It’s that time of year when I begin thinking about warmer weather. Which means I’m also thinking about traveling because it will still be a couple of months before we see warmer weather here in the Northeast.
I was remembering our 2011 vacation traveling down the east coast. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! If you ever have the chance you must do this trip. Here’s how the two weeks went for us:
Day 1: We drove to Atlantic City where I’d booked a room at the Taj Mahal. Our room was absolutely gorgeous, but we thought we should leave it for awhile and check out the town. We walked up and down the boardwalk, had dinner, then went to a casino to really go wild and crazy. We ended up spending several hours at a $1.00 Black Jack table. It took us several hours to lose a good part of the $100.00 we agreed to limit ourselves to. And the dealer at the table was very friendly, and helpful – we learned a lot about Black Jack that night.
Days 2 and 3: Up early riding our bikes on the boardwalk for an hour and a half. Checked out and headed further south. We’d found a place called Parvin State Park in southern New Jersey where we could ride our bikes on the trails. We laughed when we looked at the trail map there, thinking this was going to be like a walk in the park compared to riding on The Kingdom Trails. The joke was on us. Though the trail wasn’t especially technical, it did have some swampy sections and some bridges in disrepair that tipped at 45 degree angles. The challenge was really the low-lying vines which threatened to grab upper extremities, including your head, and pull you off your bike. There were also some ferocious thorny vines close to the sides of the trail which did grab you and draw blood. By the time we’d finished our ride I had two flat tires and we were muddy and bleeding. It was time to move on to Cape May, New Jersey and two nights at The Chalfonte. When my children were young we vacationed in Cape May many summers and I’ve always loved it. We rode our bikes around town, and I was thrilled to see Congress Hall opened and thriving.
We played some golf, spent some time at the beach, and then took the Cape May/Lewes ferry to Maryland.
Days 4 and 5: Headed to Assateague and Chincoteague, taking scenic Route 1, which was all fine until we hit Ocean City, where traffic was slow and there was nothing to look at except high-rise condominiums and we said, NEVER. Keep driving and let’s avoid going through here on the way home. We had a wonderful time here kayaking in the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, walking through town and getting a wonderful copy of Misty of Chincoteague as a gift for my step-daughter, eating at Bill’s BOTH nights because it was so good. We bought a bottle of Bill’s Honey Mustard sauce because it was so darn good and I wanted the list of ingredients so I could try to make it at home. Which I have done. Many times. Someday I’ll post about it in Sustenance. Stay Tuned. Let me share some pictures of this area:
Days 6 and 7: Next stop – Nags Head where we had a room at The First Colony Inn. It was a lovely spot in a nice location. We just walked across the street to the beach, and rode our bikes all around the neighborhood. And had the most exhausting adventure ever! We signed up to do a shore dive here and met the dive guide and the rest of our group on the beach at nine in the morning. When we arrived our guide outfitted us with the works and so we suited up. By now the air temperature is around 80 degrees and rising. If you’ve never worn a wetsuit, let me tell you, it is quite warm. And usually black. I was warming up fast and getting anxious to get down the beach and in the water. To avoid getting sand in our air lines, etc. we were told we would get all equipment on and then walk the 200 yards down the beach to the entry point. Then we would swim out about 100 yards, through the surf, to a buoy. Once there we would dive to about 20 feet to a wreck. Here’s my version of how it went.
Trudging across the beach with sweat dripping down all interior parts of my wetsuit, telling myself I could do this I could do this. Flopping into the surf to put my swim fins on, trying to balance with about 50 pounds of excess weight strapped to my back, which I managed. Walk out into the water as far as I could, adjust my buoyancy, locate my buddy and begin the 100 yard swim to the buoy. Thinking Are you kidding me??? It was hard! I was fighting the current and the waves and the difficulty seeing anything and keeping track of my buddy, who was barely visible even though he was swimming right next to me, until. . .finally, I was there. I held onto the buoy line for dear life, catching my breath and trying to figure out what the heck I would see 20 feet down if I couldn’t even see my buddy swimming right next to me. The dive guide said “visibility is poor (duh) but if you look carefully you can see the very edge of the wreck, which is covered with crabs.” Oh, really, I thought, sounds like fun. I opted out of diving down, knowing I still had to swim back to shore, so I clung to that buoy line until my buddy returned from the wreck site (I think it took all of 10 minutes), and we headed back in. Which was almost as difficult as swimming out, but note quite. Until you hit the surf. And it knocked you over and you couldn’t stand up on your own because it kept pushing you down and you were exhausted (we were warned about this in advance and told there would be people on shore to help us up) and then AHHHHH, my hero arrived in the form of a middle-aged man pulling me up and out of the water and hanging on to me until he was sure I could stand on my own and then helped me get that damned heavy tank of air off my back. I love that man, whoever he is. So. Shore diving in Nags Head? Not so much. My buddy and my husband later clued me in that the visibility at the wreck was so poor that if it hadn’t been for the crabs he would not have known there was even a wreck there.
Day 8: Long day of tourism as we drove down The Hatteras National Seashore sightseeing all along the way. We visited the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge, the Chicamacomico Life Saving Station, the Hatteras Light, and Ocracoke. In the evening we took the Cedar Island Ferry across to our destination, Atlantic Beach, N.C.
Days 8 – 14: Ahhhh, we have arrived at The Atlantis Lodge in Atlantic Beach, N.C. We had reserved a room for 2 nights, but after the first few hours there we decided to stay a week. What a treat this was. We had a great view from our little deck and a kitchen area, so we could cook in. AND there was a golf course right across the street! We spent the week touring the area on our bikes in the mornings, hanging out at the beach in the afternoons, and golfing in the evenings before dinner. It was the ideal vacation spot for us. While there we visited Cape Lookout National Seashore, Ft. Macon State Park, North Carolina Aquarium, The Country Club of the Crystal Coast, and Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area.
Yup. I would do it again! It was a fabulous vacation. I love the ocean.
Hubby does too!