The “Lure” of Irish Potato Candy

Growing up in the Philadelphia area, Irish Potato Candy was one of our favorite pre-spring treats, making its appearance in local candy stores a few weeks before St. Patrick’s Day.

Although shaped to look like little bite-sized potatoes, Irish Potato Candy is not, in fact, made with potatoes. Instead, it is made from a rich coconut cream, vanilla and powdered sugar concoction, formed into small potato-shaped candies, then rolled in cinnamon to give it the look of a freshly-dug potato.

In addition to its appearance, the candy likely got its name as a nod to the important role potatoes played in the history of Ireland. In 18th century Europe, the potato was a staple crop due to the fact that it was hardy, provided good nutrition and was dense in calories. It was especially popular in Ireland because it thrived in the Irish soil. Many poor, rural Irish families relied on it as a major source of food. Because of its popularity there and in other parts of the country and Europe, its wide consumption put a strain on the supply. And then, in 1845, the potato crop was hit with a blight that lasted for approximately five years, causing the infamous “Irish Potato Famine”, also known as “The Great Hunger”. The blight-affected crop loss had a catastrophic effect on Ireland – approximately one million people died of starvation, and another one million emigrated to other regions, including the United States.

One city in which many Irish families settled when they arrived in their new country was Philadelphia. With the influx of Irish to the region, there grew a feeling of prejudice among those who already lived in the area, as they thought the new immigrants would steal their jobs. As a result, many Irish people started businesses of their own to make money and serve their new community. Some of those businesses still operate today.

While the exact origins of Irish Potato Candy is unknown, it’s believed that the coconut-y treat was the brainchild of an Irish immigrant turned Philadelphia candy maker. It’s roots are believed to be in Philadelphia  because it has been mass-produced here longer than anywhere else and it is very difficult to find it outside of the Philly area.

There are differing theories about how the candy was first created – one belief was that its creator had leftover coconut cream and didn’t know what to do with it, so he rolled it into a small oblong shape, realized it looked like a potato, and then added cinnamon. Another theory is that the candy was created to satisfy people’s sweet tooth cravings between Valentine’s Day and Easter.

Since 1989, Philadelphia candy maker Oh Ryan’s has been making Irish Potato Candy. Each year between January and March, they ship more than 82,000 pounds of these sugary treats and hire a temporary staff to box and ship them. After March 15, they break down production and won’t make them again until next year.

The candies can be found in their familiar white and green boxes that start popping up in stores to remind you that St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. If you’re at the shore this weekend, chances are you can find them in the fudge and candy shops located in each of the towns.

If you’re looking for special treat to help celebrate St. Patty’s Day, you can always try your hand at making your own with this simple recipe.

4 T butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 t vanilla
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 ½ cups sweetened coconut
2 T cinnamon

Beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla using an electric beater. Add sugar, one cup at a time, and continue beating. Stir in coconut until well blended. Refrigerate batter 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle cinnamon into a low dish or plate. Remove batter from refrigerator and roll into small 1-inch potato shapes, roll in cinnamon, and place on a parchment paper-lined sheet. Refrigerate for at least one hour.



The temps are warming, the days are getting longer, and soon the shore season will be in full swing. Until then, you’ll be able to enjoy many pre-springtime events planned by your favorite beach towns, including this St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

So jig on down to the shore to celebrate your inner Leprechaun with these Irish-themed festivities!stpattyspic2Sea Isle City
Sea Isle City will host the 29th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Celebration, hosted by Kix McNutley’s, on Saturday, March 16, 2019 from 1:00 pm – 10:00pm. The event will include live music, an appearance by Sea Isle’s “Irish Royal Family”, a festive parade and other entertainment. The parade commences at 3:30 at at 83rd Street and will end at 63rd Street. Come early for the Jameson Warm Up at 1:00 pm, and the best dressed contest, which will be held at 2:00. Jitney Service will also be available from 2:00 pm until Midnight along the usual Jitney Route (the fare is $2 before 11:00 pm, and $4 after 11:00 pm.)

Icona Avalon’s St. Patrick’s Day Weekend features special rates and events planned all weekend at this beautiful beach front resort. Book a room for Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday is free. This packages includes breakfast on Saturday morning, a whiskey pairing dinner on Saturday, brunch on Sunday morning and the Coast Radio Broadcast & St. Paddy’s Celebration with drink specials in Avalon Brew Pub Sunday starting at 1:00 pm. You can also attend either the whiskey pairing dinner or the brunch separately if you are already in town. The overnight package is $229 per person plus tax.

Stone Harbor
Get ready to chill at the 9th Annual Stone Harbor Shiver. The event begins Friday night at The Reeds at Shelter Haven, located at 96th Street & Third Avenue, where a Pre-Plunge Party will be held. For a fee of $20, this event includes an auction, buffet and cash bar.

On Saturday morning, Fred’s Tavern will host “Kegs & Eggs” beginning at 10:00am. At 12:00 noon, a parade will begin at Fred’s and go to the beach front parking lot at the Women’s Civic Club. Here, participants will be introduced and entered into the “Best Of” contest, with trophies awarded for Best Team Name, Best Float, Best Team Costumes, Best Individual Costume, Youngest & Oldest Shiverer, and the “Grand Prize” for the Best Team Performance. And, of course, they’ll take a plunge.

After dipping into the frigid Atlantic, a post-party will be held back at Fred’s. Proceeds benefit Family Promise of Cape May County, a charity organization that supports, counsels and works to place homeless parents and children in permanent homes and also benefits the Stone Harbor Chamber of Commerce to support this and other fun events held throughout the year.

The North Wildwood St. Patrick’s Day Celebration & Parade will be held on Saturday, March 16, 2019, beginning with a ceremony on the front steps of North Wildwood City Hall (10th & Atlantic Avenue) beginning at 11:30 a.m. From there, a festive parade will proceed north on Atlantic Avenue to Olde NJ Avenue. There will be live music, entertainment and much more. This event is free to attend.

Cape May
The St. Patrick’s Day Plunge Weekend in Cape May begins on Friday, March 15, 2019 at 7:00 pm at Carney’s with music from Terry O’Brien Beatles Tribute Band. At 10:00 pm, Beer Olympics will begin with Host D.J. Palko – the fee to enter is $20 per team (teams of 2), and winners receive a cash prize, gift basket and trophy. There will also be games of Flip Cup, Darts, Quarters, Corn Hole and Beer Pong all evening.

Also on Friday, March 15 will be the Police Athletic League 14th annual Comedy Night Social from 7:00pm until 10:00pm. The event will be held at the Cape May Convention Hall and will feature 3 headline comedians. Tickets for the event are $40 per person.

Willow Creek Winery will be hosting a Pre-St. Patrick’s day Fire Pit Friday from 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm, featuring a special St. Patty’s Day Sangria. Bittersweet Duo will be performing from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. Willow Creek Winery is located at 160-168 Stevens Street, West Cape May.

The Cape May Brewing Company “St. Paddy’s Day Green Out”, begins on Friday and features specials all weekend long. Take a stroll through the tasting room or a tour of the production facility and try their special St. Paddy’s brews. The brewery will be wearin’ the green as it’s bathed in green light for this special event. Hours are Friday, March 15, 2019 from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Saturday, March 16 and Sunday, March 17, 2019 from 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm. The brewery is located at 1288 Hornet Road, Rio Grande.

Carney’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration will continue on Saturday, March 16th with Kegs and Eggs. Registration begins at 9:00 am for a 5K Run and 1 Mile Walk which will commence at 11:00 am, followed by the Polar Plunge 12:15 pm. On Sunday, March 17th, Carney’s will continue to provide live music and a special St. Patrick’s Day menu.

Finally, this weekend is also Cape May’s Sherlock Holmes Weekend. This event includes begins on Friday Evening at 7:00 pm with a Coffee and Dessert Reception at The Rose Room, Inn of Cape May. Here is where the crime will unfold and Holmes will announce that “the game’s afoot.” On Saturday afternoon, enjoy a self-guided tour of Cape May’s Bed and Breakfast Inns from 1:00 – 3:00 pm in order to search for clues and complete an answer sheet. Then, compare your findings with the famous detective on Saturday afternoon back at The Rose Room from 3:30-4:30 pm. On Sunday March 17 at 12:00 noon, enjoy a delicious lunch before Holmes and Watson reveal the solution. Winners will be announced and prizes awarded.stpattyspic2That’s a lot to jig about! Don’t forget to check out your favorite shore restaurants to see which ones are open and may be featuring St. Patrick’s Day events or specials. Erin go braugh!



Get Ready for Sea Isle’s Fe-BRRRR-uary Festivities!

polarplunge2019As the polar vortex descends upon us this week, the last thing on your mind may be heading to the beach. But there are some souls who will be busy preparing for their annual mecca to the blustery shores of southern Jersey to take part in some frozen fun. We’re not talking polar bears who have wandered too far north – no, these are brave human souls who will willingly walk into the icy Atlantic as part of freezing February festivities.

Sea Isle City will host its Polar Bear Weekend on February 15-17, 2019. The annual event promises a weekend full of contests, games and activities.

And, of course, The Plunge.


Most of the weekend’s activities will be held at the LaCosta Complex, located at JFK Boulevard and Landis Avenue. On Friday February 15, a Prince and Princess contest for ages 12-16 will take place at 7:30 pm, and a King and Queen contest for ages 21 and older will be held at 9:00 pm, culminating in the crowning of a “Royal Family”.

polarbearcartoonOn Saturday, a costume contest will begin at 12:00 noon, followed by the main event – the Polar Bear Plunge – at 2:00 pm. This is when many humans-turned-polar-bears will walk into the ocean and stay for as long as they can, but we’re guessing not for too long. Plungers can expect water and air temps to be in the 30’s-40’s, which means this event will send quite a shiver down your spine. It is important to note that, because taking a plunge in frigid waters can lead to health issues for some people, an official plunge area has been designated between 38th-40th Streets where medical personnel and ocean rescue will be on hand.

Plungers and their throngs of fans, family and friends are invited to a Post-Plunge party at the LaCosta Complex beginning at 2:30 p.m. with a costume contest awards ceremony to be held at 4:00 pm.

20161228_142824(0)The events continue on Sunday February 17 with a 5k Run and 1.5 Mile Fun Walk for Autism at 12:00 noon, sponsored by Mike’s Seafood. The weekend events will conclude with the 3rd Annual Polar Bear Corn Hole Tournament, sponsored by the South Jersey Corn Hole League. This will also take place at LaCosta with an entry fee of $60 per team. Registration is at 2:00 pm and the tournament begins at 3:00 pm. Proceeds will benefit the Polar Bear Run/Walk for Autism.

Pre-registration is required for most events. For more information, check out Sea Isle City’s website for further information as well as places to stay if you are in need of lodging.

Shop the Shore, Special Events, Uncategorized

Support Your Favorite Shore Businesses Today!

Drive through any town on the southern New Jersey coast what do you notice? Certainly, you’ll see stunning coastal views and beautiful beach homes nestled in and around quaint, small-town settings. But what you won’t see, for the most part, are big box retailers and chain establishments. Instead, you will find small, local, often family-owned and one-of-a-kind establishments.

The local artisans, chefs, brew-masters, farmers, crafters, entertainers and boutique shop owners are the backbone of southern Jersey coast, providing goods and experiences to enhance vacationers’ stays and provide for local residents. They are visionaries, sole proprietors and, in some cases, generations of families who work hard to make their dreams, and those of their customers, come true. And because they are small and local, they are able to provide impeccable personal service and a dedication to helping deliver just what their customers came for, like business owners once did decades ago before big corporations got involved. These are the important aspects of business that the big retail giants and chain establishments of today simply lack, employing instead a greedy profit-over-person mentality.

In 2010, “Small Business Saturday” began as a day when consumers were encouraged to support and celebrate small business. It has become an annual event, being held every Saturday after Thanksgiving. Its strategic positioning between Black Friday and Cyber Monday asks shoppers to think local when purchasing holiday gifts and support those establishments by visiting small local brick and mortar businesses. It’s important, because doing so can keep such a small business in operation.

Even though we’re considered to be at the end of the “shoulder season” for the shore, many shore establishments will remain open through the holidays and beyond. We encourage our readers to consider taking a day trip to the shore to enjoy some of the holiday festivities that have been planned.

Some of these businesses feature websites through which visitors can purchase items online at all times of year, so we suggest that you search for websites for the businesses you enjoyed during your summer visit and consider making an online purchase. This is a great time to find discounted merchandise, stock up on beach essentials for next year or find a perfect gift for your favorite shore-lover. Many of these shops and restaurants offer gift cards that you can purchase online. Giving the gift of a future experience at the shore is a wonderful idea. Even if the business does not maintain an online store, often you can call the business or send them an email and purchase a gift that way. I’ve had luck with this on several occasions because often the shore shop owners are thrilled that you thought of their business and want to help their customers find what they’re looking for, even if it is off season. With Cyber Monday looming, you may find some good online deals.

And if they don’t have a website but do have a social media presence, consider giving them a good review or a shout-out to thank them for what they did to enhance your visit. So often, the best review is word-of-mouth so if you had a positive experience, please share it.

Most everything you do and shop for at the shore is provided by a local business owner, so even if  you are not able to get there today or purchase something online this season, please try to keep a “Small Business Saturday” mentality throughout the year and support these businesses in any way you can. shopsmall2


Shop ’til you Drop This Weekend at the Shore!

This weekend kicks off the holiday season with two great shopping events.

In Ocean City, the annual Earlier Than The Bird is going on right now. From 8:00 am to 12:00 noon today, shoppers can stroll Asbury Avenue in search of the perfect holiday gifts. Refreshments are available and pajamas are welcome!

Also going on this weekend is Sea Isle City’s Girlfriends Getaway Weekend, where specials and discounts are available at shops, restaurants and bars. This event runs until Sunday November 18.

Stay tuned this week for more upcoming events including the many holiday festivities planned for Thanksgiving weekend.

Happy Shopping!

Cape May, Uncategorized

Cape May is one of “10 Best Beach Towns to Visit in Winter”


Congratulations to Cape May for making Coastal Living Magazine’s “10 Best Beach Towns to Visit in Winter“. We wholeheartedly agree! Cape May’s Holiday Preview happens this weekend (November 16-18) so come on down and see why we believe that Cape May is THE best place to visit during the holiday season.

20151219_163317.jpgIt’s beautiful. During the holiday season, which generally runs from mid-November to January, virtually every square inch of the town is adorned with fresh greens, colorful decorations and beautifully created holiday vignettes. At night, the town sparkles with festive holiday lights.

20151219_162815.jpgThere is so much to do here. With almost two full months of planned festivities, Cape May offers so much to visitors to do during the holidays.  Take a Holiday Lights trolley tour, visit an Old Fashioned Christmas display, sip hot chocolate and listen to carolers, and so much more.

20151219_144841.jpgYou can find unique holiday gifts. Washington Street Mall is a great place to stroll around and shop for everyone on your gift list, but Cape May also offers other shopping venues as well. Check out West End Garage for unique hand-crafted and vintage items, or shop along Beach Avenue for beach-inspired gifts for your favorite shore lover.

CellPhone-Photos-726-Copy.jpgIt’s like stepping back in time. With its Victorian gingerbread houses, horse drawn carriages and gas lamp-lit streets, visiting Cape May during the holiday season is like stepping into a Dickens Christmas village. During the holiday season you can take a Ghosts of Christmas Past trolley ride and do a candlelight tour of Victorian homes, decked out for Christmas as one may have done so during the 1800s. The informative and engaging volunteers of the Cape May Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts, dressed in period clothing, are sure to entertain you as you enjoy your old fashioned Cape May Christmas experience.



Special Events, Uncategorized

November Brings Good Cheer

It may be November, but that doesn’t mean the fun stops at the shore. As a matter of fact, there’s a lot going on this month in each of the towns in preparation for the upcoming holidays. Here is an overview of some of the upcoming events going on this month and why we think November is one of the best months to go down the shore.

girlfriendgetawayGirlfriends Getaway Weekend

What’s better than a seaside getaway with good friends? On November 16-18, 2018 Sea Isle City will roll out the red carpet for beach lovers and their friends to eat, drink, shop and be pampered. Over 40 participating businesses will be offering discounts and specials on lodging, dining, spa and shopping opportunities. It’s a perfect way to catch up with friends, have a glass of wine by the sea, relax with a massage and start your holiday shopping. Jitney service will be available Saturday 3:00 pm – 12:00 am.

Holidays Happen Here christmastreeonbeach.jpg

Beginning on November 16 and continuing throughout December, your favorite shore towns will be celebrating this festive season each in their own unique way. Cape May kicks off the season with the arrival of Santa at a tree lighting ceremony at the Emlen Physick Estate, and Ocean City begins offering horse-drawn carriage rides which will continue throughout the  holiday season, along with other festivities. Look for continuing holiday fun in both towns throughout the holiday season. The majority of the holiday festivities are planned for the weekend of November 23 (Thanksgiving weekend). These events include Ocean City’s Christmas in Downtown, Sea Isle City’s Holiday Extravaganza, Avalon’s Festive Friday and Snowfest Saturday, Stone Harbor’s Island Holiday, and many other holiday-inspired events. Wildwood gets in on the action starting the weekend of December 1 with their Family Holiday celebration and a Christmas Parade.   We will be covering all these events in greater detail in mid-November.

holidayshop.jpgJump Start Holiday Shopping

On Saturday, November 17, 2018, Ocean City joins its southern sister in kicking off the holiday shopping season with their annual “Earlier Than The Bird” event. You don’t even have to get out of your pajamas for this one – the event specifically invites shoppers to come in their sleepwear so that they can get out “earlier than the bird” to enjoy some coffee or hot cocoa and begin their holiday shopping at downtown shops. The event runs from 8:00 am and runs until 12:00 noon. When this is done, don’t forget to head south to Sea Isle to enjoy the Girlfriends Getaway shopping deals.

Small Business Saturdaywashingtonstreetshopping1

November 24 is Small Business Saturday, a nationally recognized day to celebrate and support local small businesses. We’re hoping that you’ll come to the shore to support your favorite beach shops, bars, restaurants and hotels in exchange for a relaxing and fun weekend filled with holiday festivities and a chance to pick up some beach-inspired gifts for those on your holiday shopping list.

So as you can see, November is a busy time down the shore. May your holiday plans include a trip to the shore to enjoy all these festive events!

Special Events

How To Trick-Or-Treat at the Shore

Okay, Halloween lovers – tomorrow is the big day! Here are some things you may want to know about trick-or-treating at the shore:

Where: Trick-or-treating is happening on October 31 in each Cape May County town.

When: The specific trick-or-treat times for each town is listed below.

 pumpkinonbeach       Avalon: 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm*
        Cape May: 5 to 7 p.m.
        West Cape May: 5 to 7 p.m.
        Ocean City: 5 to 8 p.m.
        Sea Isle City: 5 to 8 p.m.
        Stone Harbor: 5 to 8 p.m.*
        North Wildwood: 5 to 7 p.m.
        West Wildwood: 5 to 8 p.m.
        Wildwood: 5 to 8 p.m.
        Wildwood Crest: 5 to 7 p.m.

(*Note that Avalon and Stone Harbor will provide maps of participating houses, available at the 82nd Street Recreation Department, or look for wooden pumpkins on lawns or porches.)

halloweenstarfishWho: Trick-or-treating is fun for everyone – including the teens! After all, if they took the time to put together a costume and are knocking on your door and (hopefully politely) asking for candy, that means they’re not out doing other things. So let them have their fun-sized bars!

Here are some other things to keep in mind when deciding who to trick-or-treat with:

• Children should be accompanied by an adult at all times
• Adults should remain with children at all times, including when going up to a door
• Teens who are not accompanied by an adult should go in a group – safety in numbers!
• Teens and their parents should discuss and agree upon a specific route and return time
• It is best to trick-or-treat only in neighborhoods or houses that you know
• If a person invites you inside, do not go unless you know them well or if the adults say its okay
• Children should be advised not to give their names, tell where they live or give other personal information if trick-or-treating where they don’t know the home owners

How: Here are some other best practices to keep in mind when trick-or-treating:

trickortreat• Costumes should not restrict visibility or movement
• Avoid masks that block vision and costumes that drag on the ground
• Pay attention to your town’s trick-or-treat rules, such as times, houses that are participating, etc.
• Know and obey your town/state pedestrian safety laws
• Use caution when crossing the street and around moving vehicles
• Carry a flashlight or use reflective tape and/or glow sticks to increase the likelihood that drivers can see you
• Do not open any candy or items until they are inspected – look for open packages or anything that feels or looks unusual
• Report any suspicious person or activity to the police immediately

Whew! We know this is a lot to keep in mind but our goal is to make sure that everyone is safe and enjoys their Halloween experience. So be safe, enjoy your night and have fun!