The Best of 55th St (+Hoy’s)
Ocean City, New Jersey.
I’m sitting on the porch of a bed and breakfast in Ocean City, New Jersey. The sun is shining, but the awning has shadowed my rocking chair and the temperature is somewhat cooler than it would be if I were standing in the street. People are parading by, carrying beach towels and sand-friendly chairs, not to mention coolers full of snacks and water, as they make their way to the closest guarded beach on the north end of the island.
I am no stranger to Ocean City. My grandparents have spent six months of the year living in a big green house on 55th St. (south end of the island) for as long as I can remember. When my family lived in Philadelphia, we used to come to the beach almost every weekend…not that I was old enough to remember these trips. For 19/20 of the last summers, this week has been our vacation week – my sister, our dog and I piled into the car along with suitcases, snacks, and enough dog treats to keep my pup excited for the 9-hour drive from Columbus, Ohio. But this time, my dog didn’t come with us, there was plenty of room in the back seat to nap when I wasn’t taking my turn driving, and there weren’t a lot of snacks available. We stayed with my grandparents for a few days, but were relocated to a bed and breakfast on the other side of the island when my bride-to-be cousin and her family took over most of the beds in the house. I’m in no way complaining – this B&B has air conditioning!
Brown’s Nostalgia, which has (in my opinion) one of the best breakfasts in the 08226 zip code, is located on the corner of 10th and Wesley. If you have ever been to Ocean City, you probably know about Brown’s Donuts. Though I have been a Mallon’s gal my whole life (it IS across the street from my grandparent’s house), Brown’s is also delicious. I’m not exactly sure where it is located on the boardwalk, then again I usually just walk up and down until I find what I’m looking for.
Staying in this city as a guest, as opposed to being related to the homeowners and doing chores when I’m not spending all of my time in the water, has been fun. I get to relax and do nothing but read the books I picked up at the Sea Gull Shop on 55th St. for $1.25 each. But being downtown has really allowed me to think about what I’m missing by not staying on the south end of the island.
That being said, here’s my list of this post – my favorite places in southern Ocean City. In no particular order, the lucky seven are:
1. Hoy’s 5 and 10 – Also known as Hoy Paloy (don’t ask why), this store is full of trinkets and other, somewhat more useful items. I have purchased countless friendship bracelets, games, and “ocean shoes” there over the years. You can also find everything from lampshades to board games. (34th St and West Ave, also somewhere downtown – though this isn’t quite southern OC, it is still a great place)
2. Blitz’s Deli – This is, in fact, not somewhere you can sit down to eat. This little grocery store supplies a lot of our summer eats. The candy selection is somewhat lacking, but any lunchmeat and cheese you could want can be found in the back. Blitz’s also sells sunscreen and aloe, two must-haves for a week at the beach.
3. Mike’s Seafood – Fresh fish! I don’t eat fish, but my grandparents buy food from here to feed the fish-friendly parts of our family. Another favorite on 55th.
4. The Sea Gull Shop – One of my favorite places on 55th St, which also happens to sell aloe and sunscreen. Fishing gear can be purchased here, as well as beach chairs and $1.25 beach books, most of which have been donated by other beachgoers.
5. A La Mode – Make a trip for ice cream dinner to A La Mode on 55th St. Some of the sundaes are so large that you won’t have room for a healthy dessert. A favorite summertime flavor among the members of my family is peach.
6. Sack o Subs and Grille (& Sack o Pizza and Pasta) – Don’t want to pack a lunch for your long day at the beach? Walk across the street from the 55th St. guarded beach and order some sandwiches or a pizza! When my mom, sister and I are the only visitors, we usually just walk one more block home for lunch, but when my uncle and his family are in town with us, we turn into tourists.
7. Mallon’s – This donut shop is located between Sack o Subs and Grille and Sack o Pizza and Pasta. The store that used to be where SO Pizza/Pasta is now used to sell little trinkets, reading glasses and candies, which is why the best sticky buns in OC are between the two. Mallon’s sells sticky buns, donuts, crumb cakes, muffins and coffee, to name a few items. My grandpa walks across the street every morning to get his coffee and newspaper.
There are so many wonderful places in OC, but 55th St. is definitely a great destination if you’re coming for a lazy week at the beach.