1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

A Shoobie View of Brigantine Beach, New Jersey

by Suzanne Fluhr on June 25, 2013 · 54 comments

Brigantine, New Jersey beach scene.

(Updated October 8, 2021).
Philadelphians don’t go to the beach. We go “down the shore”—or if we are speaking really fast or have over-imbibed, “down a shore”. The locals “down the shore” call us shoobies.
“SHOOBIE” — definitions from the Urban Dictionary:
1. n.  Regional nickname denoting a tourist to the southern New Jersey shore. This term originated in the 1920’s when tourists, visiting the beaches were easily identified by the shoe boxes they brought to carry their lunches.
 2. n.   Any person who looks out of place while at the beach. Usually identified by the wearing of black party socks with shorts and a severe sunburn.Ex.: “This traffic is terrible. I can’t wait until these shoobies go home.”
.   someone who thinks they own the beach when they go just for a weekend or a summer. most of them deserve death…even tho they are the reason our economy survives. the guy who doesnt know how to drive a circle and insists on drivin in the fast lane even tho he is goin 70 and youdont even have to read his license plate to know its from PA and then gets angry when you flip him off as you go 90 past him

(I guess the full-time locals aren’t all that big on punctuation.)

We’re shoobies from Philadelphia — a place somewhere at the end of the Atlantic City Expressway and over a bridge.

For nine years, our family summer vacation was a two week rental in the southern New Jersey shore town of Avalon. The houses we rented had pine wall paneling, a shower that doubled as housing for hitherto unknown mold types and no air conditioning—central or otherwise. About the same time our then tween-age boys decided that Avalon was “borrring”, we ran out of houses we could afford to rent anyway. The  houses we rented were being sold for $1.00. The land under them was selling for 500,000 times that. Our previous summer’s rental would disappear, pine paneling and all, to be replaced by  a house we could not afford to rent, not that the owners of the new construction wanted renters (i.e. riff raff) in their vacation house anyway.

For the next two years, we rented a third floor walk-up in Ocean City, supposedly a much more happening place, according to our teenagers. My husband, Mr. Excitement, and I never “got” the appeal of Ocean City. Bike riding was death defying, with no room on the streets for a meaningful bike lane, and even our sons soon tired of the boardwalk. Really, how many tee-shirts and how much salt water taffy does one person need?

As our sons started having summer jobs in Philadelphia (finally), the family beach vacation “down the shore” faded into history. However, we still kept visiting our accountant’s office once each year so he could compute what we owed Uncle Sam, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia and our local township. Every year, we would gaze at the photos of beautiful sunsets on our accountant’s office walls and he would sigh, get a faraway look in his eyes, and tell us about his beach house in Brigantine, New Jersey.  Briga–where?

Brigantine, New Jersey lighthouse

The “fake” lighthouse that greets visitors to Brigantine as they drive into town. It sits in what may or may not be a traffic circle which leads to many confused drivers, especially shoobies. (Photo: Brig. Chamber of Commerce)

One year, in 2006, after having suffered through the usual Philadelphia  summer “muggies”, I saw a newspaper ad that said, “September rentals in Brigantine—-pets welcome!!”  It took all of a nano second for me to convince Steve (and the dog ) that we should give Brigantine a try.

We had a lovely week. Our first pleasant discovery was that Brigantine is only a little over an hour’s drive from the University of Pennsylvania where Steve works. We like to walk, so the south end hike to the beach — from the so-called beach block — did not faze us. Bike riding was a pleasure. We spent time walking around the various neighborhoods, past houses that reminded us of our disappeared Avalon rentals. Our accountant invited us to his Brigantine house for dinner — at sunset.

We felt comfortable in Brigantine. It was not pretentious (mostly) and seemed quiet (mostly). We realized that renting a house for one week in September might not have given us an accurate sense of the real summer vibe. We boldly decided to rent a house for two months the following summer — really actually across the street from the beach this time, on the north end of Brigantine. When we told our accountant about the location of our rental and how wonderfully close it was to the beach, he said something cryptic about donating blood to the green head fly population. Huh?

Brigantine, New Jersey is bike friendly

Brigantine is bike friendly.

It was an interesting summer. The dog and I moved in. I could tele-commute and my husband would come down for long weekends. Despite the green heads (only when there was a land breeze), the dog’s flea infestation, and the fact that I had whooping cough (yes, adults should get a booster shot!), we decided that we liked Brigantine enough—gulp—to buy a place of our own.

Brigantine, New Jersey beach scene.

Brigantine has wide, soft, sandy beaches.

With our patient realtor, we looked at many two bedroom condos on the north end of Brigantine. Then, our accountant invited us for dinner again — at sunset. It turned out that our realtor had no idea we would consider buying a south end, three bedroom townhouse (mostly because we didn’t either), but we ended up buying just that, a half a block from our accountant’s Brigantine house — same sunset view.

Our sons were incredulous, “Why’d you buy a house in Brigantine? There’s nothing to do there.” They have conceded they were wrong. Brigantine is just over a causeway (but a metaphorical million miles away) from Atlantic City, New Jersey’s version of Las Vegas. The boys (and our daughter-in-law!) can enjoy a barbeque (and the sunset) on our tranquil Brigantine deck and then go out for a night on the town while Mr. and Mrs. Excitement (and the dog) rent a movie and go to bed.

Atlantic City, New Jersey casinos.

Via the causeway bridge, the Atlantic City casinos are an 8 minute drive from our Brigantine house.

Our timing was impeccable (not!). We bought our house in October, 2007, just before the real estate market tanked. No worries, we have no intention of selling our sunset (I mean, our Brigantine house) for a long time.

After the sunset Brigantine, New Jersey

After the sunset over Saint George’s Thoroughfare Bay in Brigantine, New Jersey.

(You can read about some of my other “Down the shore” experiences here and here.)

after the sunset in Brigantine, New Jersey.

After, after the sunset in Brigantine, New Jersey.

Do you have a favorite beach (even if you’re a mountain person)?  

Tell us about it in a comment below.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Alice D. June 26, 2013 at 6:27 am

I live in the Boston area but still long for the Jersey shore – most of all, I miss the wonderful scent of the shore. We have Cape Cod but I am probably the only person in the world that prefers the Jersey shore to Cape Cod! My favorite beaches: Avalon, Stone Harbor, and Harvey Cedars, where I went as a child. “Going down the shore” – ahh, I miss doing that! “To the Cape” – just not the same. Water is too cold, and you have to drive to the beach.


Suzanne Fluhr June 26, 2013 at 11:31 am

Thanks for sharing your comment. I have to agree that the southern New Jersey beaches themselves are much more inviting than the Cape Cod beaches. On Cape Cod, the sand is coarser and the water is way too cold. However, the Cape from Wellfleet and beyond that is part of and protected by the National Seashore does have its other charms—and Provincetown is its own unique thing. Of course, NJ has Cape May which is also nice with its preserved Victorian houses. For us, there’s also the huge difference in the length of the ride—1 hour versus 7-8 hours.


Roz Warren June 26, 2013 at 9:13 am

But for me, the most important part of your Brigantine home is the guest room. And I plan to check it out one of these days.


Suzanne Fluhr June 26, 2013 at 9:59 am

Cmon down!


Steven Albelda June 26, 2013 at 11:22 am

Nice, I enjoyed this one. Love the last picture.


Madaline Fluhr June 26, 2013 at 11:45 am

I commented recently on a year old post of yours about the shore – and that “yearning” one has to be there – perhaps because we climbed out of the primordial ooze (which I picture as oceany) and dragged ourselves out upon the shore to begin the “great adventure”. In that comment I pointed out that there is a lot of “shore” to explore right here in CA, where I have lived since 1980!! I can probably count on 1 hand, maybe 2 (no toes) the times I have gone to the shore! Maybe I’m not a “shore person”, but the truth is I’ve done a severely modest amount of nature exploration out here – be it forest, mountain OR shore, all available here in abundance! I am now moved to explore more. I recently walked on the beach with a friend at Big Basin Redwoods State Park on Waddell Beach and watched about 10 kite surfers whipping around on the waves – an amazing, exhilarating sight! Ate the best homemade blackberry pie ever at a roadside cafe nearby, bought friendship bracelets (aawww) and had dinner at Sam’s Chowder House, an award winning restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean – fun to have a beer and watch the SF Giant’s game at the bar along with an excellent dinner. BTW one of you gave my daughter Emma a dark gray Brigantine Beach sweatshirt which I wear regularly and love – Emma’s always hot and I’m always cold, so I’ve pretty much inherited it!. It says Brigantine Beach New Jersey and has criss-crossed oars on it with the date 1897 – when it was established as a town?? Perhaps the germ of a history of Brigantine Beach blog piece there, Suzanne! Anyhoo…..hopefully a sistah visit “down the shore” is in the offing….during this decade!


Suzanne Fluhr June 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Mads, very well written comment. You should seriously have your own blog!


Robin Marks June 26, 2013 at 1:05 pm

My parents took my brother and me on vacations for one week every summer. My most favorite was a trip through New England. I loved all of the beaches, especially the ones that had lobster pounds in Maine. But my very favorite beach was on Cape Cod. The name of the restaurant in Provincetown where we had dinner eludes me now, but I can remember the window seat view to the beach and the ocean. We sat and gaped at the magnificent sunset on the water as we ate our lobster dinner. That dinner is my finest memory of lobster dinners, because shortly after, I developed the most severe allergy to shellfish that anyone has ever had. I will spare the details. It was the azure sky, almost being able to touch the beach and the glistening water that had soft waves rising to the magnetic pull of the moon that I remember. The sand was ivory and footprint free. It is when I first learned of the quote, “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight, red sky in morn, sailors be warned”. Our very entertaining waiter taught me that. My second favorite view is that of the sunset in Cape May, New Jersey. I watched until the sky became dark and the last glow of the sun over the water was the only light that guided me back to the cottage. (By the way, I can still eat fish and miraculously, scallops. They seem to be the only mollusks that don’t affect me).


Suzanne Fluhr June 26, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Robin, I look forward to sharing a Brigantine sunset with you. Sunsets over salt water are harder to come by on the east coast if the USA—what with the sun setting in the west and all. (We entertained some Aussie friends on Cape Cod last fall. Bruce decided to find out if he really is allergic to clams. Answer: He most emphatically is. I’ll spare you the details. The details would definitely be TMI.


Debra Yearwood June 27, 2013 at 11:25 pm

I’ve been on some amazing beaches complete with soft white sand and water whose color defied description, yet when you ask what’s my favorite beach I immediately went to Rissers Beach in Nova Scotia. I’ve never been in the water (waaaay too cold for my taste) and its always windy when I’m there, so I generally have on a jacket, but I love it. There is an amazing board walk that winds through a marsh before taking you to the beach. Sand dollars and small, perfect white shells are among the treasures collected on its shores by me and my family. It automatically makes me smile when I think of it. This year we went on cruise in the winter and were going to skip our trip to the east, but the summer has barely started and my husband and I are trying to find a cottage to rent Nova Scotia. BTW: Great photos.


Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) June 28, 2013 at 4:09 am

Thanks, Debra. I’ve never been to the Canadian Maritime Provinces. We’ve been thinking of maybe going there on a cruise. Otherwise, it’s a pretty long drive from Philadelphia to Nova Scotia. On the other hand, if you can hit the fall foliage right ( pretty hard to do), it could be quite beautiful. Thanks for stopping by. If you’re interested in photography check out the Photo Roulette contest I’m hosting until July 4th.


Nina June 28, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Fire Island is my favorite. Second, Long Island Beach in NJ


Suzanne Fluhr June 28, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Nina, do you mean Long Beach Island in New Jersey? That’s the next barrier island North of Brigantine. We used to go there when I was little—to the town of Harvey Cedars and Barnegat Light, also on LBI was the first place we ever went on a family beach vacation when our 29 year old was 5 months old. Memories.


Teresa Roberts June 30, 2013 at 10:51 am

I lived in Maine for over 30 years. There is a similar cultural thread that runs through the nostalgic memories of maniacs as well. Those who owned “camps” on the many lakes or seashore seemed to have idyllic childhoods. At least, the tales made it seem so.


Andrea July 2, 2013 at 5:01 pm

When I first met Ben and he told me that his parents had recently bought a shore house in Brigantine, I have to admit, I hadn’t a clue where it was located. I grew up going to Seaside Heights, and then when MTV’s Beach House moved in, the parents packed away our Seaside memories and headed to North Wildwood. Though Wildwood has the super duper long boardwalk and arduous treks from boards to ocean over miles of scorching sand, it was fun with all of its games, food, shopping, etc. I miss the boardwalk sometimes, but I do sincerely appreciate the peaceful beaches and convenience of Brigantine. It doesn’t hurt that Brigantine is almost exactly 60 minutes, door to door, whereas Wildwood can be about 2 hours to get to! Maybe I can convince Mr. Excitement, Jr., to one day venture to good old Wildwood for some reminiscing and boardwalk fries…. hey, a girl can dream 🙂

Big thanks to Suzanne and Steve for opening their door (metaphorically and literally) to me 5 years ago this Labor Day and letting me experience Brigantine. It’s now a little bit of a home away from home!


Suzanne Fluhr July 3, 2013 at 7:32 am

Andrea, one silver lining of our house in Briga-where? Is that we get to spend some quality time with you and Mr. Excitement, Jr. I mean, where else would you get to spend a Saturday night humiliating your mother-in-law at word games?


Anita Oliver August 29, 2016 at 8:46 am

Ha! I love urban dictionary and I enjoyed learning about Shoobies as well as the history. I can definitely understand the lure of being a Shoobie and now you get to experience the other side of being a summer local as well. And those sunsets … amazing!


noel August 30, 2016 at 2:11 am

What a wonderful way to enjoy summer and being close to the water and those lovely sunsets. I could easily do this everyday of summer and enjoy the simple things like walking on the beach and eating lots of BBQ.


Suzanne Fluhr August 30, 2016 at 6:39 am

My life does slow down and get basic during summers in Brigantine. We had a very warm summer in Brigantine this year. I brought shoes down, but never wore them.


The GypsyNesters August 30, 2016 at 4:17 pm

Never heard of shoobies before. I have a hard time thinking about New Jersey as anything more than a giant chemical dump. I know that is so wrong, but we have always treated it as a drive through going somewhere else. Guess we need to stop and smell the roses in the Garden State sometime.


Debbra Dunning Brouillette August 31, 2016 at 7:21 pm

I’ve never been to an east coast beach. Being from the Midwest, we always went to Florida, and for 25+ years, I’ve traveled to tropical locations in the Caribbean and elsewhere in the world. However, anywhere there is a sandy beach and the ocean would make me feel at home. You’ve captured some nice photos of your part of the Jersey shore, and I’ve learned a thing or two as well!


Judy Freedman September 6, 2020 at 8:07 am

I took the leap in 2008 after the loss of my spouse and never looked back. It was a sunny day and a totally renovated condo that sold me on Brigantine. My property is still underwater but after 12 years I’m still enjoying this quiet beach town.


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