Christmas Shopping In Manahawkin

Dated: 11/30/2014

Views: 1570

 A Short History There is always nostalgia for the past.  When it comes to shopping—not so much.  Take Manahawkin at Christmas. During the Revolutionary War, practically all the inhabitants of the town could fit into the church that is now across from the Stafford Branch of the library.  Not much shopping needed at the Old Stone Store by Manahawkin Lake.  It would take from sun rise to sun set to get to the Tom’s River.  People were born and never left more than 20 miles from their village.  Not until the car, and even then people traveled mostly by bus or train.  By the 1950’s, the middle classes could start to “See the USA in their Chevrolet.” And Christmas presents were not just a pair of knitted socks or a homemade fishing pole anymore but, if they were lucky, they could receive a cornucopia of gifts.  Route 72 was a ghost strip in the winter.  Just an old fashioned diner where the Exxon station now stands and Perks Electric.     And then came the K-mart and a clothing store and happy times a Shop Rite on Bay Ave where Value City now stands.  And a Reynolds!  By the ‘70’s one could actually buy a Christmas present without going all the way to Cherry Hill or Eatontown which had the closest shopping centers.  And no, the Ocean County Malls and all of Toms River’s stores did not exist.  Slowly as the population spread south.  Manahawkin went from rural to what we see today.  So, when we buy our Christmas gifts in all our shopping centers and need a break from the exhaustion, stop by the McDonalds closer to LBI for lunch.  Take a look at its back parking lot and have a nostalgic smile.  Because not only was there no shopping, there was only a very few places to eat.  The back parking lot was built because it was so thrilling to have a McDonalds, that the line to get in stretched down 72 to Jennings Road.  Wow we’d hit the map.

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