jersey Shore!
Do it, have fun!
Long holiday weekends are a great opportunity to unwind, de-stress from the rigors of everyday life, and let loose.
But next Monday is called "Memorial Day" for a reason.
It was started in the aftermath of the worst loss of American lives in history - The Civil War.
It's a day off work, it's a chance to have fun and let our hair down, but it's also a time to reflect on those who have given their lives in service to our country.