Around the Island

Richard’s Almanac: Blessings then and now

I was blessed with a visit from my older son and his two daughters last weekend. We all had a great time. The weather was spectacular, except for torrential rain that came down from about 6 to 7 p.m. on Saturday while we were barbecuing.

Undaunted, my son grilled on with umbrella in hand and was unfazed by the deluge. We had quite a feast of shrimp, chicken and sausages. Delightful. The rest of the time the girls spent at the beach getting in some serious swimming and also learning how to paddle board from their older cousin. They left on Sunday afternoon and I’m left with a house full of sand and wet towels.

But I loved it.

It was great that they ventured out here from the far reaches of New Jersey. I had not seen them in four months. And changes are evident in that amount of time for seven- and 11-year-olds.

When my granddaughter asked about good places to eat, I had to explain that the pandemic had placed a damper on restaurant and saloon life on this island. My son chimed in with a remark to the effect that, “It’ll never be as busy here in the summer as it was in the late 80s and early 90s.”

That’s when he’d spend summers out here working in restaurants. He reminded me of the plethora of places to eat on the Island, noting that there was a “dining out culture” that made it almost impossible to get reservations on summer Saturday nights.

The Island had loads of places and they were always very busy during the summers.

Coming up from the North Ferry, dinners were available at the Chequit and The Cook (now Isola). Going down the hill, The Dory was always packed.

Then up the hill on 114 the first left would take you to the Len Alison’s at the Dering Harbor Inn. Continuing out to Ram Island, travelers found the Ram’s Head Inn. Back on 114 near the IGA was The Inn Between right next to Bob’s Fish Market and Restaurant.

Farther along 114 was Cogan’s Country Restaurant (now 18 Bay) and Chip’s Seafood Restaurant (now Slice Pizza).

Jimmy Hayward was busy with Commander Cody’s, Nettie’s Pizza was operating, and down at Crescent Beach, Charlie Kraus’s restaurant and the Pridwin provided good food with spectacular views.

So this was what was available to Island diners 30 years ago or so. Lots of choice and lots of variety.

I wonder why we’ll never be as busy as we were on this little Island three decades ago?