By Robin Rieger
SHIP BOTTOM, NJ (CBS) – The house keys in the big box at Mary Allen Realty in Ship Bottom, Long Beach Island were getting a workout on Monday, as families off for President's Day came to town to see summer rentals.
"When the kids want their own space, when they want to play games, they can get away from the adults," said realtor Theresa Jensen, who was giving the Silver family of Jersey City a tour of a large home that sleeps 15.
"We really expected to come down and see nothing like this," said Anthony Silver. He says that after the damage from Superstorm Sandy, he didn't think a Ship Bottom vacation – their family tradition – would be possible this year.
"I told the kids after the storm, I said, 'Look for a cruise, look for a trip somewhere else,'" Silver explained.
On Monday, he was pleasantly surprised.
"I expected to see houses down and stuff, and it's nowhere near what I thought. Everything is clean, wide open," Silver said.
"We're ready," agreed Jensen.
She echoed what two tourism websites, www.visitlbiregion.com and lbiisalive.com, are telling prospective visitors: The islands beaches, businesses and rentals will be ready for the summer of 2013.
"We have 400 properties that are ready to be rented," Jensen said.
And she said plenty of interested renters are getting in touch with their office.
"Emails, phones, people walking in without appointments – which is fine," Jensen said.
Jensen said questionnaires have been filled out by homeowners so renters can have current information.
"Did you sustain any damage, are you going to be ready for us this summer to rent your property…" Jensen said.
The Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce said at least 90 percent of LBI's rentals will be available, with all restaurants returning as well.
And, if people are looking for ways to continue to help shore towns damaged by Sandy, those on long beach island say come to the island, shop local, dine local and stay local.
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