We spent the past week in Cape May, NJ — actually, in Cape May Point, right at the southern tip of the state. We rented a house that was only a dune away from the beach. From the upstairs balcony we could see the water. It was a great way to spend 168 hours. A few memories and observations:
New Jersey has fantastic wildlife! We saw dolphins leaping above the waves multiple times. One evening, I walked along the beach with my older two kids, and saw a fisherman reel in (and release) a 6-foot long sand shark. There were swans in a nearby nature preserve, horse shoe crabs on the beach, and jellyfish (cool to look at; not so cool to be mildly stung by one).
I got in some great runs. The nature preserve had a mile long loop through it, and it was about 2 miles away from our beach house. So the whole loop was about 5-miles — a nice way to start a vacation day, which I did multiple times.
Walking on sand — especially carrying a toddler — gives the ankles a stunning workout.
Digging a big hole on the beach is a surprisingly satisfying family activity. One day, we’d been working on a hole in the morning, and came back in the afternoon about an hour before high tide (4:45). We attempted to fortify our hole against the rising waves with walls and ditches and such. It held — but it was tense those last few minutes.
The secret to great guacamole is lots of tomatoes to give the guac some chunkiness.
Sometimes I get glimpses of what my life will be like in a few years. I brought my two boys to the beach one afternoon while the baby was napping. They made friends with some girls, and happily played with them for more than an hour. I got to read 50 pages in a novel. I was actually reading a novel on the beach!
Frozen grapes are a great snack.
Grilled food just tastes better than food cooked indoors. We grilled at the house, and went into Cape May one night, where I had grilled peaches with burrata. Yum.
I never seem to get tired of eating at the Lobster House on Fisherman’s Wharf. We went there three times this week, ordered at the take-out window, then consumed large quantities of fried and broiled seafood while sitting by the water. These meals are best combined with some sort of wheat beer. The kids are much better about the wait if you order and eat dessert first. I may try this tactic at other restaurants.
My 6-year-old re-purposed an entire package of napkins as paper for the Magic Treehouse fan fiction he was writing. When we ran out of napkins, he started using the paper towels. I have a compulsive little writer on my hands. He was way more productive than I was on the writing front this week.
That said, when you step away from your normal life for a while, you can get a lot of ideas. I didn’t get the ideas I needed to get for articles I have to write this week, but I came up with a plot for my next novel. So that’s something. I wrote and wrote notes while sitting on the screened back porch for an hour in the rain. Lovely.
Are you going on vacation this month?
Photo courtesy flickr user Jim, the Photographer