Why We Go Back To Cape May Every Year

I’m a creature of habit and I’m all about the routine. Some routines I like and some I don’t, but over the last few summers we’ve had one routine that I’ve really enjoyed, and that’s going to Cape May for a week for vacation. And since this year the warm weather has continued through September, it makes me really want to go back there.

A great little beach town to visit in the summer.
A great little beach town to visit in the summer.

My idea of an ideal vacation is to get away from the crowds and have absolutely nothing planned. That’s not to say that I don’t like doing things while I’m on vacation, I just don’t want to have a schedule.

So for me, Cape May definitely solves the crowd criteria. It’s a nice small town located at the bottom of New Jersey, exit 0 off the Garden State Parkway. While it is a popular summer destination for some, it’s not nearly as crowded as it is in New York City during a regular workweek.

I wouldn't mind living here for the summer.
I wouldn’t mind living here for the summer.

Why I Like It There

One advantage of being in a smaller beach town is that you can go bike riding in the street and not have to worry about a ton of cars. From what I’ve seen, it’s how most of the people get around town there anyway if they’re not walking. So it’s a great place for the kids to go biking. We stayed in a location that was within a short walk into the center of town and beach, so it was great to not have to drive everywhere.

It's nice that the kids can ride their bikes in the street because it's not too crowded.
It’s nice that the kids can ride their bikes in the street because it’s not too crowded.

And then there’s the beach. You do have to pay to get on the beach, and I particularly don’t mind that. In my opinion, it helps to keep the beach from getting too crowded. Our family can spend the whole day at the beach, the boys love playing in the sand and building things. A huge plus is having a beach box to store all of our things in so that we don’t have to keep lugging stuff back and forth each day.

The kids can play on the beach all day.
The kids can play on the beach all day.

Besides The Beach

So if you’re wondering what else there is to do besides hit the beach, the answer to that is yes. If you’re willing to take a walk more inland, or a quick bike ride, you can see the Fisherman’s Memorial, which is a statue and monument dedicated to the local fishermen that have lost their lives at sea.

The view from the Fisherman's Memorial.
The view from the Fisherman’s Memorial.

Washington Street Mall is where you’ll find some restaurants and shops, and great places to get snacks. Nearby is a great breakfast place that we love called The Mad Batter. We love the fresh juice, pancakes, and corned beef hash.

The kids color their placemats while waiting for breakfast to be served at The Mad Batter.
The kids color their placemats while waiting for breakfast to be served at The Mad Batter.

This year we didn’t do as much exploring as we did in previous years. So we didn’t go to the Cape May Lighthouse and we didn’t hit Sunset Beach. Maybe we’ll try to do that next year. I’m hoping my boys will want to go to the top of the Lighthouse with me.

There are other cool things to see around town, like the fire house.
There are other cool things to see around town, like the fire house.

We did venture out to Wildwood one day, which is another town not far from Cape May, to take the kids to the amusement parks and boardwalk. The kids enjoy the rides there and it’s a nice way to change up the scenery and take a break from the beach.

Just a short drive away, Wildwood has a boardwalk with come cool rides for the kids.
Just a short drive away, Wildwood has a boardwalk with come cool rides for the kids.

Evening Entertainment     

Since the kids are still pretty young, our evenings are rather low key. We made the effort to go and see the sunset on the beach a couple of times, and the experience didn’t disappoint.

You don't want to miss sunsets like this.
You don’t want to miss sunsets like this.

The kids had a chance to participate in the Kiwanis Sunset Flag Ceremony on one of the nights. It was a great experience for them. From Memorial Day through September 11, the Kiwanis Club invites kids to help lower the flag. “Each child receives a certificate signed by the Mayor of Cape May and the President of the Kiwanis Club, indicating their participation”.

Participating in the flag ceremony was a nice thing for the kids.
Participating in the flag ceremony was a nice thing for the kids.

After the kids went to bed it was nice to be able to close out the day watching a movie. Even though it’s great to unplug for a while, we really like watching our TV shows and movies. Verizon FiOS allows me to sync up the UltraViolet digital movies that I have and I can play them through the FiOS app or website. It’s awesome because I can watch whatever I want to wherever I am.

I'm probably one of the few people left that buys Blu-Ray discs. So it's nice that I can virtually take my collection wherever I go.
I’m probably one of the few people left that buys Blu-Ray discs. So it’s nice that I can virtually take my collection with me wherever I go.

Until Next Year

Sadly vacations don’t last forever, and after a week it was back to reality. I would rather leave a place itching to go back, than leave a place that I can’t wait to get away from. If you’re looking to get away from the busyness of the city or just looking to take a break, Cape May is a great relaxing place to go. I highly recommend it.

Can't wait to get back to Cape May.
Can’t wait to get back to Cape May.

Disclaimer: This post is part of a campaign I’m doing with Verizon FiOS in NYC. #FiOSNY

Summer Getaway: Sunset Island in Ocean City, MD

Summertime is a great time and popular time for families to take a vacation and just get away from life, as they normally know it. For us, it’s no different. This was the first time that my family has gone down to Ocean City, Maryland for vacation, and it did not disappoint.

Getting There

Coming from New York, there are really only two ways (that I know of) to get there. You can take the New Jersey Turnpike all the way down to Delaware, and then drive through, or you can take the Garden State Parkway all the way down to Cape May, New Jersey, and take the ferry to Delaware. On the way down, we opted to take the ferry.

The ferry ride to Delaware starts at Cape May, NJ.
The ferry ride to Delaware starts at Cape May, NJ.

There are definitely benefits to taking the ferry. It breaks up what would be a close to five-hour drive (without traffic), and it gives everyone a chance to get out of the car and stretch. The ferry also has food that you can buy and some arcade games on board. If the weather is nice you can just sit outside, watch the ocean and from what I hear sometimes you can see dolphins.

The trip is about ninety minutes and it’s not free, so you do have to pay for a ticket. Also if you’re planning on choosing this route you should plan ahead because the tickets sell out fast. After docking in Delaware, we were about 30 miles from Ocean City.

On the ferry looking for Dolphins.
On the ferry looking for Dolphins.

Sunset Island

We had the great opportunity, thanks Stephanie’s parents, to stay at Sunset Island for the week. If you haven’t heard of Sunset Island, it’s “a private, 37 acre Island located in the Assawoman Bay off 67th Street in Ocean City, Maryland just two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean”. It’s great for kids because everything you can pretty much do everything without leaving the community.

Sunset Island is a nice coastal vacation spot.
Sunset Island is a nice coastal vacation spot.

The Fun Stuff

The kids spent most of their time at the pool and the water fountain. There are two outdoor pools, one is a small pool for kids 2 years old and under, and the other is for everyone ages 2 and up. There was also an indoor pool that all ages could go into.

The outdoor pool at Sunset Island was a lot of fun to play in.
The outdoor pool at Sunset Island was a lot of fun to play in.

My boys had a really fun time at the fountain, and you could argue that they enjoyed that more than being in the pool. It was pretty cool, the water shot out of the ground in patterns and different heights. They probably enjoyed it more because they don’t know how to swim yet.

The boys really enjoyed the water fountains.
The boys really enjoyed the water fountains.

Sunset Island also had a couple of unguarded beaches, and those were nice too. The water was calm and in the evening you could see some really great sunsets. You can also do some crabbing off the pier if you’re so inclined.

Sunsets at the pier.
Sunsets at the pier.

If you’re one that likes to stay in shape while on vacation, there is a one-mile path that goes around the whole property, and there is a fitness room too. It’s nice run in the morning to start the day, or if you prefer you can run it in the evening and catch the sunset.

Public Beach and Boardwalk

We did venture off the property to the public beach and boardwalk too. Although we didn’t spend too much time at the public beach it was a nice change of scenery, and the great thing was that it was just a few blocks from community.

Ready to catch the waves at the public beach.
Ready to catch the waves at the public beach.

The boardwalk was a bit further down but it was worth the visit. There were lots of games to play and rides to try, but we ended up just walking up and down and eating fries and funnel cake. We got to see this really cool sand castle sculpture that must have taken hours to create.

These sand sculptures must have taken a long time to build.
These sand sculptures must have taken a long time to build.

I’m sure that when the kids get older we’ll be spending more time on the boardwalk.

Ice cream, funnel cake, and fries are things you must have when walking down the boardwalk.
Ice cream, funnel cake, and fries are things you must have when walking down the boardwalk.

Northside Park

Another place we went to see was Northside Park. There was a really nice playground for the kids there and they didn’t want to leave. It had a good number of things for the boys to climb up on and play with, and it was also really clean and well maintained.

Cool rock climbing wall for the kids.
Cool rock climbing wall for the kids.

Northside Park was another popular place for crabbing because it had a really long pier that went pretty deep into the bay. We saw a lot of people fishing and crabbing, checking their lines from time to time to see if they caught anything. In order to get a good spot, you have to get there early!

Lots of crabbing and fishing going on here.
Lots of crabbing and fishing going on here.

Assateague

Before we left for this trip, someone told me that there were these wild horses that ran wild on this island near Ocean City.  And that’s no lie!  We didn’t go all the way into the island (because we didn’t want to pay) but we got to see some wild horses anyway.  I think the next time we go back, we’ll pay to go into the park because I’m told the horses can come right up to your window!

Wish we could have gotten a little closer!
Wish we could have gotten a little closer!

 

Staying Connected

Had to check the FiOS app to make sure our shows were scheduled to record.
Had to check the FiOS app to make sure our shows were scheduled to record.

I was really happy that the house we stayed at had Wi-Fi. Unfortunately during this particular vacation I couldn’t completely unplug. With our current schedules, Stephanie and I mostly record the TV shows that we like to watch on our Verizon FiOS DVR and watch them at a later time. While we might not be completely up to date with the latest episode, at least we can fast forward through the commercials. One cool thing about having Verizon FiOS is that I was able to check my DVR from my phone and make sure that the shows I wanted to record where actually scheduled.

Going Home

All good things must come to an end at some point and so did this vacation. Instead of taking the ferry route back home, we decided to save some money and drive back the whole way. The ride wasn’t too bad. We did hit some traffic but it wasn’t much. Our decision to take the ferry down was validated when we saw all of the traffic going the opposite way when we were leaving.

The barometer of a successful family vacation has to be whether the kids enjoyed it or not. And since they definitely did, the vacation was a success. The truth is, is that we all had fun and we’ll probably go back again in the future. What’s one vacation spot that your family enjoys going to and that you would recommend?

Disclaimer: This post is part of a campaign I’m doing with Verizon FiOS in NYC. #FiOSNY