Today’s posting is an informal continuation of our “mini vacation” on the Jersey Shore and elsewhere in the northeastern section of the USA. Get your bathing suit on if you want…
Summer weather in New Jersey is a lot more tolerable than what we have this time of year in South Florida where we live. The temperatures and humidity are lower along the Jersey shore. South Florida (it isn’t called “Southern” Florida for whatever reason) is tropical and the summer heat can be oppressive. Air conditioning gets me through it and the rest of the year is so pleasant it’s well worth the few months’ sweat.
Meanwhile, driving up and down the streets of Margate, New Jersey, just to gawk at some of the spectacular homes, is a favorite pastime when we visit. The properties on the beach and the ones that line what is called “beach block” (the first block off the beach) are all million dollar-plus homes, old and new. Each one is a fantasy home site for those of us who wish for a lucky lottery ticket.
Just a short drive to the south of Margate is Ocean City. This is a popular summer resort town for families, especially those with young children. Ocean City has a traditional boardwalk, lined with stores, restaurants and amusement arcades with rides and games.
We were able to piece together a portion of our trip that we had previously been forced to abandon. So we hopped on a train and off to Lancaster, Pennsylvania we went. It’s about an hour train ride from Philadelphia to Lancaster. The scenery outside the train window makes a slow transition from skyscraper buildings and suburban sprawl to small town communities and finally barns, silos and fields of fresh corn. Our niece’s family lives in the historic city of Lancaster. And it is more of a city than a rural town. Once a thriving manufacturing center for several well known consumer products, its hospital is now the city’s leading employer.
Lancaster has a formal downtown complete with a grand circle in the middle of the main crossroads. It features a traditional monumental array of statues dedicated to the city’s residents who made the great sacrifice fighting the Civil War back in the 1800’s. Historic markers are posted on almost every block to showcase where a noteworthy event occurred or where a signer of the Declaration of Independence once lived.
Both Hamilton and Bulova watches were made here at one time and RCA’s once-busy manufacturing and research center is here too. Radio and television tubes were the products that RCA produced on site years ago. It’s where color television was first developed for the mass consumer audience.
There are no spreading suburbs surrounding Lancaster. Instead, there is a distinct delineation that butts the urban border up against the fences that surround the adjacent farmland. Lancaster County is home to the State’s largest Pennsylvania Dutch, or Amish, community. While staunch traditionalist who formerly rejected all worldly goods, the Amish today recognize a good buy. Consequently, it is not unusual to locals to see a horse and buggy neatly tucked in a parking space at one of Lancaster’s crowded outlet shopping centers.
Our stay in Lancaster was brief. We were back on the train the next morning and eventually back to Margate. In the meantime, it had been a busy and very unfortunate weekend for terrorist activities in several locations abroad. I worry that this country’s Fourth of July celebrations could be tragically marred by similar activity. The world is forever changing but not always in a good way.