Come visit. We’re here and open.
That’s the message the Ocean County Tourism department was pushing in the days between Hurricane Irene’s retreat and Labor Day’s onset.
No, the boardwalks are not destroyed. All attractions and amusements are open, to attract and amuse you.
Ocean County Tourism and Public Affairs Director Barbara Steele said tourism offices have been flooded with callers wanting to verify that there’s a boardwalk to come to.
She assures you, we are open. Ocean County is open for business.
“In Ocean County, virtually everybody in the tourism areas tell me they are up and running. I'm not sure how Mother Nature selected what she was going to hit the hardest, but I do know we fared better than most in our tourism areas along the coast,” Steele said in an email.
She used Point Pleasant Beach as an example. That’s the name of the town, but when possible vacationers hear Point Pleasant Beach has power outages, they assume it is the beachfront, Steele said.
“When people hear/read that the Point Pleasant Beach has no electricity, they assume it's the boardwalk because that's what they know best...when it's really the backtown residential area. Both the Point Pleasant Beach Chamber and I have gotten calls asking about the boardwalk and it was up and running on Monday. “
Seaside Heights is the same, she said.
“I just got a call from a family visiting Seaside Heights. The person couldn't find one thing that was closed on the boardwalk. He said it was a beautiful day and people are on the beach, the boardwalk is open and the amusements are operating,” said Steele.
One beachfront business hit hard managed to open earlier this week: Joey Harrison’s Surf Club in Ortley Beach.
While they canceled their events from Saturday to Monday earlier this week, the oceanfront club was back to rocking on Thursday and has a full line-up of events planned for the weekend. Most are the usual daytime entertainment of the Flying Mueller Brothers and last weekend’s rescheduled Sensational Soul Cruisers.
The club sustained damage to its beachfront bar, but the inside dance floor, staff announced, was ready to sustain a Friday “Endless Summer Bash,” a Saturday “Four at the Shore” and Sunday “Summer Closing Party.”
Toms River Township Administrator Paul Shives said many callers also reached out to the township even early in the week to make sure the beaches were open.
Toms River's ocean front Ortley Beach was open Monday, Shives said.
"We were able to do it," Shives said. "I was surprised."
He said Labor Day Weekend will go on as scheduled, with a full staff of lifeguards for all Toms River's beaches and the municipal pool.