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A Shoobie View of Brigantine, New Jersey

Lifeboat on Brigantine Beach, New Jersey

Brigantine, New Jersey has wide, soft, sandy beaches.

Philadelphians don’t go to the beach. We go “down the shore”—or if we are speaking really fast or have over-imbibed, “down a shore”. The locals “down the shore” call us shoobies. This post is about a shoobie view of Brigantine, New Jersey.
“SHOOBIE” — definitions from the Urban Dictionary:
1. n.  Regional nickname denoting a tourist to the southern New Jersey shore. This term originated in the 1920’s when tourists, visiting the beaches were easily identified by the shoe boxes they brought to carry their lunches.
 2. n.   Any person who looks out of place while at the beach. Usually identified by the wearing of black party socks with shorts and a severe sunburn.Ex.: “This traffic is terrible. I can’t wait until these shoobies go home.”
.   someone who thinks they own the beach when they go just for a weekend or a summer. most of them deserve death…even tho they are the reason our economy survives. the guy who doesnt know how to drive a circle and insists on drivin in the fast lane even tho he is goin 70 and youdont even have to read his license plate to know its from PA and then gets angry when you flip him off as you go 90 past him

I guess the full-time locals aren’t all that big on punctuation. They clearly have a love (we pay property taxes)/hate (we clog up their roads and beaches) relationship with shoobies.

Mr. Excitement and I are shoobies from Philadelphia — a city somewhere at the end of the Atlantic City Expressway and over a bridge.

For nine years, our family summer vacation was a two week rental in the southern New Jersey shore town of Avalon. The houses we rented had pine wall paneling, a shower that doubled as housing for hitherto unknown mold types, and no air conditioning—central or otherwise.

About the same time our then tween-age boys decided Avalon was “borrring”, we ran out of houses we could afford to rent anyway. The  houses we rented were being sold for $1.00. The land under them was selling for 500,000 times that. Our previous summer’s rental would disappear, pine paneling and all, to be replaced by a house we could not afford to rent, not that the owners of the new construction wanted renters (i.e. riff raff) in their vacation house anyway.

For the next two years, we rented a third floor walk-up in Ocean City, New Jersey for our two week summer vacation. According to our teenagers, Ocean City was a much more happening place than Avalon.

Mr. Excitement, and I never “got” the appeal of Ocean City. Bike riding was death defying, with no room on the streets for a meaningful bike lane. Even our sons soon tired of the boardwalk. Really, how many tee-shirts and how much salt water taffy does one person need?

As our sons started having summer jobs in Philadelphia (finally), the family beach vacation “down the shore” faded into history. However, we still kept visiting our accountant’s office once each year so he could compute what we owed Uncle Sam, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia and our local township.

Brigantine Beach, New Jersey, sunset

Every year, we would gaze at the photos of beautiful sunsets on our accountant’s office walls and he would sigh, get a faraway look in his eyes, and tell us about his beach house in Brigantine, New Jersey.  Briga–where?

In 2006, after suffering through the usual Philadelphia summer hot and humid”muggies”, I saw a newspaper ad that said, “September rentals in Brigantine, New Jersey —- pets welcome!!” It took all of a nano second for me to convince my husband (and the dog ) that we should give Brigantine a try.

We had a lovely week. Our first pleasant discovery was that Brigantine, New Jersey, on the first barrier island north of Atlantic City, is only a little over an hour’s drive from the University of Pennsylvania where Mr. Excitment works. We like to walk, so the hike to the beach, from the so-called beach block, did not faze us.

Bike riding was a pleasure. We spent time walking around the various neighborhoods, past houses that reminded us of our disappeared Avalon rentals.

Our accountant invited us to his “south end” Brigantine house for dinner — at sunset.

Brigantine Beach, New Jersey, after the sunset

Even the “after the sunsets” can be mesmerizing.

We felt comfortable in Brigantine. It was not pretentious and seemed quiet.

We realized that renting a house for one week in September might not have given us an accurate sense of the real summer vibe. We boldly decided to rent a house for two months the following summer to see how we liked Brigantine “in season”.  This time, our rental was actually across the street from the beach, on the north end of Brigantine.

When we told our accountant about the location of our rental and how wonderfully close it was to the beach, he said something cryptic about donating blood to the green head fly population.

It was an interesting summer. The dog and I moved in. I could tele-commute and Mr. Excitement would come down for long weekends. Despite the green heads (only when there was a land breeze), the dog’s flea infestation, and the fact that I had whooping cough (yes, adults should get a booster shot!), we decided we liked Brigantine enough to buy a place of our own.

With our patient realtor, we looked at many two bedroom condos on the north end of Brigantine. Then, our accountant invited us for another sunset dinner.

Our realtor had no idea we would consider buying a south end, three bedroom townhouse (mostly because we didn’t either), but we ended up buying just that, a half a block from our accountant’s Brigantine house, with the same sunset view.

Brigantine, New Jersey, sunset

Now we have our own Brigantine sunset views.

Our sons were incredulous, “Why’d you buy a house in Brigantine? There’s nothing to do there.” Exactly!

Harrahs Atlantic City Casino from Brigantine, New Jersey

We can see Harrah’s Hotel and Casino from our back deck, just over the causeway to Atlantic City. That’s too exciting for Mr. and Mrs. Excitment, but our sons and their friends enjoy a night out.

They have conceded they were wrong. Brigantine is just over a causeway, but a metaphorical million miles away, from Atlantic City, New Jersey’s version of Las Vegas. The boys (and our daughter-in-law!) can enjoy a barbeque (and the sunset) on our tranquil Brigantine deck and then go out for a night on the town while Mr. and Mrs. Excitement (and the dog) rent a movie and go to bed.

Our timing was impeccable (not!). We bought our house in October, 2007, just before the real estate market tanked.

No worries, we have no intention of selling our sunset (I mean, our Brigantine house) for a long time.

Brigantine, New Jersey sunset

Do you have a favorite beach (even if you’re a mountain person)?  

Suzanne Fluhr, Travel Editor

Suzanne Fluhr, Midlife Boulevard's travel editor, is a recovering Philadelphia lawyer, empty nester, wanderer, dog person and Zentangle® enthusiast. She also writes about Baby Boomer travels for the body and mind on her personal blog, <a href="http://www.boomeresque.com">Boomeresque</a>. Instagram: Boomeresque2

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