We’ve been on vacation! We are a little over a week into our time on the Jersey Shore hanging out at our family’s cottage in Ocean City, NJ.
It’s been relaxing and tiring. Hot and kinda chilly. Full of visiting and eating and walking and just hanging out as a family. I don’t think we have ever taken a vacation like this before. Maybe not since we rented a house in Hatteras, NC the summer after our daughter was born 14 years ago. Usually we are flying places and have a list of things to accomplish everyday. Our travel is normally busy, busy, busy. A lot of times it involves a detailed Disney itinerary. Not this time, though – and it’s been nice. Weird, because of the lack of structure, but nice. Should we still be in bed at 11 in the morning? Shouldn’t we be going somewhere? Nope. Hang out on the deck – breakfast/lunch – head to the boardwalk in the evening – rides and pizza and mini golf – home late – repeat. There have been a few divergences, though – such as:
- Well, we have ventured out a few times. Cape May was the first detour. We always take the ferry into Cape May when we come up here for something and have driven through town before – but this was the first time we went there as a destination and walked around. Of course, it is beautiful. Lots of Victorian age houses and bed & breakfasts. Lot’s of shopping down their Washington Street Pedestrian Mall. We spent some time exploring the Congress Hall Hotel – with all its history and columns and drinking on their veranda. And then we had dinner at the seafront in a surfers restaurant with craft beer, clams, crab pizza, fish tacos and shrimp salad. The day was a success to say the least…
- We also went to Philadelphia. My brother and his wife live up this way, so we met up with them and they took us into the city. We started out going to the Italian Market in South Philly. Rocky territory. It was appropriately gritty. We checked out an olive oil taproom and an old kitchen accessory store – saw pig parts hanging from a market – and walked down to the cheesesteak mecca – Geno’s and Pat’s. After filling up with subs full of whiz, we headed to the air condition of an art museum. We chose the Barnes Foundation Museum where we saw tons of Renoirs, Monets, and Van Gogh’s. There was a lot to see and I think we saw all of it. From there we walked down to the Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where we got the view and stood where Rocky himself stood. We didn’t see Adrian, but we looked. There were a lot of little Rocky’s running up the steps and jumping up and down with their fists in the air, though. It was here where we also saw one of the donkey statues littering the city for the upcoming dreaded DNC. We figured it was the new Asses for Hillary campaign.
After that fun we headed to Old Town for ice cream at the Franklin Fountain – a wonderfully old fashioned, unique place with an eclectic menu. The line was huge, but it was worth the wait. For the aforementioned DNC they had a few special concoctions named after Bernie and Hillary. For the Bernie one, they take all your money and instead of you getting the ice cream they give it to everyone else in the line. With the Hillary one you get something completely different than what you were promised. It was fun! After that we pretty much called it a day in Philly, but did go to this amazing Thai restaurant that our host knew about back in Jersey. It was truly unbelievable.
- We have been spending some time visiting with people. Ocean City is where my mom’s side of the family were rooted – and my dad’s side were not far away. I used to come here all the time growing up and even spent a few summers here staying with my grandmother. My wife grew up a few hours north just outside NYC – so there is the potential to visit with a lot of family while here. So far on this trip we spent the day at the beach with some cousins, spent the day talked about above with my brother and his wife, visited with my wife’s parents, met up with a guy I used to know when was 14 during my summer visits, and went to see an 87 year old aunt and her very cute dog. While there we got the pleasure of watching her overweight neighbor lift weights in his back yard while only wearing his underwear. It was quite the site.
- Eating, eating, eating. Yeah – we’ve been eating. It’s one of the official state sports. Lot’s of pizza, hoagies, the cheesesteaks in Philly, the seafood in Cape May, a visit to a diner, the Thai food, all the boardwalk stuff – ice cream, candy, crabby fries, caramel popcorn, italian ice, oh – and did I mention pizza?
Well, that’s pretty much it. We’ll be heading back in a few days to the real world of home and back to work for me. The rest of the family still has more than a month left of summer before school starts, so there is still time for them. Then the next trip on the horizon – Disney World in October….