A quick post from my Mid-Atlantic vacation … first time we’ve had fast and free wireless since I left Madison.
Flying out was good, other than being delayed for over an hour sitting on the tarmac at O’Hare on our layover in Chicago. I just read, my dad slept and that plane got really really hot. A crying baby was also not very happy. We landed in Philly after our delay, drove around a bit and saw some of the city before driving into New Jersey. We decided to stay in New Jersey halfway to Atlantic City.
We stopped at our hotel to drop off bags, clean up and then opted to drive down to Atlantic City … which is pretty dirty and full of casinos. I’ve never been to Vegas, so it was a bit unreal to see casinos which cover 3-4 city blocks at a time. And the rest of the city is a bit run down, but we parked and walked into the boardwalk to go see the beach and ocean. The ocean is always beautiful, even if the beach had some trash. I did find some pretty black scallop seashells though. We walked around the boardwalk for a while (Wisconsin pals – Think the Dells on mega-steroids). We also walked into the Trump Taj Mahal to see the inside. A huge – no ginormous – cavern of slots, gamblers, lights, change dropping … even an “asian gaming pit” or a poker pit for asian card games. I have a nice picture of my parents standing in the sand by the ocean with the large neon-lit skyscrapers in the background, right before my camera died. Oh well.
Friday, my dad and I got to decide how to spend the day. Our options – more Philly, spending the day (heat in the 90s) in the city seeing the sites or traveling south in New Jersey back to the ocean to a town we read about in a newspaper we picked up in Atlantic City. Our love of the ocean and small towns won out – plus my love of seafood (real not-shipped in seafood!), so sorry Philly, but we decide to drive through the country (well, kind of country … country for New Jersey) to Cape May, New Jersey right on the tip of South Jersey.
The entire town is a National Historic Landmark. A little fishing and vacation village on the north side of where the Delaware River feeds down into the Atlantic Ocean into Delaware Bay. The vast majority of the homes are victorian-era and preserved/decorated as such. The beach is gorgeous and the town is small and seems like it keeps some of the Atlantic City crowds away. There was even a $4 charge to step onto the the beach (huh?). But we walked around on the promenade, bought fudge, saw all of the multi-colored umbrellas dotting the beach and more of the ocean. We then had a great lunch of peel-and-eat spicy shrimp, crab and crab cakes at The Lobster House restaurant in Cape May on the fisherman’s wharf. Delicious.
After lunch, we had some time to kill before we were going to take a ferry across Delaware Bay into Delaware (a 17-mile trip!) so we drove to see the Cape May lighthouse (and a very confused white swan hissing at tourists), then to Sunset Beach where it was free to walk and we could collect the famous “Cape May Diamonds”. Quartz stones wash down the Delaware River over thousands of years and wash up on this beach. You can collect them, polish them down and they can look just like diamonds when you cut and facet them. I picked up a few of the rough stones because they are still very white, smooth and polished from washing down the river and into the ocean.
The ferry ride was beautiful … I just love the ocean. We even saw a dolphin heading into the breakwater in Lewes, Delaware. From Lewes, we drove across Delaware, stopped at Elmer’s Farm Market (where we almost purchased my sister a concrete gnome statue (but didn’t!)) and drove into Maryland, then towards Washington, DC nearing 9:30 p.m.
Then we got lost in downtown DC. It was … super … fun. All I have to say is, hey politicians, let’s work on the street signs, okay? We finally made it to our hotel in Arlington after our impromptu little sightseeing trip around the city.
So … today it will be 98 degrees in DC. My dad said we should go to the National Postal Museum … he thinks he’s funny.
More later … and pictures too. And hello from DC to my brother! We miss you. And we haven’t killed Dad yet, although I did just threaten to feed him to the Pandas.