I traveled to Ocean City, NJ with Tara and my mother this week for a couple days to visit with my brother and his family who were in from Austin, TX for the week.
Ocean City, NJ is a seven-mile stretch of sand dunes, meadows, and cedar swamps. In 1879 four Methodist ministers chose the island as a suitable spot to establish a Christian retreat and camp meeting. Ocean City is known as a family seaside resort that has prohibited the sales of alcoholic beverages within its limits since the beginning. Ocean City possesses miles of guarded beaches, a 2.5 mile boardwalk, and a quaint downtown. The trip from our home is just under 100 miles, and approximately 2 hours (depending on Philly and other shore bound traffic!)
In preparation for this trip I had to drop Princess off at the kennel (something she has not experienced since 2005!). I felt sad leaving her since she had just been through the "traumatic" experience of surgery, but I knew she would be in good hands! Oliver the Guinea Pig was already vacationing at my nieces, and Kovu the cat was holding down the fort at home with daily visits from my sister.
We got on the road around 10:15, and most of the trip was smooth sailing. We passed through the area on the Skuykill Expressway that had been closed the day earlier due to mudslides from the bad rains. The road still showed signs of the mud that had been cleared away. Just as we got to the exit for the Atlantic City Expressway traffic inched along for about 1/2 hour. We never did figure out what that was, but I enjoyed seeing the wildflowers planted in the median.
After the traffic started moving again, the rest of the trip went quickly, without incident, and before too long we saw our exit off the Garden State Parkway.
Before too long we were going around the Somers Point traffic circle, and headed across the 9th Street bridge. We had ARRIVED! I really do love Ocean City, it is the ultimate family vacation spot down the shore. I guess deep down inside I was a little jealous growing up that my cousins got to spend their entire summer at the shore. I could easily make OCNJ my summer home away from home (if I could AFFORD it!)
We made our way to Park Place, and my Aunt Alice's house. My brother was renting the first floor for the week, while my aunt had a house full of other family and friends on the second and third floors. In the past when we had been invited to spend time with Aunt Alice, we always stayed on the 2nd floor with her. The house is fabulous and the last house on the street before the boardwalk, just a short walk to the beach. They have owned the house since the early 80s, totally remodeled it to add the third floor, only to have it burn to the ground, after which it was rebuilt as it looks today!
I didn't really take pictures inside, there always seemed to be too much going on. The 1st floor has 5 bedrooms, two bathrooms, large living/eating area, and a fully equipped kitchen. Also a great porch out front which is about my favorite place to relax! The side windows look over the beach and the boardwalk. The house is a short walk from Ove's which serves great food - breakfast, lunch and dinner!
The first thing I saw when we walked into the house was a dining room table full of DELL computers. Family vacations sure have changed. There were 10 people in the house at that time with SEVEN laptops. IPHONES, Blackberries and various other cell phones could be found charging around the house at any given time!
In addition to my brother, Bill; sister in law, Gerri and niece Kristen, also in residence for the week were my nephew (Bill's son), Patrick, his wife, Holly and my two great nephews Patrick and Austin. Patrick and his family live about one hour from us. Tara and I had not seen any of them since May, 2003, shortly before we moved to Florida.
After unpacking our stuff, we took a walk down to the beach. This week is supposedly the busiest of te summer, and looking at the beach, I would tend to agree. I had not seen a beach that crowded in some time.
Austin throwing the football - you have to get pics of him when you can. He will not willingly pose!
We stayed on the beach only a short while since it was very crowded. We walked up to Ove's and got sandwiches for lunch, and then shortly after Tara and I went for a ride. We were tracking down Webkinz in OCNJ. We found a great selection at Hoys 5 & 10 on Asbury. I LOVE that store. We got a cool new game that is very fun too called Kazink.
We then hit the grocery store, as I wanted to make a new recipe for BLT Pasta Salad, that I needed for my weekly Healthy Helpings post!
We all decided to head to the boardwalk around 7:30, all ten of us, including my mom with her new walker. She does not generally use one around home, but this gave her the stability she needed, and I think makes others who are in a hurry around her aware that she moves a little slower. It also gives her a place to sit when no other is available!
This was the sight we saw as we neared the "fun" section of the boardwalk at Gillians Wonderland Pier (6th & Boardwalk).
The kids has a fun time riding on several rides, (it was loud and crowded) and then we headed down the boardwalk in search of something to eat. It seemed like ten people all wanted something different, and after wandering for a bit, we all turned back around and settled on the Promenade Food Court at 744 Boardwalk. I don't recall what everyone had, but Tara was delighted that I ordered for her two dozen steamers (clams), which once she was full she shared with my mom and myself.
We then headed back home for the evening. The moon was beautiful over the ocean.
We all got back to the house, and sat around chatting and watching some TV. Before too long, I was feeling tired, and after a nice shower, headed for bed. I knew with the salt air, I would sleep very well, and I did!
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