It’s Memorial Day Weekend which is of course the very unofficial start of summer at the Jersey Shore and across the country.  The weather forecast looks pretty good especially when you consider in the past it seems like this holiday weekend is usually cloudy, cool and even wet.  I’m sure many will make their first trip to the beach and if so bring a sweat shirt and don’t forget your beach badge.

MDW as it’s commonly referred to brings dramatic changes to towns along the beach as visitors invade the area.  Traffic can often be a nightmare, many restaurants and bars will be packed and the area in general will be very busy as opposed to the last six months or so.  Those of us who live here will likely complain but remember it is tourism that fuels our economy and most of those who pay us a visit are basically good people.  I will admit this weekend is especially challenging for those who work in the service industry and anything to do with boardwalks in places like Seaside Heights, Point Pleasant Beach, Asbury Park, Long Beach Island, etc.

Despite all of that I view this weekend as the start of a great time of year.  It can be a preview of what’s to come over the next 3-4 months.  Spending time at the beach or your backyard pool, boating, fishing, sampling boardwalk food or sipping a cocktail on your deck.  Longer days have arrived and what’s better than enjoying your favorite ice cream at night while it’s still light out?

Whatever your plans are for this weekend I hope you can take a breather, especially if you have a three-day weekend.  Speaking of which, one thing we should all do on Monday is find a moment to reflect on what the day is all about as we mourn, honor and salute the men and women who have died while serving in the US military.  Many towns will have events to highlight the day and that includes Toms River which will continue a tradition with a parade down Main Street and then Washington Street which will be followed by a ceremony at Town Hall.

Motorcycles in the Toms River Memorial Day parade
Motorcycles in the Toms River Memorial Day parade (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

A look back at the NJ Garden State Parkway token

A nostalgic token of NJ history dating back to the 1980's.