As if pumpkin beer showing up at your local liquor store wasn’t enough, this weekend’s cooler and less humid weather is a reminder that fall is just around the corner.
The transition has already started down the shore – summer items are marked down, hoodies are the go-to fashion choice instead of tank tops on the boardwalk, and “help wanted” signs up in windows to replace summer workers who have already left.
The first noticeable dip will come Saturday as the last of this week’s renters head back home. They won’t be replaced with the same sized crowds. A lot of kids have already headed back to college, high school sports practices are starting, and many families don’t consider that week before Labor Day eligible for vacation. Instead, it’s a transition time to get ready for heading back to school in September.
For you, this means a few things:
1. Next week is the perfect time to book that last minute trip. Prices for weekly rentals are lower, and you might be able to finagle an extra discount with owners who’d rather have the house occupied than empty. Many hotels and motels offer lower rates, too. The American Inn in North Wildwood, for example, has already dropped their rates down.
2. Sales. Lots and lots of sales. The big one is the Stone Harbor sidewalk sale on August 28 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 96th Street will be lined with tables as shop owners try to clear out summer merchandise (and sometimes a bit more – I bought Christmas items one year). Expect crowds, and a hard time finding parking.
3. The whales are back. Most of the “whale watching” boats at the South Jersey Shore are actually dolphin and whale watching operations. Dolphins hang out down the shore most of the summer. Now, the whales are back. The Cape May Whale Watcher has spotted humpback and right whales already. This is the perfect time to go – you have the chance to see both whales and dolphins, and won’t need a winter jacket to step out onto a ship’s deck.
After Labor Day, the shore doesn’t just shut down, either. September is arguably its best month. The weather’s not blazing hot but still warm – as is the water. The crowds are smaller and less frantic. It’s as if the shore breaths a sigh of relief at the high season being over, and relaxes. That’s when I take my shore vacation. It’s a golden time.
What signals the end of the shore season for you?