By MADDY VITALE
Jamie McKinney bundled up in her heavy coat and mittens Sunday and stood at the end of the loggia of the Ocean City Music Pier and watched the waves.
The chilly winds whipped with air temps hovering in the low 40s on the last day of winter. It was in contrast to the milder day, Saturday when temps were around 50.
“I feel like today is the last hurrah of winter before spring,” McKinney, of Clinton, N.J., said. “Today is blustery, whereas yesterday was warmer.”
She enjoyed the weekend, despite Sunday’s less-than-balmy weather.
“Yesterday, I got to watch the surfers and today I saw two dolphins,” McKinney said. “It has been a great weekend.”
Like McKinney, most Boardwalk strollers, some brave beachgoers, and Boardwalk merchants took in the last day of winter relishing the thought of warmer weather with spring.
Amanda and Rob Parker of Bucks County, Pa., and their three daughters, Kyleigh, 12, Olivia, 8, and McKenna, 5, spent their Sunday afternoon walking the boards and making some purchases.
“We got fudge, hats, shirts, and sweatshirts,” Amanda said of their finds.
The family was visiting Amanda’s parents, who have a home in Ocean City.
“My grandparents had a house here and now my parents do,” Amanda said. “I grew up coming here.”
And in turn, the Parkers make it a family tradition for their children.
“We love this town,” Rob said. “Today, there are people out. It is a sign that spring is coming.”
Ocean City Councilman Jody Levchuk, co-owner of Jilly’s shops on the Boardwalk and the downtown, said he and his staff are ready for tourists and are fully stocked.
“Spring is coming,” Levchuk said as he walked outside of Jilly’s T-Shirt Factory and Jilly’s Candy Factory. “We’re ready. People are coming already. Besides September, spring is one of the busiest times of year for us.
While some visitors shopped, watched the waves or walked along the shoreline, others ate candy – lots of it.
John Pettinelli, 19, of Sicklerville, N.J., and his girlfriend, Michaela Martyn, 18, also of Sicklerville, brought Pettinelli’s brothers, Dino, 16, and 9-year-old Vincenzo, for a day on the Boardwalk.
The brothers and Martyn stopped for some candy and nibbled chocolate and some shoots of blue sugary confections that made their mouths turn blue.
“We came for pizza and then we stopped for candy,” John Pettinelli said. “We wanted to just spend the day hanging out.”
Dino chimed in, nibbling on his chocolate treat, “I’m having a lot of fun.”
But despite having a blast together, the brothers and Martyn admitted the chill of winter will be something they won’t miss come warmer spring days ahead.
“I’m excited about the spring weather and summer,” Martyn said with a smile.