PERSONAL BEST: Kelly Ripa
I get back to the Jersey Shore all the time. Are you kidding? I do all the standards. I am such a Jersey Shore tourist. I go to Bob's Lemonade, then I take the kids to Gillian's, then we go to Mack & Manco's for pizza. I have the plain pizza because they have got it exactly right. It's not too saucy, the cheese is really good, they have oregano baked right into it.
Even in the winter, it's great. My parents used to take us to Ocean City and we'd get a hot chocolate and a Taylor's pork roll and it's February and -20 degrees. It doesn't have to be summer to be good. We sometimes stay at the Port-O-Call in Ocean City [1510 Boardwalk, Ocean City; 609-399-8812]. We go to Brigantine a lot. I just love it.
The last two weeks in August, we would rent Mrs. Sledak's house in Sea Isle City. She'd stay in the bottom half, and we had the top half. It was a big part of my childhood. My parents were so good. It wasn't really their vacation. They surrendered it to us. Every night we'd drag them to the arcade and the amusement pier. I'm much more of a stickler for the regular bedtime routine, but when we visit my parents, I surrender. My kids no longer have a bedtime, and they eat their custard with jimmies.
After my prom, everybody went to Wildwood. It was 800 people in a room, like “What do we do now?” “I don't know.” “Isn't this great?” It was kinda the big letdown. I was always so afraid of getting busted. My friends called me the Human Radar — I could sense trouble coming a mile away. I just had Spidey senses. They would leave the party when I would leave, then we'd get the phone call — “You just missed it, the police showed up!” When people are jumping off the balcony into the pool, it's time to go.
We'd go to the Atlantic City mall. You have to buy the blown-glass dolphin. I bought a t-shirt. It was turquoise, naturally, with beading at the bottom of the fringe. I had my name and a unicorn airbrushed on it. You can still get that stuff there.
I've turned into a soccer mom. I buy the sweatshirt that says Ocean City on it that's 18 sizes too big. And then my daughter will want the decal t-shirt that's four sizes too small. It's terrifying. She's three-and-a-half, and she wants to make sure you see her belly sticking out. You've gotta nip that in the bud, or like Chris Rock says, your daughter will be dancing on a pole.
Contributors: Geordie Brackin, Carrie Denny, Kate Faith, Michael Jaccarino, Tom McGrath, Blake Miller, Roxanne Patel, Ashley Primis, Richard Rys and April White.