I never could get used to that particular Philly - ism. Besides, I had my own name for the Atlantic: I pretty much just called it the Lake. As in, "We built sand castles at the lake all afternoon." Then our friends with whom we often went "down the shore" would remind me: "Uh, this is not the lake, Kitti, this is the ocean."
"Oh, yeah . . . I mean the ocean. Same same."
Lake Michigan in 1986 & Atlantic Ocean in 1996
That's what happens if you've lived all your life in the land-locked Mid-west and never seen the Shining Seas which bound our continent. I had, however, seen Lake Michigan plenty of times. I can't say it was just like being at the ocean, because I hadn't yet been to the ocean.
But I can say that looking across the Atlantic, when I finally did so, was just like looking across Lake Michigan: water, water everywhere, as far as the eye can see. A Great Lake! Not as vast as the Atlantic or the Pacific, but you'd never know it. Chicago, though not as distant, is just as invisible from St. Joseph, Michigan, as England is from Ocean City, New Jersey.
Just water and the horizon.