Monday, May 16, 2011

Summer Kick-off 2011

We spent a very lovely three day weekend kicking off summer at our favorite B&B in our favorite Jersey shore town.  Several years ago we were approaching our first summer living in New Jersey and, being beach lovers, figured we should take a trip to the shore.  We found a campground to use as a home base, and spent a weekend exploring various towns described in our guidebook. 

We fell in love with one town in particular, called Ocean Grove.  It's chock full of gorgeous Victorian homes and cute little shops, has a non-commercial boardwalk all along the ocean, and the whole town smells like beach.  Ocean Grove quickly became our getaway place, and we go down for daytrips several times each summer.  We found an adorable B&B that serves delicious hot breakfast (the specialty is cream cheese stuffed French toast casserole!) and has off-season rates and a 3-for-2 deal in May.  Last year we weren't able to go due to the cost and time of wedding planning trips (though we did haul a friend there to take our fake e-pics there last April and spent a week there with my family in July), but this year we continued what has become an annual May tradition.

Last Friday we later calculated that we walked nearly eight miles, as we checked to make sure that all of our favorite places were still there.  The shore was abuzz with people getting ready for the summer.  Beach storage bins were freshly painted and lined up to be set out, lifeguard stands and playground equipment were piled and awaiting beach placement, and everyone seemed to be out and about getting their summer homes set up for the season.  I'm happy to report that no one pulled out the plug on the ocean in the last several months of our absence:
A wave surprises Becky.
Happy hour by the ocean!
The only disappointing change is that a bakery closed, but I do suppose time marches onwards.  Thankfully our favorite ice cream shop is still thriving.  Here's Becky with a peanut-butter-twirl filled waffle cone:
On Saturday we tried out a new activity: horse racing.  We had never been before, as I'm fairly certain that Midwesterners do not partake in this sport.  But we're almost always up for new wacky adventures in sporting so we decided to give it a shot.  I hope we weren't inadvertently supporting animal cruelty, although Wikipedia tells me that unfortunately we may have been.  I honestly had no idea that there would be so many people.  Apparently large groups of friends/families/co-workers/who knows who rent out whole areas of picnic tables and bring in picnics and barbecues and coolers of beer and settle in for the whole day.  We purchased a program to try to get our bearings, and ended up placing $14 worth of bets.  We won back $2.60. 
There was a bit of a marital snafu when Becky wanted to bet on a horse that would have won us a few dollars and I instead insisted on betting on a horse that won us nothing.  But overall, the horses were sleek and the hot dogs were familiar (at one funny point I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with not knowing what we were doing and I declared that we needed hot dogs because I had eaten a hot dog before).  Becky declared that her favorite moment was when, after we had been at the track for about an hour, we finally spotted a horse and I said a bit too loudly "look, there's a horse!" 
We also spent plenty of time relaxing in the B&B, including reading Harry Potter (yes, the treasured books fresh from the Harry Potter trunk!) on the porch:
Becky claims she's "having fun in my mind."
And plenty of time wandering on the beach, sticking our toes into the still frigid water:
Although we somewhat jokingly agreed to call this the start of summer, I am eagerly awaiting the warm summer weather and the warming of the ocean that will allow us to return to Ocean Grove to swim!!


  1. What a wonderful memory of going to see if the plug was pulled (although that was the pacific!). Looking forward to coming down with the boys for some sandy salty fun.And, no matter what the picture looks like, how could you not be having fun with good old HP?

  2. I quite enjoyed HP3 (in fact I spent quite a bit of time reading it while Carrie napped at one point this weekend), but we were determined to read on the porch when this picture was taken despite the fact that it was FREEZING. Sitting on the porch reading with the ocean breezes blowing seemed like such a good idea in theory (hence the "in my mind"), but the reality was just a little too cold. I think I made it through about 35 pages before calling it quits.

  3. Looks like a great getaway!

  4. Jen: It was! Glad to see you back!

  5. You guys are adorable! I love that you have a set vacation town. Cream cheese french toast casserole will be on my menu this week.

  6. Ooh, let me know how it turns out! We actually got the B&B owner's recipe, but we haven't gotten around to making it yet.