Saturday, February 16, 2019

New book shines spotlight on older Wildwood houses, overlooked architectural gems

In recent years, conversations about the architectural history of the Wildwoods have tended to begin and end with the "Doo Wop" stylings of the 1950's and 60's - that is, the era that gave us the colorful, neon-adorned, fanciful-angled motels and other buildings the island has become so readily identified with.

But there is much more to the story. In fact, a surprising number of structures from the late-19th century and early 1900's still dot the side streets of 5 Mile Beach, as if hidden in plain sight.

In her new book, "Wildwoods Houses Through Time" (Fonthill Media), lifelong Wildwood resident Taylor Henry dives into the history of these older, overlooked homes, revealing a different side of local history.

"Most people know about the 1950's Doo Wop history, but they don’t know people were here in the 1800s," explained Henry, a recent graduate of and adjunct faculty member at Rowan University, as well as a board member of the Wildwood Historical Society. "I wanted to show how a lot of early history is still here, which is why I documented houses that are still standing rather than ones that were demolished.

"I also wanted to advocate for preservation. Too many times, all that’s left of a historic place is a photo in a filing cabinet at a historical society, and I feel it would be a cultural loss if any of these houses were also reduced to the same fate."

According to Henry, the concept came together quickly. In December 2017, while she was volunteering at the George F. Boyer Museum on Pacific Avenue, the historical society was contacted by Fontill Media. The publishing firm was seeking historians to contribute to its "America Through Time" series.

Henry was inspired by the possibilities of a project that could combine many of her interests: history, architecture, research, storytelling and photography. She pitched her idea, which Fonthill instantly approved, and was off and running.

"I already knew some houses I wanted to include," she explained, "but I also did a lot of posting on social media and dropping letters in peoples’ mailboxes to find homeowners who wanted to tell me the history of their homes."

A simple, but still-daunting challenge Henry faced was deciding which houses to include. With limited space and more historic houses in the area than most realize, narrowing the list down was no easy task.

"Another challenge was being confident to keep writing," Henry said. "At times I thought my idea was ridiculous, that people would argue that old houses are not worth the trouble. I felt silly comparing Wildwood to Cape May, and I wondered if my book would even sell.

"What motivated me to keep writing was the homeowners who told me how thankful they were that someone was documenting their stories, then telling me they would be buying several copies of the book as Christmas presents for all their relatives."

The book has sold very well according to Amazon.com, even making it to #1 in the House and Hotel Photography categories shortly after publication.

For Henry, the creation process was also a learning experience, filled with fascinating finds and suprises that she hopes to share with her readers.

"By looking through files and directories at the historical society, I found so many interesting stories about these houses," she explained. "U.S. presidents have stayed in some. Many were built by someone who died on the Titanic, and one was built by someone who missed the Titanic and became head of the local bank.

"Many houses were built by fishermen who came from Scandinavia. The houses are so closely tied to the times when they were built. It’s amazing how little our history is talked about, when honestly, our history is as rich as Cape May’s.

"This project made me appreciate how much of a variety of architecture we have that is even older than Doo Wop. Architects have studied our Victorian houses and determined they should be preserved. Sadly, it didn’t happen and many were lost. It’s the people who bought these houses and cherished them who are keeping this history alive."

"Wildwood Houses Through Time" is available at local bookstores and online at Amazon.com (currently listed at $17.00).

Friday, February 15, 2019

Happy Sam's Pizza Day 2019!


The tradition continues...


It's Opening Day at Sam's Pizza Palace!

Every year, on the Friday leading into Presidents Day Weekend, the iconic pizzeria at 26th & Boardwalk re-opens its doors - and the road to summer gets a little easier.

Starting at 10:30 a.m. this morning, Sam's will be open (just weekends, for now) for the 2018 season.

This weekend's hours are as follows:

Friday:  10:30 am - 7 pm
Saturday:  10:30 am - 6 pm
Sunday:  10:30 am - 5 pm

Opening weekend always provides for a festive atmosphere. Come on down, and if you stop by, share a pic of your "first slice" on our Facebook page.

This year, Sam's is celebrating its 63nd season, and 14th (already!) in its current location under the Shore Plaza Beach Resort.

Today, it will join a small (but soon-to-be-growing) roster of Boardwalk businesses open in the waning days of winter, including neighboring Gateway 26 and the Original Fudge Kitchen, down at Roberts Avenue.

Happy Sam's Pizza Day, everyone!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Morey's Piers' 50th Anniversary Dippin' Dots flavor has a name!


Morey's Piers announced today the winning entry for its 50th Anniversary season Dippin' Dots flavor naming contest:

SEA SALT CARAMEL PIERTZEL

The name, chosen from over 6,000 entries, was submitted by Susana M., who scored a sweet prize package that includes Dippin' Dots for a year (!) along with ride and water park passes.

We're seriously envious, Susana. CONGRATS!

Dippin' Dots, "The Ice Cream of the Future," created an exclusive flavor to celebrate the seaside amusement parks' big anniversary season. The new treat "screams classic boardwalk with a salted caramel flavor that has pieces of pretzel bites mixed in" and will be available on the piers this summer.

Be sure to visit www.moreyspiers.com and follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more info and updates on Morey's Piers' 50th Anniversary celebration!

*******************

For the record, we thought we had this thing in the bag with our name:

Daddy Shark Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Wop Crunch

(We're joking. But perhaps we did succeed in putting that song in your head - BWAHAHAHAHA!)

Wildwoods named one of the 25 Best Family Vacation Spots in the U.S. by TripAdvisor


The secret is out!   ...though it's not much a secret anymore, is it?

The Wildwoods have scored another major honor, being named one of the 25 Best Family Beach Vacation Spots in the nation by TripAdvisor.

Our island resort is the only Jersey Shore representative on the list, which includes such renowned destinations as Virginia Beach, Santa Monica and San Diego, California, and Honolulu, Hawaii.

With miles and miles of boardwalk fun, a huge stretch of sand, and a lively family-owned amusement park, you can never get bored. There really is something for everyone in Wildwood, no matter your age!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Gateway 26 announces 2019 President's Day Weekend hours


President's Day Weekend is always a festive occasion in the Wildwoods, and a major mile marker on the road to summer (we know, we know - gotta get to spring first)!

The annual re-opening of Sam's Pizza Palace is a celebrated event that draws big crowds all weekend. Right next door, Gateway 26 rocks and rolls with four days of big specials, drawings and tournaments, including the Monday holiday itself.

Today, Gateway announced its 2019 President's Day Weekend schedule:

Friday, February 15  -  11:30 am to 9 pm

Saturday, February 16  -  11 am to 10 pm

Sunday, February 17  -  11 am to 9 pm

Monday, February 18 (President's Day)  -  11 am to 5:30 pm

For more information and updates, visit www.gateway26.com, and follow Gateway 26 on Facebook and Twitter.

Wildwood seeking $64.5 million in state funding for Boardwalk reconstruction


The master plan favors a phased approach to reconstruction, broken down into three eight-block sections:

Cool Scoops sets 2019 Opening Weekend for March 8-10


How about some "cool" news during the heart of winter?

Cool Scoops Ice Cream Parlor (1111 New Jersey Avenue) has announced its 2019 Opening Weekend as March 8-10.

From that point on, "The Coolest Place on Earth" will be open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundaes, with hours and dates of operation increasing closer to Memorial Day.

The first customers on Friday, March 8 at 6 pm will be featured on Cool Scoops' social media sites (follow along on Facebook & Instagram).

(Check out the menu HERE!)

Cool Scoops, one of the Wildwoods' earliest and finest examples of "Neo Doo Wop" design, will be entering its 18th season. The famed retro-50's ice cream shop/pop culture museum opened in June 2002, following a dramatic renovation of the former Golden Way Motel.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Downtown Wildwood festival season starts with Wine & Chocolate Lovers Weekend - April 13 & 14


The first of nine new events coming to Byrne Plaza this year, the Downtown Wildwood Wine & Chocolate Lovers Weekend will take place Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14.

Presented as part of a new partnership with What's On Your Food Truck (WOYFT), the two-day festival will be "a dream come true for all chocolate lovers" with a variety of vendors offering candies, fudge, cookies, cheesecakes, fruits and nuts, and much more.

There will also be chocolate wine, beer/stout and spirits for sampling and bottle sales.

Food trucks will be on hand and additional vendors will be offering chocolate-inspired goodies and Easter-themed products.

(Easter is the following weekend - Sunday, April 21.)

As with all events at Byrne Plaza, Wine & Chocolate Lovers Weekend will feature plenty of family-oriented fun. A mini Easter Egg Hunt will take place for the little ones on Sunday, and several prizes will be up for grabs.

Subsequent Downtown events will feature the inaugural Wildwood Bacon Lovers Festival over Memorial Day Weekend (May 25-27) and the Wildwood Country Band Concert Weekend (June 1 & 2).

For additional info on the WOYFT festival series at Byrne Plaza, call 732-481-2311 or visit www.woyftevents.com.

For all things Downtown Wildwood, check out www.DOOWW.com.

A Taste of Philly will NOT be opening at former Harry's Corner; location again listed for rent


In early January, we reported that A Taste of Philly would be moving into the now-former location of Harry's Corner, on the Boardwalk at Cedar Avenue.

Today, we received confirmation from the owners of A Taste of Philly that these plans have changed.

The 2,600-square foot property has again been listed for rent.

We will continue to keep an eye on this spot, undoubtedly one of the most prominent on the island.

Meanwhile, A Taste of Philly is actively searching for another location on the Boardwalk, as the owners still hope to make their Wildwood debut in 2019.

Check out A Taste of Philly on Facebook for additional updates and info.

Morey's Piers offering Valentine's Flash Sale!


Are you looking for that special gift for that certain someone, with a certain day coming up fast?

Well, you're in luck, Cupid!

Morey's Piers is running a Valentine's Flash Sale this week, which includes the following "Date Night" package:

(2) Amusement Ride Passes + $50 dining gift certificate for Joe's Fish Co or Jumbo's Grub & Pub for $99.99 (retail value is $164).

The sale is only available online and ends on February 14 at 11:59 pm... so get to it!

Morey's Piers Valentine's Flash Sale

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Mack's Pizza announces April 12th as 2019 Opening Day


First off, Happy National Pizza Day!

Yes, that is a real thing, and, yes, it also seems a bit odd to celebrate such a occasion in the dead of winter. Then again, is there ever a bad time to celebrate pizza?

(The answer to that is NO, by the way!)

Our friends at Mack's Pizza have fittingly chosen today to announce their opening date for 2019, bringing us yet again a little closer to summer... if only in our dreams.

Mack's will kick off it's 67th season in the Wildwoods on Friday, April 12, with weekend operation beginning at the Wildwood Avenue location (aka "The Original" at 3218 Boardwalk).

The Roberts Avenue shop (4200 Boarwalk) will open a bit later.

So, there you have it, Mack's fans. A short wait of a mere 62 days.

Or, just under nine weeks. Or, 1,488  hours. How about 89,280 minutes?

Like, who's counting?








(We are. We are counting.)

Crest to unveil promotional video at Feb. 20 commissioners' meeting


PRESS RELEASE

The Borough of Wildwood Crest is set to unveil a locally produced drone video promoting Wildwood Crest as a family- and tourism-friendly community at the next meeting of its Board of Commissioners on Wednesday, February 20 at 5:30 p.m. at Wildwood Crest Borough Hall.

The video, produced by award-winning production company Drone One Aerial Technology, is approximately two minutes in length and features scenes from the beach and bay, as well as many of the popular parks, landmarks and other recreational areas throughout the borough.

The video will eventually be placed on the front page of the borough’s website at www.wildwoodcrest.org and will also be used for promotional purposes on social media and other tourism-related advertisements.

“They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. But I think video makes us speechless. When you see this video, you will want to live or vacation here,” said Wildwood Crest mayor Don Cabrera.

The public is encouraged to attend the meeting.

For further information, contact the borough clerk’s office at 609-729-8040.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Jack Maley to serve as Grand Marshal posthumously for 2019 North Wildwood St. Patrick's Day Parade


PRESS RELEASE

Mayor Patrick Rosenello announced today that the Grand Marshal for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade will be John J. Maley (Jack) posthumously, a US Army veteran and a resident of North Wildwood, NJ since 2001.

Originally from Philadelphia and a graduate of North Catholic High School, Jack was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Jack helped develop and manage the popular North Wildwood Irish Fall Festival that is held in September.

Jack was involved in sports his entire life. He was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame for being an all-star fast pitch softball player. Jack played on many teams in regional championships and national tournaments including for the Flatiron AC softball organization.

Jack donated his time and knowledge to the Crispin Gardens Youth Organization coaching little league football and baseball. Jack contributed solid leadership, motivation and life skills to former players and assistant coaches. 
   
“Jack was a larger than life person who brightened up any room he was in,” said North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello.  "His dedication and love for all things Irish, and for the City of North Wildwood, will not soon be forgotten.  We are honored that Jack’s loving family will represent him in our parade this year and we know that his Irish eyes will be smiling down on all of us.”

The celebration of Irish Heritage starts on Saturday, March 16th, 11:30 a.m. on the steps of North Wildwood City Hall, 901 Atlantic Ave., where Mayor Patrick Rosenello will welcome everyone. Guests will include representatives from City Council, various city departments, and local religious.

The parade will step off at noon, proceeding north on Atlantic Avenue to First Avenue, and then travel west on to Olde New Jersey Avenue to Spruce Avenue. All of the local Irish organizations will march, including but not limited to: the Cape May County Emerald Society, the

AOH and LAOH, the Anglesea Irish Society, Second Street Irish Society Pipe Brigade and the Cape Atlantic Police and Fire Pipe Brigade. The Sheriff mounted patrol along with local school bands will also be joining in the fun, so come out and enjoy the festivities with us!

As always, it will be a grand parade celebrating the heritage of so many North Wildwood residents. Should it rain this year, we’ll bring the celebration into the Recreation Center located at 900 Central Ave. on the same day and time.

For questions regarding the parade route, dates and times, please contact our Tourism Office at 1-800-882-7787.

2019 Vacation Planner is in - order your FREE copy now!

Memorial Day Weekend is still a way's off (15 weeks, who's counting?), but the time to begin planning for Summer is NOW.

On that note, we have received word that the 2019 Wildwoods Vacation Planner is hot off the press and available to be mailed FREE of charge!

The planner features hotel/motel listings, info on food, shopping and services, things-to-do, a calendar of events, coupons and much more.

Order your copy today at www.gwcoc.org/vacation-planner.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Wildwood McDonald's to be demolished, replaced by new model


As reported by our friends at Watch the Tramcar Please, the McDonald's at Rio Grande & Park Avenues in Wildwood will soon be closed and demolished, then replaced by a new model.

The successive restaurant is expected to be completed and open by late Spring.

The news comes as no surprise, as McDonald's locations around the country have been remodeled or completely replaced by showier, more spacious and practical versions in recent years. The current building likely dates to the late 1970's/early 80's.

We're still waiting to see renderings of the proposed replacement, but word is that the building will prominently feature "Doo Wop" design elements, representative of the Wildwoods' unique historical character.

The neighboring Walgreen's and TD Bank both boast signage in this whimsical style. The landmark Wawa store two blocks to the west (at the base of the George Redding Bridge) is arguably the island's best example of "Neo Doo Wop" form, completely decked out in neon, chrome, wavy lines and bright colors evocative of the 1950's and 60's.

This is the only McDonald's in the Wildwoods, though there have been as many as three in operation at time in the past, and four overall.

Previous locations included two on the Boardwalk - on Mariner's Landing at the building that is now Jumbo's in the 1980's and a retro-themed eatery that was part of the Strand Theatre complex (2900 block) in the early 2000's.

A seasonal McDonald's along the North Wildwood entrance boulevard (130 W. Spruce Avenue) operated from 1982 to 2016. After it was demolished in March 2018, the lot was approved for duplexes and one commercial building.