By Maddy Vitale
The Varallos love the beach. And when it comes to frosty temperatures New Year’s Day, when the winds whipped, and the thermometer was stuck at 20 degrees in the afternoon, the family of four improvised in Sea Isle City.
Instead of swimming, they did a little “beach skating,” on swaths of icy patches near the water’s edge.
Sebastian, 10, and Maverick, 6, Varallo laughed as they slid on the icy sands. For a bit, they looked like they were actually skating. Maverick thought nothing of the cold when he slid on the sands for some impromptu brisk body surfing.
“Our kids love the beach. We come down to the beach on New Year’s Day every year. It’s a fun tradition. This year there is an added bonus of ice on the sand,” Stacey Varallo said, laughing.
For the most part, one day into 2018, families stayed off the Promenade and beaches, opting for a warmer start to the New Year. The brave souls who did come out bundled up in full winter gear, except for the occasional jogger.
But not the Varallos, who live in Swedesboro in Gloucester County year-round, but also have a vacation home in Sea Isle City.
“I’m a teacher, so we spend our summers here,” Stacey said. “We also come down around November and New Year’s because of all the kid events Sea Isle has. We love it. There’s so much for the kids to do.”
Dad Michael Varallo shook his head and chuckled as he watched his boys hamming it up – really taking their family tradition seriously.
It was day two of the Varallos cold adventures. They watched the fireworks display at the JFK Boulevard beach on New Year’s Eve.
“They were great. They went on for a long time,” Stacey remarked.
The boys even made their New Year’s Eve resolutions.
“Mine is not to fight with my brother,” Maverick said.
Sebastian had a different resolution. “I’m not going to complain.”
“And you both are going to share,” Stacey said, as she looked at the boys.
After about 15 minutes, the family agreed it was time to walk up to the Promenade and head for some warmth.
One family decided to walk the entire Promenade.
Dan and Holly Perlingieros came down to their Sea Isle home for the holiday weekend from Springfield Pa., with their children Elena, 6, 8-year-old son, Gabriel, and their dog Molly dressed in a winter coat.
“It feels good to walk and stretch our legs,” Holly said. “And 20 degrees is a good motivator.”
They dressed for the occasion.
“Our faces are cold, but the sun is warm, and the wind isn’t that bad. We bundled up,” Holly said.
The family decided to brave the cold on New Year’s Day to take a stroll.
“I want to do the whole thing,” Elena said. She and her brother then hopped up some stairs to some businesses and checked out the ocean vista.
Gabriel remarked, “The sun makes it not feel so cold. Happy New Year.”
Rocco Wack, 14, of Lansdale, Pa. and his friend, Will Kelly, 13, walked out onto the beach with a ball and bat. They tapped at the sand with the bat and looked at the tranquil setting.
“We just wanted to check things out,” Wack said.
After a few minutes they made their way back to the walkway.
For Jan Himmelreich, of King of Prussia and Sea Isle, her visit wasn’t for fun. She was concerned about her summer home.
“I came down for the day to check on my house. I was worried because of the frigid temperatures. Everything was great. I am happy.”
So, she made the most of her afternoon with her rescue dog Josie.
Josie had on a coat that fit her once again, since she slimmed down, Himmelreich joked.
“We are taking a little walk. It isn’t so bad,” Himmelreich. “Josie will let me know when it’s time to go. She is tougher than me.”
Then they hit the sands.