RE: Wildwood, New Jersey - Is it worth going to?
I have not been to Wildwood in nearly 15 years, but my family used to (maybe some of them still do?) go every summer for a week.
My recollections are that Wildwood is (was) the classic Italian-American Jersey Shore vacation spot for people who grew up in the 50's. Looking at some of the links provided above, it seems that my intuition as a young'un was about dead on.
From a kid's perspective, having all-day access to great fair food was wonderful. Most of the meals we ate involved some sort of pizza, boardwalk pretzels and fries, funnel cakes (OK, funnel cakes were never a meal -- a side dish, maybe, but never a meal), etc.
The amusement piers were great (again, from a kid/teenagers POV). Wildwood was the first place I ever went on bumper boats.
I don't know how much of it has changed. My memories involve the amusements, the food, the t-shirt shops (everything $5 - we always went the week before Labor Day, so it was end of season), crowded beaches, etc. A few years ago, I ended up at Seaside Heights (a little farther north on the Jersey Shore) and it seemed like all the t-shirt shops were replaced with head shops and most of the food vendors were now tattoo artists. I am sure that there were some of those things at Wildwood when I was a kid, but not so prevelant that it would dominate my memories.
I started dating a girl a few years ago, who mentioned that she spent part of her summers growing up at Wildwood. Simultaneously, we both uttered the famous Wildwood phrase "Watch the tram car, please!"
If you go, I'd be curious to know how much the place has "(d)evolved."