sandy-beachBy: Chrysa Smith

A couple of weeks ago, within the span of a week, I had very divergent experiences.

For my husband’s birthday/Father’s Day, I booked a trip to Ocean City, NJ for two days of sunshine and shore time. We stayed at a very nice B&B which was centrally located in the town. The Atlantis is a nice alternate to those 1950’s outdated motels, renting ‘seedy’ houses for the week or opting for Atlantic City casino rooms. These particular rooms are themed and decorated with elegant linens and furnishings—actually quite different for a shore location. I would recommend it, especially before July 4th, when all shore lodging jumps in price.

We sat and walked on the beach, along the boardwalk and through the town. I actually bought a couple of items, including the cutest cotton dress and some very ‘shore’ themed earrings. And we ate a couple of towns down the Parkway in Avalon one night; the other in Atlantic City. All in all, a very nice, relaxing couple of days where I could ease into the surroundings and feel comfortable among folks I know down there.

Fast forward two days later, and we were off to the Hamptons. Mark’s business associate annually rents a home in Bridgehampton. After an almost six hour commute through NYC traffic, we arrived to an entirely different experience. Beautiful and laid-back, sprawling estates greeted us, complete with privet hedges, which I assume, is meant to keep out the gawkers. The home has a backyard swimming pool and tennis court, and grand kitchen (which I must admit, I did covet). Two separate wings offered room for the hosting family and their guests. And there is always another couple each year with which to chat and share meals. Meals were prepared by the nanny and the guests, and we sat for lunches with a long table stocked with healthy food. Dinners were out in Easthampton, as was shopping. But my family did manage to head off to some outlets in Riverhead, where we could actually afford to shop.

OK. So I have no problem with wealthy people. But I must admit, the Hampton uniform for men was a bit laughable. On most streets you could spot the local or town  frequenter.  He would have on a pair of nice shorts, from Ralph Lauren or similar designer. The shirt would be a button-down white shirt with tail untucked. A designer pair of sunglasses, leather loafers and structured facial bones, and there it was. Right out of the pages of GQ.

For women, bone thin is in. Maybe it’s a haven for models or just those who prefer not to eat. Almost gaunt, loose flowing clothing, a nice pair of sandals or ballet flats, designer sunglasses and purse, and there it was. Right out of the pages of W.

I appreciate the finer things in life and do enjoy our annual trips to the Hamptons. But quite frankly, I don’t feel at home there. And I do at the Jersey Shore. It’s not Snooky and the ‘gumbas’ of reality tv, but rather, real people who say hello as they pass you on foot or on their pretty cruisers. They have families with kids dressed like you’d expect kids to dress.  And they don’t have attitude.

Give me the Jersey Shore or The Hamptons, even with a pocketful of cash, I’d take the uncomplicated, simply and common Jersey Shore every time. As they say, it’s nice to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there—even if I was 30 lbs lighter and had better bone structure.