In search of lost time at summer's end: Drinking coffee (and other things) in Point Pleasant

Nothing evokes the sense of time passing like the end of summer.  In early July, summer seems to stretch out in front of us. We envision days at the beach, afternoons lounging at the pool, and evenings spent happily, and aimlessly, hanging out.

But as human rights activist, Erwin Sylvanus, once said, time is ‘indifferent to the affairs of people, time runs out, precise, heedless, exact, and immutable in rhythm.’ And just like that, long July nights give way to the hustle and bustle of August & end-of-summer vacations, which inevitably lead to Labor Day weekend---and along with it, grudging acceptance of summer's end and the promise of pumpkin spice lattes.

Roughly 3 weeks ago, I was sweltering under the hot sun, while my kid and her friends rode amusement park rides on the Point Pleasant boardwalk. When you are an adult on a crowded beach boardwalk during the last weekend of summer, you summon all of your strength and patience to ‘go with the flow,’ because you know that for kids boardwalk rides are serious business.
It was Labor Day weekend, the ‘last’ summer weekend of the year, and we parents thought it would be great to cap off the summer with a carnival experience on a super-crowded beach boardwalk, on an especially humid day. The kids had a blast, while the adults wandered around, taking random photos, buying more tickets, and finally saying, "OK we’re done now."

Finding coffee in a dessert of coca-cola

We needed some respite, a place to sit down and relax for a few minutes, get away from the sun…So we walked to the food court and the first place we saw was Jenk’s Coffee. Immediately, we knew, we were destined to drink at least 1 cup each, if not more.

I wonder how many parents have sought out coffee on the boardwalk in the last 90 years? In 1928, businessman Charles Jenkinson opened Jenkinson’s Pavilion, a large open-air building on the beach, replete with a candy shop, water fountain, and refreshment stand (with coffee!).

Over time, the pavilion grew into a family business that would come to define the Point Pleasant experience, including the amusement park, which was opened in 1987 and Jenkinson’s Aquarium, which opened in 1989. A devastating fire that destroyed the original pavilion was only a temporary setback that made room for the new pavilion, which is currently the site for the food court.

Drinking coffee at the Point Pleasant Pavilion

The Point Pleasant food court is a bustling, open-air, casual, sit-down experience with all manner of fried foods, sweets, smoothies, and COFFEE. In fact, when you enter the pavilion from the boardwalk entrance, the very first thing you see is Jenk’s Coffee, which serves hot and cold espresso-based drinks, chai and other types of tea, and smoothies (especially popular with the kids).

Jenk’s proudly brews Seattle’s Best Coffee, a Starbucks brand, launched in 2003 with a lower price point.

We enjoyed Seattle’s Best coffee, and little by little we were rejuvenated. We found ourselves full of energy ready to face the rest of the day and properly put the summer to rest. I love summer and was sad to see it go, but I take great solace in the large-scale commitment to coffee-drinking in the fall.

Cheers to pumpkin spice lattes!


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