By Jim Melwert
OCEAN CITY, NJ (CBS) — Memorial Day weekend marks the start of a summer tradition: the weekly migration from Philadelphia to the Jersey Shore.
There are a couple of notable changes in Ocean City. First is the Route 52 Causeway into town. After six years and $400 million, that’s all finished, just opened this weekend.
And, if this weekend is your first time down here this summer, you’ll notice landmark pizza place Mack and Manco’s is now Manco and Manco’s.
Mother-and-daughter Rose and Deanna Ciarlone were out for an early-morning walk on the boardwalk. Make that a very early morning walk.
They had a strategy to beat the traffic: leave home at one in the morning, “And it worked!” says Rose.
Deanna: “And I’m tired.”
Reporter: “What time did you leave?”
Rose: “About quarter after one. We made it here in under two hours.”
Not bad coming from Downingtown.
This is the about their 9th or 10th year coming down here, and as daughter Deanna is just celebrating her 19th birthday, she says she appreciates it more and more each year.
“Like, before I saw it as I got to come down here with my friends. Now it’s I don’t need them, I get to spend the weekend with my mom. And I definitely appreciate it a lot more.”
AAA MidAtlantic estimates 35 million Americans will be travelling this weekend (most of them on the roads) from the Philadelphia area. And about 400,000 people are planning Memorial Day weekend trips. That’s up half a percent from last year.
Gas prices may have an effect. Even though they’ve come down since they peaked earlier this spring, AAA says many travelers still plan to cut down on spending on things like hotels, restaurants or entertainment. Retailers here of course hope that’s not the case.