You want to save Wildwood, go ahead, I’ll be in Costa Rica (JEFF EDELSTEIN COLUMN) – Trentonian

The Philadelphia Investigator had a story the other day about how there seems to be a ton of Wildwood motels for sale, and how that worries those who want to make sure the coastal town retains its mid-20th century look and feel.

And if you’ve ever been to Wildwood, you know what I’m talking about. Almost every motel seems to have been designed and branded by Don Draper.

That’s awesome, and yes, as a childhood lover of Wildwood, the thought of the town’s charm disappearing is heartbreaking.

Notice, by the way, I said “childhood sweetheart” above. For years when I was a kid, we took our annual vacation to Wildwood. Usually the last week of August, and we would stay at the chic-named… well, I better not name it. It was French sounding.

And it wasn’t fancy. There were two beds, a small kitchen, a small living room. There was a cafe. There was a swimming pool. It was right on the beach. I remember opening our sliding glass doors and stepping on the sand.

But I didn’t need fancy. I didn’t know out of fantasy. It was awesome.

I also remember dinners at The Captain’s Table. This place was just as awesome. So child friendly. Perfect place for families.

And then there was the night walk, where, in the eyes of a 10-year-old child, it was the liveliest place on the planet. The people, the smells, the food, the rides, the games – a quarter turn! — the “look at the tram please!” statements…

It was awesome. Awesome awesome awesome. All. I have very fond memories of our family vacation there. I couldn’t have written it better.

I honestly can’t believe I didn’t take my family to Wildwood for a week. Let’s see what this French-sounding venue is charging these days…

Holy smokes it’s $290 a night before taxes, and I’m sharing a room with at least one of my kids, and it’s over $2,000 for the room for the week — and over $3,000 if I want not being able to share a room with one of my children — and now we have to eat, let’s see what the Captain’s Table offers…

Aww man, they closed. In 2005.

Then there’s the walk…are there still quarterback games? No? Not even close?

Here’s the thing: I love my memories of Wildwood. I love the French sounding motel. I love the walk. I like kitsch.

But I can’t believe people willingly spend so much money on a shore vacation in New Jersey when, after you add it all up, you can spend less money going out of state, out of the country.

Seriously: How much does a week at the Jersey Shore cost with three kids? What if you want – ahem – classier accommodation than the old-school Wildwood stuff? I have to imagine it easily approaching $5,000.

Seriously: last summer, we went to Costa Rica. I got an Airbnb for $75 a night, on the beach, everyone had their own room. Beers were a dollar everywhere, food wasn’t much more expensive. Not a walk in sight. My son rented a surfboard for $40 for the week. We chartered a fishing boat for $200 and caught enough fish for four days – which was cooked, for $10, at a local restaurant. We spent 10 days there. We cooked a few meals, ate a few, experienced a whole “nuther” culture.

Sure, there was money for plane tickets, but if you’re not using credit card points to fund your vacation, you’re doing it wrong.

Well, this column escaped me. I really wanted to say it was just an anthem to Wildwood, but… well, I have fond memories of the place. I think I’ll keep them there. Nearly $300 a night to share a room with my kids? No thanks.

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