THERE IS no more enthusiastic mayor around than Len Desiderio, Sea Isle's capo for the last 20 years.
Desiderio makes Ed Rendell look like Rip Van Winkle. When spirits were at their worst in town after Sandy, he organized what he has called the world's longest ribbon-cutting, opening the ocean during Presidents' Day weekend with a ribbon the length of the Sea Isle Promenade, about two miles, with hundreds of people holding it up.
"I don't mind saying, we are the best place for a family to come," said Desiderio. "But even if you don't want to stay overnight here, then come eat here, or swim here or listen to a concert on the Promenade. Everyone who goes to the Shore every summer does something they like in Sea Isle."
* A hundred years ago, Sea Isle was the mecca of commercial fishing in Cape May County. There are still five restaurants and some commercial fishing fleets along Park Road south of JFK Boulevard that have marketed themselves as Fish Alley - so says the huge archway sign over the intersection.
Every Thursday night, Ava Gudonis, daughter of sports-radio host and comic Big Daddy Graham, hosts Quizzo at the Lobster Loft at Park and JFK, at the head of Fish Alley. The many-windowed bar area overlooks the harbor into the bay, so even if you don't know the answers, you can enjoy the sunset.
* The best free beach at the Jersey Shore (in this writer's opinion) is in Strathmere, the northern part of the island. The dunes behind the beach held marvelously during Superstorm Sandy. And unlike the other free beach in Cape May County (sorry, Wildwoods!), you don't have to schlep a quarter-mile to reach the water.
* There is a long-running controversy in Strathmere, though: Do you watch the sunset behind a big drink at the Deauville Inn or at Twisties, also fronting the bay a few blocks south?
Visitors usually pick the Deauville, just before the bridge to Ocean City. It's big, and the menu is extensive.
Locals seem to prefer Twisties, smaller and up a few back staircases along Bayview Drive. When the sun goes down, Twisties goes into its pizza-and-bar-food menu until, well, as late as it can.
* The best way to keep abreast of island news is with the Sea Isle Times, edited and published by Monica Coskey, wife of former 76ers publicist - now radio-station executive - Dave Coskey. Where else could you get the blitherings of aforementioned Big Daddy Graham, movie reviews by Bill Wine and oldies playlists by local DJ Jackson T. Chase.
* Townsend's Inlet at the southern end of Sea Isle is where everything bites. Wear lots of repellent for the bugs, but bring lots of bait for the fish.
There's plenty of room to cast your line off the sands near the bridge and in the water on the inlet. The road leading up to the bridge on the Avalon side was severely damaged by Sandy, but the asphalt replacement was ready in late April. The damaged bridge, however, will be replaced or refurbished in the fall. For now, it's safe for all but heavy trucks.
* Uncle Oogie's, 6118 Landis Ave. near the Acme, is one of the few pizza places that started at the Shore and then came to South Philly - near the Oogie ancestral home at 22nd and Oregon. Cheesesteaks here, too, but the pizza is the thing.