An optimist calls it “local summer” but pessimists like me simply say “game over.”

Labor Day has come and gone and it did deliver one of the most beautiful days of the summer season, a season that was very much up-and-down in terms of weather and business at the Jersey Shore.

I am always caught up in the finality of the day itself in stark contrast to say Memorial Day weekend which is a beginning.  In some towns like Seaside Park yesterday was the last day for lifeguards so time is spent putting things away for another 8+ months.

Many other shore towns will keep on skeleton crews for a week or two to watch over the beach.  Most seasonal businesses remain open but the crowds are gone with the exception of a few more weekends if the weather cooperates and wait times at eateries and restaurants are drastically reduced.

Kids trade in their surfboards and boogie boards for back packs and soccer cleats as routines change drastically for most families with school opening this week, even today for some.  Today is often somewhat of a celebration for Moms (and Dads) who happily send their children back to school after ten weeks of having to occupy their time.

Of course if you have flexibility in your schedule or are retired then today marks what might be the best time of year at the Jersey Shore.  It’s called “local summer” when we can take advantage of many of the benefits of living here without having to share it with throngs of visitors.

Beaches are virtually empty, the ocean will be warm for weeks to come and parking is a lot easier to find. Restaurants you avoided because of long waits are not only open but happy to see you again and while the pace has slowed boardwalk businesses remain open and cooler nights are perfect for a stroll.  However unlike 40 years ago you will still find traffic because that never seems to end.

I hope one day to enjoy “local summer” but for me it’s football season and that’s my busiest time of the year so unless I get lucky on a Sunday or two I walked off the North Avenue beach in Seaside Park yesterday for the final time this summer.

At least I left on a good note!