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Celebrate Independence! July 4th Fun!

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American Flag Stars Napkins by & Red Tavern Check Vinyl Tablecloth by Fabric Textile Products, Inc. (photo is property of Chrissy Fimiani and Fabric Textile Products, Inc.)

July 4th weekend is almost here! BBQ’s, fireworks, beach trips, & family fun have become staples of this American tradition. 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays since  I was a little kid. My family (large Italian-American family to be exact) would have a huge BBQ at our house every year. I was on decorating duty of course and would cover the backyard in red, white, & blue streamers. Mom would make every kind of salad known to man. Dad would grill every kind of meat the butcher could supply. My brother and I would go swimming in the pool for hours and then eat tons of ice cream until we couldn’t stomach anymore. (Yeah, Mom really “loved” that part.) At the end of the night, we would always watch the local fireworks display and go back to our house and make smores. If we were lucky, we would get to play with little sparklers too!

Our family tradition has changed since we are all getting older, but I still really enjoy the holiday. This year I have the opportunity to spend the holiday weekend in our nation’s capital, beautiful Washington, D.C. and I could not be any more thrilled! D.C. has become one of my favorite travel destinations and what better time to go than to celebrate our freedom and independence? It is going to be amazing. I will certainly do a follow up blog about my trip! I am looking forward to the parade and fireworks display. I’m sure the view from my hotel in Capitol Hill will be amazing!

To get in the patriotic spirit, I just wanted to share some pictures from my previous trips to D.C. with all of you. If you have not been there yet, I HIGHLY recommend taking a trip there with friends or family. The monuments are beautiful. The museums are excellent. The local food is delicious. The National Zoo has pandas! You don’t come across them very often! Most importantly, it is our beautiful country’s capital. It is a diverse city rich with culture and history.

I hope you enjoy celebrating 4th of July with your families! I will share photos from my trip with you in a few weeks!

Joanna

Fabric Textile Products, Inc.

All below photos belong to Joanna Maruca and may not be used or reprinted without my permission. Thank you.

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The United States Capitol was particularly gorgeous on that sunny day! We visited Memorial Day weekend in 2013 and left right from my college graduation!
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These cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake were TO DIE FOR! No wonder this place has been on national TV! Yum!
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Georgetown Cupcake can be seen on the hit TLC show, DC Cupcakes!
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One of the giant pandas at the National Zoo! He was chowing down on some bamboo for lunch! He was so cute! Unfortunately the indoor exhibit causes glares on your photos. It was great though!         
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Oh those Wildwood Days…

NJI am a born and raised Jersey girl. I was born in Belleville and I currently reside in Bloomfield, just off the Garden State Parkway at Exit 151. New Jersey is a small state with a larger than life personality. Our state is the home to many famous musicians (Bruce Springstein and Bon Jovi just to name a few). You can find a good 24 hour diner in every neighborhood. We still have gas stations where attendants pump our gas for us. Don’t even get me started on the taylor ham and cheese sandwiches! I can talk for hours about how much I love New Jersey, but the greatest part about living here is our beautiful Jersey shore. Down the coast from Sandy Hook to Cape May, you will find roughly 130 miles worth of gorgeous beaches and fun for the family.

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The Wildwoods welcome sign stands 17 feet tall and has become a popular spot for family photos! (please note above photo was courtesy of a google images search)

For as long as I can remember, my family has spent summer vacation at the shore. Growing up, my family had a small condo in Wildwood Crest and we would spend most of the summer season there. Even now at 23 years old, I would take a vacation to the Wildwoods (the name refers to Diamond Beach, Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, West Wildwood, & North Wildwood) over a trip anywhere else. It is my favorite shore point and has become somewhat of a second home to me.

This past weekend was the first of 3 trips I have planned there for this summer. For those of you not familiar with the island I thought it would be fun to share a little bit of the Jersey shore with you! (Believe me, what you may have seen on MTV’s Jersey Shore TV show is NOT representative of this beautiful place I call my home.)

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My family always books trip accommodations with the Jolly Roger motel located on Atlantic Avenue in the crest. It’s a fun retro style facility dating back to the 1960s! (please note above photo is courtesy of google images search)

The Wildwoods has a long-time attachment to the Doo Wop era which can be seen throughout every community. The resort area was built in the 1950s and is reflected in the architecture of the motels, restaurants, and landmarks. Funky colors, brightly lit neon signs, edgy designs, and retro decor is everywhere. Although most of the old motels and businesses have been since closed or turned into new developments, some of the original buildings still stand and function today. The Jolly Roger motel was built in 1960. The hotel has undergone renovations and new ownership, but still stays true to the Doo Wop roots. Just a block from the beach and a short drive from the boardwalk, this motel is the top choice of mine and my family. We love staying here and plan to do so for many years to come! (To learn more about the rich history and Doo Wop culture of the Wildwoods, be sure to check out the Doo Wop Experience Museum.)

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The Wildwoods is home to nearly 5 miles worth of gorgeous FREE beaches! There’s even a new Doggy Friendly beach too! (photo courtesy of Joanna Maruca)
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It was too cold for a swim, but a beautiful day for photos! Even the lifeguard was wrapped up in warm clothing! (photo courtesy of Joanna Maruca)

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Surfing is another popular activity! I saw plenty of boards on the sand throughout my walk!
Surfing is a popular activity throughout the Jersey shore! I saw plenty of boards on the sand throughout my walk! (photos courtesy of Joanna Maruca)
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There is a doggy-friendly beach for families to enjoy with their fur babies too! On a hot summer afternoon you will see plenty of playful pooches running around in the sand here! It was just a little too cold this weekend. (photo courtesy of Joanna Maruca)

No vacation at the shore would be complete without a trip to the boardwalk. Maybe I’m biased, but I personally consider the Wildwoods boardwalk to be the best at the shore. The boardwalk is 38 blocks full of shops, rides, games, arcades, places to eat, and fun for people of all ages. Did I mention there’s a water park too? It’s amazing! You cannot possibly tackle it all in just a day. Each pier has its own identity and it makes the boardwalk so unique. The lights on the ferris wheel can be seen from miles away at night. There’s a free fireworks display every weekend too! Hop on the Tram Car and take a ride down the boards. Grab an ice cream cone from Kohr Bros. and a bucket of fries from Curley’s! Gateway 26 Arcade has games to keep the kids busy for hours and plenty of prizes to choose from too! Don’t forget to stop at the Boardwalk Mall to pick up souvenirs for friends and loved ones at home!

The ferris wheel and rides light up the night sky!
The ferris wheel and rides light up the night sky! (please note above photo is courtesy of a google images search)
Gateway 26 Arcade & Casino and Kohr Bros ice cream located on the boardwalk at 26th Ave! These are 2 of my favorite spots on the boards!
Gateway 26 Arcade & Casino and Kohr Bros ice cream located on the boardwalk at 26th Ave! These are 2 of my favorite spots on the boards! (please note above photo is courtesy of a google images search)
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Every trip to the boardwalk means a mandatory visit to Curley’s for a hand-shaken lemonade and bucket of fries! Yum! (please note above photo is courtesy of google images search)

After a great weekend away, it was time to head back home to Bloomfield on Sunday evening. I’m so glad that the storm decided to wait until we got halfway home to begin! With temps in the 70s all weekend, it made for a pleasant trip away from home for a few days. After a 3 hour drive, I was back at home and ready to start the work week and already preparing for our next vacation!

I could literally write a book about all the amazing things that can be found in The Wildwoods. I have 23 years worth of memories. Every summer there is something new. New attractions, restaurants, motels, condos, shops, and so much more. I look forward to visiting again in July with my family. I will be sure to do a follow-up blog to this one as well. The jersey shore is definitely worth visiting if you have the opportunity to do so. A trip to any shore point will be worth it! My family has formed its own traditions in the Wildwoods and I hope your family can do the same!

For more information about the island, be sure to visit the Wildwoods NJ website. You can also request a free vacation planning guide! I’d love to hear all about your experiences!

Fun fact: In 1963, singer Bobby Rydell released the hit “Wildwood Days” and it has become to anthem of the island! Take a listen!

Wishing you and your family a wonderful summer season!

Joanna

Fabric Textile Products, Inc.

Photo disclaimer: Please note that photos credited by Joanna Maruca belong to myself. All other images and photos used were acquired through a search of google images. Those photos belong to their rightful owners. Thank you.