It’s the time of year when I start thinking about the beach and the New Jersey shore in particular. I was looking for photos to “Percolate” and some of the iPhone photos from Wildwood lend themselves to the process.
The Famous Wildwood Sign
In August we stayed at the wonderfully retro Caribbean Motel in Wildwood, New Jersey. This was our second stay there and we enjoyed ourselves almost more than the first time. Our reservations coincided with the Hurricane, but luckily we were able to reschedule and go a few days later. We were unsure of the condition of the area after the storm but everything was up and running when we arrived on Monday afternoon.
I think I had mentioned in an earlier post that staying at The Caribbean Motel is like taking a journey back in time. It reminded me of my childhood vacations where we would stay at roadside motels. They even play music of the 50’s out by the pool. I was thinking that there is no way you can be in a bad mood while listening to songs like “Lollipop lollipop” and “Monster Mash” while splashing around in the pool. One of the fun extras was a poolside hot dog roast with baked beans and lemonade.
The retro theme continues inside the rooms. I love the lamps and the color scheme of yellow and green. You can also hang out in the Cabana with the leopard patterned couches.
I love the pool at night as the lights shimmer on the water. The pool is heated so we would try to get one last swim in at night after a trip to the Boardwalk.
The outside of the Cabana at night. You can get a great view of the neon lit hotels on the strip from the elevated ramp in front of the Cabana.
Views of their classic neon sign.
The Caribbean is about a block from the beach and a short walk to the Boardwalk. I really like that the area by the motel is pretty quiet but you are still within walking distance from some of the attractions and restaurants. I’m looking forward to (hopefully) a longer stay next summer.
One of the things I love about Wildwood is the abundance of neon signs on almost every motel and hotel on the strip. Many of the signs are the originals which have been preserved or refurbished to fit the Doo Wop theme. I imagine that the main drag is a little like a smaller version of the Las Vegas strip in the 1960’s. I took all of the pictures using Hipstamatic set on random to get a variety of different looks. I found that the Hornbecker lens and Pistili film combination worked pretty well at night.
During the last week or two I have been reminiscing about past trips to Wildwood and looking at a lot of photos on Flickr and Wildwood discussion boards for inspiration for our next trip. One of the reasons I wanted to go to Wildwood last year was to capture the retro beauty of Wildwood through the Hipstamatic lenses. We are taking a short trip there again and I’m really excited about taking pictures because there are so many new lenses and films to use since our last visit. There are so many different aspects to focus on, such as neon signs, doowop architecture, the boardwalk and diners.
While searching Wildwood sites I found the RetroRoadmap blog. I love this blog because it has the same type of sensibilities that I have. It brings back memories of road trips with my family where we would stop at roadside attractions (like a house where water ran up hill) and buy fun things like apple head dolls.
Here are some old photos from last years trip that I hadn’t posted before:
The Caribbean Motel in Wildwood, ArtRage on iPad
I recently read an article about how the Jersey Shore reality show has helped out the economy in Seaside Heights this summer. I hope that people who go to the shore get to discover other parts of the towns and beaches as well because each one has it’s own unique personality. I was reminiscing about all the different beaches in New Jersey that I’ve visited, and how the places I’ve visited have changed as I’ve gone through different stages of my life. This is a partial list of places and ages:
Sandy Hook – I went to Sandy Hook with camp as a child because it was a free beach and it was pretty low key
Asbury Park – I went there as a teen around the same time the Clash were playing at the convention hall and saw punks play mini golf
Seaside Heights – In college I went to Seaside because they had great bars and a fun boardwalk
Point Pleasant – Another fun boardwalk with Martell’s Tiki Bar where we used to get the best steamed crab legs
Avon – A very quiet beach that has quaint bed & breakfasts
Wildwood – Wildwood is where we have vacationed the last several years. One of the things I love about Wildwood is the Doo Wop architecture. You feel like you have stepped back in time as you drive by the neon lit retro motels that line the main strip. The Boardwalk is very family oriented and has a lot of the rides we remember from when we were kids. Last summer I took a lot of Hipstamatic photos of the motels and boardwalk and created some paintings on my iPad. Last summer we stayed at the Caribbean Motel and I loved the retro look. It had a magical, nostalgic feeling that reminded me of vacations I took as a child.
Brushes on iPad.
A close up view of one of the signs from the Neon Sign Garden in Wildwood, New Jersey.