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.