Well, it’s finally here. Summer! A great time to get out of the craziness of everyday life of work and politics and insane people – of bills and yard work and traffic – of the news and the slow move to civil war and the coming complete destruction of everything. And what better way to get out of all this madness than escaping to somewhere new? Somewhere, obviously, where all these things are absent. Travel! What could go wrong? So to try to forget about all my “friends” calling me a racist just because I’m white – irony? – or to try to ignore all the agenda pushing, name calling and finger pointing – I choose to daydream about the hopeful future. A future that includes traveling to amazing lands of relaxation and optimism – with wonderful people living in model societies. Exotic places with names like New Jersey, Philadelphia, Orlando, New Orleans, and California…
Ocean City, NJ
Our travel plans over the next year or so begin next month with a trip to a magical place called New Jersey. Ocean City, New Jersey to be exact. Now as everybody already knows, New Jersey is the ideal place to get away from opinionated, foul mouth people. Violence, traffic and corruption are virtually unheard of there. And right in the middle of this ideal, modern oasis is the seaside town of Ocean City. Now all kidding aside, this place is truly an oasis. A clean, graffiti free family getaway with a beautiful old fashioned wooden boardwalk filled with rides and food and mini golf. It has miles of beachfront, a cute downtown from yesteryear, and is located on a barrier island, so there is always a cool breeze. Especially at night. It’s a dry city, so no bars and no alcohol served anywhere – therefore – less crazy people, less problems, more quiet. Of course, there are liquor stores just over the bridge in other towns, so you can bring your own, but most of the big partiers go elsewhere. My family is from Ocean City – my mom grew up there – and we used to visit all the time as a kid. My parents now own a small cottage there and for 10 days in July – it is ours.
Most years we take a big expensive vacation during the summer, but this year we decided to slow it down – so a getaway like this will be perfect for our family. My daughter loves the boardwalk – just like I did when I was her age – and we love the opportunity to hang and bond as a family. Plus we are going to take a day to check out Philadelphia for history and cheesesteaks, and a day to check out Cape May for it’s Victorian views, shopping and restaurants.
We are going to go back in the fall for a weekend. We got tickets to see Adele in Philadelphia in September and are going to stay at the cottage. I’m sure we’ll find time for a little boardwalk fun too.
Walt Disney World
We are big Disney fans. We have been to Disney World every year since my daughter was a toddler – except one. We have also been to Disneyland a couple times and have taken a Disney cruise to Alaska. In fact, the reason we decided to slow things down this year travel wise is because of last year. We bought annual passes to Disney World and went three times. Once for a week between Christmas and New Year of 2015/16, for a half a week during spring break, and for two weeks in August. Even though Disney World is the number one place we choose to get away from crowds and stress and spending tons of money, it still took it’s toll. We actually over disney’d and we were exhausted. But, the call of the mouse is strong, and we realized the only time of the year we have never been to Disney World is around halloween. The halloween party and Food and Wine Festival are the two main things left on our Disney World bucket list – and they can be done in one visit – if we go over a long weekend in October. So that’s what we are doing this year. A four night Thursday – Monday trip in mid October. We have our tickets for the Friday night halloween party and plan to go to Epcot for a half a day on Saturday and the full day on Sunday to take in the Food and Wine festival, the new Frozen ride and the new version of Soarin’. We are also heading to Hollywood Studios for a half a day on Saturday to check out all the new Star Wars stuff, and are going to try to fit in a morning at the Magic Kingdom on Monday before heading home. Our plans are to skip the World entirely in 2017 and instead spend some time at the Land next summer. With all the construction going on and with our daughter getting older – it’s a good time to take a break.
Just about every time we’ve been to Disney World we’ve stayed at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort. Between that and my daughter’s love for The Princess and the Frog movie, she has for a long time been fascinated with New Orleans. We have been wanting to take her there, but wanted to wait until she was older – you know – so she could drink and have fun. Well, now that she is a teenager the time has come! Next spring break we will be partying on Bourbon Street! My wife and I went there years ago before we had the baby that turned into the teenager – and we had a great time. We’ve been telling our daughter all about real beignets at Cafe du Monde, the real muffulettas at Central Grocery, the voodoo shops and street performers and music and food and architecture and craziness. We already have our hotel booked – because it’s spring break and some were already booked up – so the excitement is building.
Every year for the last ten or so we have gone on a trip during Memorial Day weekend. I wrote about it in an earlier post here. Most of these trips were to New York City and were just me and my wife getting away for the weekend. The last few we have taken our daughter and gone to DC and the mountains. We may not go away next year on this weekend because it will be just a month or so after New Orleans and a few months before our next big adventure – California. The last time we went to California was two years ago and we had so much fun we are itching to go back. We have nothing planned yet, but the basic idea is 3-4 days in LA, 2 days on Catalina Island, and 5 days at Disneyland. I know, 5 days is a lot for Disneyland – but we love Disneyland – and it would be our only Disney trip of the year. Plus the first day would be getting there, so we would probably just hang out at the pool and Downtown Disney – which would leave 4 days at the parks. Back before our daughter was born, my wife and I took our first trip to California together. On that trip we went to Catalina Island and just fell in love with it. We’ve always wanted to go back and plan to finally do it next summer. It was so pretty and inviting and the air had this crispness to it. Of all the places, it really is the place to get away from it all. Except maybe the crazy people. It is California after all…
Well those are our travel plans for the next year. Hopefully there will still be places to travel to in the future. At some point soon we’ll probably have to submit our choices to the all powerful government and then get approval from the “online expert trolls” – who will debate who is worthy to travel and where you can go. And I’m sure because of the accident of “being born this way” – male, white, straight – I’ll be put right into the camps. Until that day, I need to keep hunting for that perfect utopian place away from it all…