168 hours at the beach, 2022 edition

Summer wouldn’t feel like summer without our annual week at the beach. So this past week, we rented the same house for the 5th time and enjoyed 168 hours on the Jersey shore. Some highlights:

Cousins Maine Lobster. My 12-year-old and I have been stalking the Cousins Maine Lobster truck that comes to a mall parking lot 20 minutes from us every few weeks. So imagine how thrilled we were to find an outpost — an actual restaurant, which couldn’t disappear! — in Asbury Park. We wound up eating lobster rolls three times. I also developed a taste for their Maine Root blueberry soda. A lovely thing to sip while walking down the boardwalk.

Days Ice Cream. A family tradition now. Someone from our crew went every single night. They had a reasonable number of dairy free ice creams, and they weren’t bad. I almost forgot I was eating ice cream made out of oats…

The Silverball Arcade. There were red flags on the water for two days. We did go in up to our knees on those days but the morning it was also chilly we decided to skip the beach to head to this pinball arcade on the Asbury Park boardwalk. The 12-year-old set a new “Under 13” record twice on one machine. He set the record and then beat it himself. (He was offended when I mused that perhaps this was an underplayed machine…)

Having four sea-worthy children. The 7-year-old has really stepped up his swimming game and was able to keep his own in the waves. So I was able to mostly focus my attention on the 2-year-old, who is much less of a daredevil. This made beach trips marginally more relaxing. With five kids I will take what I can get!

Boardwalk runs. My husband and I are training for a half-marathon in September, so we both needed to get some long runs in. I ran three times in the morning. Twice I did 60 minute runs, and then on Friday morning I ran 9.7 miles. I guess I should have gone the full 10 but that’s when I looped back to the house and it was getting hot and I felt done. Running 9.7 miles isn’t bad, though, right? It was beautiful to see the sand and the water and do a little people watching.

Family dinners on the porch. The house we rent has a huge front porch with a giant table. So we ate dinner there every night, enjoying the view of the water.

One on one walks with the kids. The beach and the town and the boardwalk present lots of walking opportunities. I particularly enjoyed chatting with the 15-year-old on the pier at night.

Sleeping with the windows open. The house has air conditioning, but we were able to sleep most nights with the windows open. Feeling the ocean breeze and occasionally waking up to see the sunrise over the ocean was such a treat, as was going back to sleep after 6 a.m.! The toddler mostly cooperated on the sleep front, including taking naps. He was in his own room this year and we all slept better.

Potty training. Speaking of the toddler…I packed a lot of wipes and then only needed to use them once. He is really figuring it out!

Buying a copy of the NY Times with my column in it. I wrote about working on vacation. And yep, did some work on vacation. Probably about an hour a day. I feel less like I’m coming back to a mess.

The kids getting to play card games…without me having to play them. My mother-in-law came with us and she is such a trooper — playing Hearts or Five Crowns with the big kids every night after I put the toddler to sleep. I used the time to read and relax.

Now I’m looking forward to hopefully going back next year! We like to travel lots of different places but it is fun to come back to the same one again and again too.

 

6 thoughts on “168 hours at the beach, 2022 edition

  1. Someone just mentioned Five Crowns to me yesterday; I’ll have to check it out as my kids LOVE card games.
    Congrats on the successful trip. Sounds like a fun family tradition – even non-dairy ice cream.
    And congrats on the NY Times article!

    1. @Elisabeth – thank you! It was a good week – a trip that doesn’t wind up balancing anxiety with fun. Going to the beach and staying in a house is mostly fun!

  2. We spent a week at the English seaside with the cousins in early August and came home and booked the same place for next year. It had great (albeit chilly) swimming, nice cafes, great fish and chips and it was just an easy trip. We’ll know for next year the quirks of the holiday house and what we need. It’s only a 1.5 hour drive which is key for me – if I’m going to spend a half day or day in transit, I don’t want to experience British weather or food at the end of it.

    1. We’ve been to the same seaside cottage in Scotland 12 times so far as a family – thirteenth trip booked for 30th December to 9th January 2023 so including a Scottish Hogmanay. It is 10 hours or so drive including two ferries from us so an all day trip but a magical place full of memories. My rule for dealing with the British weather is to try not to think about it, as you never have any idea what it will be like! Four (or maybe only three to be fair) seasons in a day! We have had glorious mild sunny weather there on New Year’s Eve, snow and frost at Easter, gales and huge waves in the autumn, although as of now, never a heatwave I have to admit! We first went when older duaghter was 3, this time she will be 22 and her partner is coming with her for the week, so a step change there. Maybe one day we will holiday there with grandchildren too.

      1. Oh I love that tradition – and amazing to see your family evolve within the same place. We live in East Lothian so I never feel like going further north to the seaside is worth it, when we have such lovely seaside here, but maybe we should do a bit more exploring. We went to Whitley Bay this summer, which was GORGEOUS. I wasn’t expecting much, but the beaches were lovely and wonderful little shops and cafes. Next time we’ll bring bikes.
        I need sunshine at Christmas if I’m to survive a Scottish January/February, so we decamp to the grandparents in Lisbon for the holidays. Santa knows where to find us 🙂

        1. @Cb – I want to hit the sea shore in the UK at some point – I saw some gorgeous photo of a little seaside town on Instagram once. So it’s on the list!

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