By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Think of fall and what usually comes to mind? Pumpkins and Halloween decorations, perhaps? The turning of leaves into vibrant colors? Sweatshirts and chilly nights, maybe?
In Sea Isle City, the first weekend of autumn was more like a scene straight out of the summer season: Children splashing around in the ocean, anglers looking to reel in a big one and shoppers hitting the local stores.
Tom Regan was surf fishing on Sunday afternoon, while his wife, Barb, lounged on the beach reading a book and their son, Tim, was watching the Eagles game on his phone.
The Regans, who live in Lancaster, Pa., have been vacationing in Sea Isle for about 30 years and formerly owned a summer home at 63rd Street and Landis Avenue.
They originally planned to take a summer vacation this year, but postponed their trip to the shore because of the coronavirus pandemic, Barb Regan explained. Instead, they are enjoying a weeklong vacation at the start of fall, savoring nice weather reminiscent of early summer.
“We love this place,” Tom Regan said. “We’ve been coming here for 30 or 35 years. We still need our Sea Isle fix.”
By Sunday afternoon, Tom Regan had caught a spot fish and a dogfish, letting them both go. His wife and son briefly joined him in the surf before returning to their beach chairs to resume reading and watching the Eagles game.
“Life is good, sitting on the beach and watching the Eagles game,” said Tim, who was dressed in an Eagles cap and shirt.
Just a few yards down the 40th Street beach, Maura McCormick, 10, and her 9-year-old cousin, Piper Hoyle, were playing in the 64-degree surf. Both of them agreed that the water was chilly.
“I like it, but it was really cold,” Maura said, while smiling and pretending to shiver.
“I was very cold,” Piper added. “The waves were very, very big.”
Beth McCormick, of Havertown, Pa., kept an eye on her daughter, Maura, and niece, Piper, while they were in the water. McCormick has a vacation home on 40th Street. She noted that this time of year is nice for getaways to the shore.
“We still have warm weather, but the beaches aren’t as crowded,” she said.
This weekend was the last one for Sea Isle’s lifeguards to be on duty for the season. For lifeguards Colin Doyle and Pat Lynch, who were watching over the swimmers at 40th Street, it was a somewhat sad time.
“It’s our last day of the season and our last day ever on the beach patrol,” Doyle said.
Doyle is entering the U.S. Army and will soon report to Fort Benning, Georgia, for basic training. Lynch graduated from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia in May and is preparing for a career in marketing.
Not all of the fun this weekend in Sea Isle took place on the beach. Shoppers strolled the downtown business district in search of off-season bargains.
Roberta Zollo, of Horsham, Pa., and her twin sister, Adelina Harris, of Ambler, Pa., were in Sea Isle to celebrate their 55th birthday. They were joined by their family members Ashley Harris, Dolores Zollo and Jackie Kowalski, all of Pennsylvania.
Their getaway weekend at the shore included shopping for fudge candy and other goodies. Roberta Zollo noted that the trip rekindled a lot of fond memories.
“When my kids were small, we came here all the time,” she said of trips to Sea Isle. “This is kind of reminiscing back in those days.”