Wednesday, January 30, 2008

To Shore House or Not to Shore House

It's about this time of year that people start asking an all important question:

Do I get a shore house or not?

I'm not talking about whether they should buy one (yeah right -- I just barely afforded my year-round house) but whether they should jump into a summer rental with 20 of their closest friends.

Last year was the first time I did a group shore house rental. My family had a place at the shore through my high school years, and then when in college, I had to work or was busy with internships and couldn't go to the shore except for one week in August with my family. I'd thought about jumping in on a few houses after that, but it was either never the right group, not worth the money, or both.

Last year, because I knew I needed a place to crash while researching for the book, I joined a very fun group of people in, if not luxury accomidations, adequate accomidations in Avalon. Ours was the bottom floor of an older Avalon house with uncomfortable beds but a comfortable couch (which is where I slept). We had central air, a pebble driveway (also known as Pebble Beach when people were too tired or hung over to make it to the actual beach) and a fridge large enough to hold a few cases of beer (and plenty of counter space for everything else, as you can see in the picture).

I had fun. Granted, most of my time spent at the shore house was working on my computer at the rickety dining room table, and not in the typical shore-weekend fashion, which for a lot of youngins means drinking, testing their luck in the meat market, sleeping, ordering food, lying on the beach, then doing it all over again.

But hitting the Jersey shore house every weekend isn't a perfect situation. It's expensive -- and I'm not just talking about the rental fee, but they money you put out for food and especially going out. The Princeton can be fun, but Miller Lites cost over $5 each. And in an environment where everyone, whether they're 21 or 41, seems to revert back to college mentality, that's a lot of beers and a lot of money. And, as my mom says, I'm 27 going on 40. I'm not a big drinker. A weekend or two of this kind of fun is fine, but by August, I was tired of it, especially after writing a book about the region and knowing all the other cool stuff there was to do. I'd rather sit on the beach and read, go out to dinner, have a drink or two and fall asleep to the sound of the seashore than stay out until 2am trying to talk to people over a loud cover band. Most of the time.

Yup, 27 going on 40.

I'm still on the fence. Unfortunately, I contacted the folks from last year's shore house a few days too late to get back into that group. And then there's the Emily factor: my life would be much easier if the place allowed pets. So, like a lot of other people, I'll start asking around and hitting craigslist to see what comes up.

Even if I don't get in on a house, I'm hoping I've made enough contacts around the shore to occasionally crash with friends. But if you don't have the option of having written a book about the Jersey shore, you better start looking soon. Those rentals are going fast.

(And if you have a spot to fill, lemme know!)

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