While it's always wonderful to travel to new and exciting spots, there's something about the Shore that draws us back time and again. This summer we had one full week in between camp and college to grab some family vacation time and our inner Shore magnet drew us back. The Shore being the Jersey Shore and particularly Ocean City. I grew up going there with my family and as we drive around the island I can still find some of the houses we stayed in. My mother's parents came from a seaside town in Scotland and while they lived in Philly, they would spend their summers at the Shore because it felt like home - and you could rent a little place there in those days without selling your firstborn. When I was young sometimes we would stay with them for a week and sometimes we would stay in a little house right next to them and it was just in my blood to love the Shore.
OK, now before we go any further, we need to get the semantics about this right . . . people talk about going to the beach for vacation. I get that - but when you're talking about Jersey, you go to the Shore. Or down the Shore. THEN when you get there, you go to the beach. And while the beach only seems to slope ever so slightly lower than the rest of town, you go "down the beach" . . . or "up the boards" - which would be the Boardwalk where you can ride bikes in the morning, stroll, enjoy great food, shop, and ride the rides at Playland and Wonderland. It's a great way to spend a week in the summer.
When Don and I got married he was all about the mountains and adventure and while I love the mountains and (some) adventure, I knew it was part of my matrimonial duty to turn him into a beach boy. He wasn't so sure but was willing to give it a try. It took all of one and a half days for him to catch on and by the week's end he had built an enormous and amazing sand castle, was boogie boarding like a kid and couldn't believe he'd lived this long without Mack and Manco pizza, Johnson's Popcorn, Mallon's sticky buns and Brown's Donuts!
For what is a week at the Shore without Boardwalk goodies . . . and a little Skee Ball?? : )
Logan was on the beach in his Pack-n-Play at 3 months old but sadly, has no memory of that . . . When he was about 15 months old or so we took him to the Shore for the day and he absolutely loved it - no fear! He scampered toward the waves with his arms open wide just trying to embrace the entire ocean in one giant hug. He still heads for the water almost before the umbrella is up.
For the next 10 summers we discovered the beauty of the Shore in September and would share a place right on the beach with my parents. Rental prices would drop immensely, the crowds were gone, and the ocean temps were warm. Katrina sat up for the first time and said her first word - Mama (!) - while at the Shore her first time.
The next summer was the one I neversatdownatthepoolorthebeachformorethantenseconds as Little Miss Running Girl took off anytime she saw open space. That wide open expanse of sand just beckoned her to GO! It still does - although now there's more artistry involved and none of us has to go and retrieve her.
We still laugh remembering the 'pony ring' Don dug for her in the sand so she could run around and around and around . . instead of gone like a flash! As she grew she loved the beach but wasn't always so sure about the ocean.
Now she can boogie board like a pro but then the crashing waves kept her toes at the ocean's edge.
Which isn't a bad place to be either . . .