How to Experience the Jersey Shore This Summer — Without Going Down the Shore
Five ways to re-create beach and boardwalk feels at home.
Here’s how to go down the Shore this summer, without, you know, actually going down the Shore.
1. Order boardwalk treats to your doorstep.
While nothing beats strolling the boardwalk, eating fudge samples and fending off seagulls while you try to down a slice of pizza, you can still get a taste of the Shore by ordering an assortment of Shriver’s classic saltwater taffy online (shrivers.com).
Finally, no summer is complete without some Johnson’s Popcorn (johnsonspopcorn.com). Order a large tub of caramel corn, or snag a tin filled with caramel, butter and cheddar varieties.
2. Stream beach yoga.
You may not be able to stretch out your towel on the sand for yoga flow, but you can still get the beach vibes by streaming your favorite Shore instructors. Teri O’Connor of NJ Beach Yoga has been teaching her classes on Zoom on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Judy Heany, owner of Balance Cape May, is currently offering virtual classes on Zoom and plans to record and post classes from the beach.
3. Make your own funnel cake.
One whiff of frying dough is enough to bring on a flood of warm boardwalk memories. But Fishtown’s Elwood actually has the crispy treat on the menu, thanks to its Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. “It gained popularity at the Kutztown Folk Festival,” says Elwood chef and owner Adam Diltz.
Here’s a recipe from Diltz you can try at home. Makes three eight-inch funnel cakes.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs, whites and yolks divided
Canola oil or other neutral oil for frying
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine, then set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and egg yolks, then stir into dry ingredients.
In a large clean bowl, use a whisk to beat egg whites until they hold soft peaks. With a spatula, gently fold beaten egg whites into batter. It’s okay if there are some white streaks remaining. Transfer batter into a zip-top gallon bag.
In a high-sided skillet or saucepan, heat at least two inches of oil to 375 degrees over medium heat, until a drop of batter in the oil immediately fizzes and rises to the surface. Cut a slit no more than a half-inch long in one corner of the bag. Working quickly, pipe batter into hot oil, starting with circles, then swirling across the oil into whatever shape you prefer. You’ll use about a third of the batter.
Fry until the underside is golden brown and crisp, about three minutes, then flip and fry other side about three minutes more. Transfer to a paper towel and let cool slightly, then top with whatever you like and eat immediately. Repeat with remaining batter.
4. Buy Shore swag.
Local businesses may be hurting everywhere, but buying branded swag is a good way to support your favorite Shore businesses. (Plus, is it really summer if you don’t add to your stockpile of cheesy boardwalk tees?) Pick up a Kohr Bros. logo baseball cap (kohrbros.myshopify.com), some Manco & Manco “faux dough” that you can practice tossing like the real stuff (mancosgiftshop.com), or tanks, tees and sweatshirts from Fred’s Tavern (fredstaverntshirts.com), Jilly’s (shopjillys.com), Kona Surf Co. (konasurfco.com) and Margate Dairy Bar (margatedairybar.com).
5. DIY a sandbox.
Edwin Peake, owner of Edwin’s Glorious Gardens Etc. in Conshohocken, shares how to do it.
Pick a shady spot and map out your dimensions.
You’ll want to set up your sandbox in a naturally shady zone — or invest in a patio umbrella.
Think about drainage.
Cut a piece of filter fabric — available at most big box stores — to match the footprint of your box. On top of the fabric, layer three-quarters of an inch of clean stone, then top with another piece of filter fabric.
Build a wood frame that’ll last.
On top of the stone-and-fabric base, you can now construct your box. Two-by-12-inch hem-fir boards should last several years without getting overly weathered — more if you seal them with linseed oil. Join the four sides of your sandbox by screwing each corner into a two-by-four stood vertically.
Order bulk sand through your local gardening store or favorite landscaper. For aesthetic reasons, Peake recommends bar sand.
Keep it covered.
Unless you want a litter box for neighborhood cats.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly called Elwood restaurant Elmwood. We regret the error.
Published as “Go Down the Shore” in the June/July 2020 issue of Philadelphia magazine.