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July, 2018

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There may not be many Silver Travellers who are planning a trip to Wildwood, New Jersey in the USA but anyone who is touring the New York, New Jersey area may be interested in visiting this hugely popular tourist area.

Wildwood has a 2 mile Boardwalk (I know I walked the whole length!) It does have a tram running it’s length for those who don’t want to walk. It is reminisce of a 1950’s American seaside town. It could even be compared to Southend on Sea although I am not sure that Southend on Sea would offer such delicacies as fried Mars Bars, fried Oreo Cookies and fried Twix bars! There is no limit to the amount of calorie laden food you can buy on that Boardwalk. I tasted (in the interests of research of course!) funnel cake (a huge dough like creation covered in icing sugar that resembles 20 flattened donuts!) and chimney cake (another deep fried dough mix but in a chimney shape this time!) but I did decline the “Elvis Sandwich” which was a deep fried peanut butter, jam and banana sandwich! As well as calorie laden food kiosks the Boardwalk has huge roller coasters as well as side shows where you can win huge stuffed toys (and from the numbers of small children I saw heading home with a stuffed animal 8 times their size I would say the chances of winning one are quite high!) There is also a Ripley’s Believe it or not show and a mini golf where you play in the dark! (I didn’t try it so can’t say how successful that is!) Away from the Boardwalk there are a million Diners to choose from, one of the most unusual being Maui’s Dog House where you can get hot dogs served in real dog bowls! (They even had a veggie version for me!) Each Friday there is a very impressive fireworks display accompanied by music such as “Under The Boardwalk” by the Drifters and it finishes with a finale accompanied by The Stars and Stripes anthem.There were even free music events whilst we were there.

I was in Wildwood with a dear friend of mine. She lives in Pennsylvania and we have been friends for nearly 50 years. This year she invited me to join her and her family on their annual holiday to Wildwood. So there I was, staying in Le Boot motel with her and 13 of her family. The Americans, although their eating habits are up for criticism do handle their holidays well. Their motels are like self contained apartments with kitchen areas and they all have swimming pools. We were very near the beach though and you never see Americans heading to the beach with just a towel and a bottle of sunscreen! They have huge trolleys that fold up to go in their cars and when they head from the motel to the beach they load them up with beach chairs, umbrellas, cabanas or tents, ground sheets, huge ice boxes and they even have flags that they hoist on the beach to identify where their spot is! (See my photo above!) These trolleys have enormous rubber wheels so that you can pull them easily over the sand. Some of these trolleys were bigger than an English car! Even the life guards have huge wheeled wheelchairs so that they can escort disabled people onto the beach. Each day we trundled down to the beach, spent an hour setting up the cabana, chairs etc and an hour or so later my American friends would want to go back to the air conditioned room so we would dismantle it all and head back. It seemed a lot of work to me!

I have been a bit tongue in cheek about this sea side resort but let me also say that everywhere in America they have great natural wealth and Wildwood is no exception. On early morning walks by myself I saw dolphins swimming just off the shore. I also saw stingrays in the shallows as I paddled. We went on a dolphin boat and saw numerous pods of dolphins swimming alongside us and at certain times of year you can go on whale watching trips. We saw Osprey nesting in the harbour and numerous other birds. The beaches also have the softest sand I have ever felt between my arthritic toes and they proudly comb their beaches each morning ready for the visitors and their huge trolleys!

So, if you are touring New Jersey or New York and want to see a typical American working class holiday resort I would suggest you give Wildwood a visit. The taste of a deep fried Oreo cookie may not be something to repeat but you will be awed by the miles of beaches and the amount of wildlife you can see.


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