Friday, May 24, 2013

Summer is Here and So Are the Shoobies

Tourist season begins and the shoobies are here (yeah!)!

The shoobies are here (uh-oh)!

The shoobies are here (is it Labor Day yet!?)!

For those from another part of the universe, shoobies are out-of-towners visiting our corner of paradise - our shore beach town. They come in endless waves for three months to enjoy the sun, beach, food, each other, to generally carouse and have a good time. You probably have not seen the ads, but what happens at the shore, stays at the shore…

At least shoobies hope so.

Most shoobies hail from the Philadelphia area, although more and more are migrating from the New York metro area and from the South – the Washington, D.C area.

Like cicadas, which also arrive on a regular cycle, shoobies are usually harmless, but are very noisy, congregate in crowds, and engage in rowdy activities. Except they do not die after cavorting. Shoobies simply disappear once summer is over.

Shoobies come around a lot more often than cicadas, invading yearly. First major sightings are a few days before Memorial Day weekend. They slowly trickle in, eventually becoming a steady stream of late-model cars creating traffic back-ups at lights and parking lots. Suddenly on-street parking is at a premium.

Do not get me wrong, we want the shoobies. Sort of. Most have more money – and quite a few have a lot more – than year-round residents. They spend money in stores and restaurants, and pay for lots of services, providing needed employment for housecleaners, landscapers, plumbers, beauty salon personnel, ice cream shop attendants, and the list goes on…

We need them for economic reasons. Most of us like to get a paycheck and buy stuff. We all have to pay Uncle Sam, and everyone here (in New Jersey) has to pay Uncle Chris.

And now I must confess:

We were once shoobies.

For several years we came down weekends to enjoy the sun, the beach, the boardwalk, the food, to relax and store up energy for the workweek ahead. Then one day we looked at each other and said, “We are not getting any younger. It is time for a change.” Unable to hop cross-country or overseas - hub is still working - we decided to try full-time living at the shore.

So here we are, three years later, enjoying life and lamenting the shoobie onslaught.

But that’s OK. Summer is short, and before long the line of cars snaking across our island disappears across the bridge, not to be seen again until the following May.

We take back our island, relish the sudden quiet, the empty beaches, the ease of getting a restaurant table, the end of morning jam-packed boardwalk walkers, runners and bikers, and enjoy the convenience of finding on-street parking directly in front of stores and other businesses. We take time to talk to those remaining as the pace of life slows and the sharp autumn air finds us on the beach, enjoying the last days of sunny, mild, beautiful weather.

Winter will eventually descend, hopefully more peacefully than last year’s post-Sandy period. By April events locals look forward to all winter begin, including yard sales (must stock up on toys for the grandkids), restaurant week and off-season specials, town festivals and charity walks and runs.

And suddenly, it is shoobie time again.

New Jersey does not have a great reputation (the TV show Jersey Shore definitely did not help); it is sometimes alluded to as the armpit of our country. And there are places at the Jersey shore where kitsch is synonymous with local culture. I am not saying the town named in the following song is one of them (and it is NOT the town where we live), but note the outfits of the back-up singers and hula hoop champion. It is all great fun, but it is accurate, kind of!

Philly Cuzz and the Shoobies sing this version of Wildwood Days.

FYI - Wildwood Days was originally sung decades ago by Bobby Rydell (1963), a Philadelphia native.

Welcome summer! Welcome shoobies!


  1. Shoobies, huh? We call them tourists. But the same breed of folks coming to northern Wis from Milwaukee and Chicago. They do put a boost in the economy. After lots of noise outside, hubby just asked me 'Is it Labor Day yet?'

  2. We get ours from June to September. Usually they do their sightseeing either before or after they take their Alaska cruise. We like their commercial input into the local economy and we wave goodbye with smiles at the end of the summer.

  3. We get "flatlanders" in VT--coming to ski in winter or see the foliage in the fall. In FL, we are part of the "snowbird" migration. I get it. Complain, but take the money.

  4. We won't be having the usual people coming to visit us during our Memorial Day Ski to Sea event, since the collapse of the bridge on I-5 makes it almost impossible to get here from the south! My sister has snowbirds in Florida. She looks forward to summer because they all leave. :-)

  5. As one current Shoobie to a former Shoobie: I think we are all Shoobies at one point or another in our lives. When we retire do we become ex-Shoobies? Or, I fear, do they have a name for us that's much worse?!?

  6. Ha! Guess I was a "shoobie," too, every summer from minus-3-months to age 18. Never heard the term, though. And we were in Atlantic City, not Wildwood. I wrote a YA novel about the clash of cultures, EVERYTHING IS NOT ENOUGH, and later adapted it as a play. Called the characters "summer people" and "winter people." Those were the days, my friend!

  7. Tourists come here too. Ours are mainly walkers and nature enthusiasts. Not rich people who spend a lot of dosh.
    My little corner of paradise is at the back end of the country, away from motorways and airports, that’s why visitors love it.

    A long time ago we too were tourists, then we came to stay. Now I miss the fleshpots.