Aug 29, 2023

My Old Wildwood Home

Beach Rest Motel
423 East 25th Avenue - North Wildwood, NJ
I found this for a good price on eBay earlier this year and couldn't pass it up.  It's a postcard of the Beach Rest Motel, which is where my family and I would stay when we went on vacation in Wildwood, NJ when I was a kid.

I'm not sure exactly when the photo on this postcard was taken, but I'm guessing that it's from the 1950's or early 1960's.  There's no copyright year and it wasn't mailed so there isn't a postmark, but the motel's address is printed on the back and it doesn't include a zip code.  The US Postal Service introduced them in 1963, so I'm thinking that the postcard has to be older than that.

My grandfather picked up this postcard from the lobby of the Beach Rest Motel when we were on vacation in 1986... specifically August 29th, 1986, which he wrote on the back of the postcard when he filed it away with our vacation photos.  The way that the motel looks in the photos on the postcard is exactly how I remember it.

The photos are taken from slightly different angles, but I think that it's interesting to see the differences in the property over a span of about 30 years.

I swear that I can smell the room just by looking at this picture.  It's difficult to explain, but our room at the Beach Rest Motel in Wildwood had a very distinct smell that has been burned into my memory.  It was a combination of the salty ocean breezes blowing in from the beach with the old air conditioners in the room, and the smell of whatever products the motel used to clean the room.  I know that this description makes it sounds like the room smelled terrible, but it didn't.  It was wonderful, and it smelled exactly the same every year that we were here.  My grandfather would open the door and the smell of the room would just wash over me.  I knew that for the next three days, there would be rides, boardwalk food, mini golf, arcade games, cheesy souvenir shops, and my favorite part of all, Castle Dracula.

This postcard shows that was at the Beach Rest Motel.  It wasn't huge and it wasn't fancy, but it was special to me.  It's the pool where my grandfather taught me how to swim.  It's where we went to cool off on a hot summer day before hitting the Boardwalk.

This little motel meant a lot to me.  It was home base for some of my happiest childhood memories with my family.  Hell, my grandfather taught me how to swim in their swimming pool.  If I could go back and re-live any three days from my childhood, it would be the three days in the summer that we'd spend in Wildwood, where I'd rest my head for the night on the pillows of the Beach Rest Motel and then wake up the next morning and do it all over again.

Like so many parts of the world that I grew up in, the Beach Rest Motel no longer exists.  It was demolished in 2005 and replaced by rows of condominium apartments.  I'm sure they're very nice and probably have much better amenities than the old Beach Rest had to offer, but it'll never be the same.  Even if I hit Powerball and could buy the whole block of them and visit whenever I wanted, it could never be the same.  Time marches on and we march in step with it whether we like it or not.