By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Bill Fry was having a blast with his friends and family in Sea Isle City on Saturday, but he was trying to come to grips with the inevitable: The vacation season at the shore is slipping away – fast.
“Twelve more weeks,” Fry, a vacationer from North Wales, Pa., said with a laugh about his desire for summer to be magically extended.
He was lounging on the beach at 59th Street while watching his sons, Liam, 9, and Connor, 7, play in the sand and surf with some friends during a spectacularly sunny afternoon to start the Labor Day weekend.
Fry, along with his friends and family, were planning to cram a lot of activities into the three-day holiday weekend in an action-packed sendoff to summer.
Biking, jogging, kayaking and some leisure time on the beach were all on the agenda during the day, followed by drinks and dinner at night.
“Obviously, we want to take advantage of the nice weather over the holiday weekend,” Fry said.
Whether they were relaxing on the beach, out boating on the bay, taking a stroll on the Promenade or doing something else, Sea Isle’s vacationers all seemed to want to hold onto summer at least a little bit longer.
“We’re going to do some kayaking and then we’ll go to the beach before we sit on the deck to enjoy ourselves,” said Tracy Bryce, a Cherry Hill resident who has a summer home in Sea Isle.
Moments later, Bryce glided out into the bay waters off 59th Street while kayaking with her 17-year-old son, Liam.
Her mother-in-law, Mary Bryce, of Fort Myers, Fla., called out, “Don’t go too far” as Tracy and Liam started to paddle away in their kayaks.
Although the summer vacation season unofficially ends on the Labor Day weekend, Tracy vowed that she would be spending more leisure time in Sea Isle through the end of September.
“It still feels like summer as it gets later into September,” she said. “Typically, the weather is still like summer, so it’s great to be here in September.”
Only three days after the remnants of Hurricane Ida blew through New Jersey, causing widespread damage in the western and northern parts of the state, the weather at the shore was fabulous to begin the holiday weekend.
Air temperatures hovered in the high 70s in bright, blue skies and the water temperature was in the comfortable upper 60s.
“Gorgeous,” Mary Bryce exclaimed of the weather while standing on Sea Isle’s kayak launch facility at the bay end of 60th Street.
Also enjoying the water Saturday were Woodbine residents Jason Hearon, his wife, Courtney, their 15-year-old daughter, Paige, and their 5-month-old Labrador retriever, Jersey. They were joined by their Dennisville friends, Sandy Cowan and her daughter, Erin, on the Hearons’ 30-foot boat, “Serenity Now,” docked at Sea Isle’s municipal marina on 42nd Place.
They went fishing Saturday morning to start the holiday weekend and caught some flounder.
“We have our dinner,” Jason Hearon said of their catch.
The Hearons planned to spend the rest of the weekend on the water, either on their boat or on their WaveRunner.
“Then we’re going to wind down,” Jason said, adding that the family was looking forward to having a couple of barbecues together.
Courtney Hearon noted that this weekend is her “last hurrah” of summer because she will return to her job next week as a teacher at the Woodbine Elementary School.
“I’m a teacher, so I’ve got to go back to work,” she said matter-of-factly about her summer vacation coming to an end.
Across from the marina, Sea Isle’s seven new pickleball courts on 42nd Place were jam-packed with holiday players. On one court, Bob Moran and his wife, Michele, were battling with Moran’s sister, Christine, and her husband, Anthony Sanguinetti.
Moran said that after they were done playing pickleball, they planned to hit the beach and also have a barbecue.
Labor Day is bittersweet for Moran, who lives in Doylestown, Pa., and has a summer vacation home in Sea Isle. He said it includes some fun time with his family, but also serves as the anniversary of the death of his father, Robert E. Moran, who passed away in 1992.
“It can be a sad time, but it’s also going to be a good time because we’ll be down here at the shore with our family for the holiday,” he said.