Monday, August 22, 2005

Wildwood Choo Choo

I was in Wildwood, NJ this weekend. Cool place and some very cool train collections there. I wasn't allowed to take any pics, so you'll just have to guess what a 30 foot by 40 foot prewar layout looks like.... Really, the owner wouldn't let me publish any pics. I drooled heavily though and gurgled slightly. Think lots of 42's, 1912's, 54's and a Leland Monorail to cap it off.

If you live on the West Coast or somewhere in the Midwest and have never heard of Wildwood, it is absolutely worth visiting during the summer. The beaches are terrific, the food and people watching rivals that of the Catskills (in their heyday) or NYC. They also have a killer boardwalk with some of the wierdest and coolest stuff you have ever seen.

The city of Wildwood is fairly large and next to a beautiful Victorian town called Cape May. It's about a 20 minute drive from Wildwood and is another place where standard gauge folk can get some great layout ideas. It's a neat little city that is a little touristy but certainly worth a visit (I don't do it justice).

Wildwood looks like something right out of 1951. The styling of the city hasn't changed in at least 50 years and even the new construction fits in nicely. Check out this hotel (the Starlux):

Or this really neat little ice cream store. I'd love to see this ice cream store in tinplate (that means all metal and not plastic/scale).

If you haven't spent some time on a boardwalk, it should be the mandate of everyone that plays with prewar trains to put down the soldering iron for a couple of days and get that butt out from under the train table to a place like Wildwood. Coney Island used to have a decent boardwalk as did Asbury Park and Atlantic City. Those are (for the most part) gone. AC's is still there but it is definitely a sad, sad shadow of what once was. Just remember, what competed for boys attention when all of our beloved trains were born (prior to WWII) was not a video game but Luna Park in Brooklyn or the like. Wildwood's boardwalk really isn't that much different and has a really fun little tram train you can ride the entire length of the boardwalk for 2 bucks. And they have working models of the tram in the stores.

Wildwood's boardwalk is what a boardwalk is supposed to be. Freaks walk around till wee hours of the morning and stores, shops, restaraunts and Morey's Carnival rides stretch as far as the eye can see. It isn't the current corporate owned amusement park stuff we are all used to, it is done up the old way that is raunchy and fun at the same time. Check out this site for more pics:

At any rate, here is a restaraunt in Wildwood that is very amusing and the food is plain old good.

It's called Duffers. There's an arcade, mini golf, ice cream store and restaurant all in one shot. Too much fun? Nah, but there is one thing that caught my eye in the place!
Since taking pictures in a crowded restaurant is generally frowned upon, I grabbed this as fast as I could and ran. They have a nice G Gauge train running the entire length of the restaurant. Up and through the entrance, both dining rooms and so on. They also have a high wire act and an LGB cable car strung up in the ice cream store. I felt right at home!

The summer is coming to a close faster than I would have liked. This turned out to be a great summer and I am looking forward to at least a day in York.

I was thinking I'd like to do some Standard Gauge Blog T shirts to hand out at York. Any ideas for what should be or could be on them? Let me know your thoughts and make some reservations for Wildwood next summer!



Anonymous said...

THe blue comet would be nice.

OR how about the variations.

OR EVEN BETTER: your mug holding your favorite engine

-tom D

Anonymous said...

"I was in Wildwood, NJ this weekend. Cool place and some very cool train collections there."

Where did you see this layout ?