Wildwood, New Jersey
Wildwood Boardwalk Reviews
Hit or miss, depending on your tastes Apr 24, 2011
I lived in Wildwood for a couple years.
The boardwalk gets its fair share of bad reviews for obvious reasons. The people who frequent the boardwalk are average Americans, in the blue-collar, unsophisticated, and generally overweight sense of that phrase. Boardwalk folk are an amalgam of Nascar fans, guidos, Philadelphia teens who have lost all sense of moral decency, twenty-somethings from Eastern Europe and Russia who work there for the summer, individuals the media affectionately refers to as "minorities", and, of course, genuine hard-working good-hearted members of the American middle class. The boardwalk is for those who can't afford (or don't have time) to fly to Florida for a week. If you're looking for a J-crew moment, continue driving to Stone Harbor.
The boardwalk overwhelmingly consists of casino arcades, shameless t-shirt shops, greasy (but often tasty) food huts, 99-cent stores, stands at which you pay three dollars for a chance to win a teddy-bear, and, of course, the over-priced amusements.
At the same time, for better or for worse, the Boardwalk (and doo-wop Wildwood) represent a valuable, if overlooked, piece of americana. For all its cheesiness, so many people fondly remember the boardwalk for that exhilarating high school prom weekend, or those childhood car trips to the shore, or some fun outing with friends.
You don't go to the boardwalk to snap pictures of impressive buildings or exquisite vistas. You don't go there to send a postcard to your envious friends or push a pin into the map on the wall in your basement.
You go there to have fun with friends on a warm summer night. you go there to walk the boards with a crush and buy some frozen custard or italian ice at the end. You go there to people watch. You go there to fly through the air on some ride. You go there to take your son or daughter to a fun water park. You go there to laugh while take in the artificial lights and sirens. You go there to eat a fried oreo. You go there to enjoy the frivolous things in life.
As a child, I remember the boardwalk as a magical place, with its novelty shops, vendors, noises, roller-coasters, games, lights, and excitement. I'm sure some kids still feel that when they walk the boards for the first (or twentieth) time. For all of it's superficial fun, the boardwalk is an authentic American experience and, if that's your thing, worthwhile.
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A Fun Way to Get Heat Rash and Lose All Your Money Aug 12, 2008
Some might question the necessity of boardwalks. Why go all the way to the beach, just to laze away your day on a mile or two of warped timber? Why risk splinters and possible tram-car collision just to buy some $4 tee-shirts and win tickets redeemable for prizes that aren't remotely worth as much as the money you spent to win the tickets in the first place?
Two reasons, one, the boardwalk is FUN, two, the beach is practically a half mile away. Honestly, you can't even see the ocean from most parts of the Wildwood Boardwalk. They re-seeded the beaches with beach sand to fight erosion years ago, and as a direct result of that have made the beach ridiculously far from Wildwood's last line of commerce; the boardwalk.
There's plenty of authentic greasy spoons where you can get hotdogs, hamburgers, cheesesteaks, pizza, etc; skiball parlors, t-shirt shops and delis, a bank. Wildwood even has a 'church' on it's boardwalk. Don't get sucked in with their 'happy songs' and 'tambourines' unless a thirty minute lecture on Christ is your idea of a vacation activity.
I recommend the Dairy Queen. It's about 50% more expensive than your average DQ, but still about 150% cheaper than most of the other eateries on the boardwalk.
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