Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud and today I’m thinking about how much my family and I look forward to our beach vacation every summer, yet we go to the same beach and do many of the same activities. It’s just our happy place so we love being there and we LOVE telling “remember when” stories since we have so many memories there! Have any of you ever been to Wildwood, New Jersey?
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This beach town is actually called The Wildwoods because there are three different “neighborhoods”: Wildwood Crest, Wildwood, and North Wildwood. The Boardwalk runs from the end of Wildwood Crest all the way through Wildwood and right into the beginning of North Wildwood. That’s how my family gives directions. What part of the Boardwalk is this particular place located at? 😉 For a long time, my family and I stayed right at the edge of Wildwood Crest and Wildwood. That’s how we found our favorite bike shop and became good friends with the owner! Now, we stay in North Wildwood, which is just the other end of the Boardwalk. The walk from the edge of the sand to the ocean in Wildwood Crest is LONG…like one mile of walking in the sand before you hit water. I am not joking!
See what I mean?!
The walk in North Wildwood is MUCH shorter and we found a condo down in that area that we love, so it works for us! Or are we just lazy?! You can decide. 🙂
Cross the dune in North Wildwood and the water is a short ways away!
Not only does my family love to vacation in Wildwood, we also love to vacation the same way. When you think of vacation, don’t you think of throwing your schedule out the window? Me too! But we have our own little beach schedule that looks something like this:
7:30 AM: Run on the beach (this is an activity that ONLY I participate in hahaha)
9:30 AM: Ride bikes on the Boardwalk.
11:30 AM: Make lunch at our condo and get ready for the beach.
We dropped one bottle of hot sauce and two different gallons of milk on this vacation! This was our attempt to save the second gallon of milk. 🙂 #coffeepottotherescue
Noon – ??? Swim, boogie board, walk, and lay out at the beach.
??? – 4 PM: Pool time at the condo. Whoever wants to stay at the beach stays at the beach…whoever wants to lay in the shade and cool off heads back to the pool!
5:30 PM: Go out to dinner
7 PM: Home from dinner and time for the Boardwalk. With 3 piers full of amusement park rides and games, lots of stores, and tons of places to get ice cream, we never tire of the Boardwalk!
11 PM: Jake’s curfew. My brothers hang out on the rooftop deck and sometimes I do too…but usually I am getting ready for bed so I make my wake up call the next morning to run. 😉
There is a little bit of happiness and a sense of calm that you get from doing the same thing every day…but we DO like to mix it up on our vacations. We usually do one “different” thing every day. One of our activities this year was Raging Waters Water Park one afternoon.
We love this waterpark. I floated in the lazy river for two hours so here are some throwback pics. 🙂
All about the action shots! And look how little Alex and Jake are!
Instead of going out to dinner one night, we ordered pizza, Italian hoagies, and salads to go and we drove to Sunset Beach in Cape May, NJ. It’s only a short drive away!
I promise you won’t see a more breathtaking sunset than at this particular beach! It’s a little different because it’s all rocky instead of all sandy…
…and you can’t help but snap a million photos!
Right around the time the sun is about to disappear below the water, Sunset Beach starts a short ceremony. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, a different veteran is honored every night by flying an American Flag and playing TAPS, the National Anthem, and God Bless America.
We obviously need some photography tips. 🙂 #brightness
I made Jake recreate this picture. 2012 on the left, 2015 on the right!
Then, one morning while we were biking, we rode off the Boardwalk and went on an adventure in Wildwood Crest.
First, we stopped for breakfast at a little corner store called Rita’s Deli and Bakery. After breakfast sandwiches and my first coffee in six whole days (!!!), we went to Lakeview Docks to do some crabbing. Yep, crabbing. Instead of fishing, we were out to catch crabs. 🙂 We used to go here pretty often when we were younger, but we haven’t been back in years. It was so fun! It was also really cool to watch others fishing, riding jet skis, and kayaking around while we were on the dock.
First, this nice lady chopped up a dead fish for us for bait…
…then we nominated Alex’s girlfriend, Taylor, to hook those nasty pieces of fish into our crab cages. No thank you!!!
He took a picture of her while she hooked all of our bait into the cages. What a supportive guy. Hahaha
In return, Taylor caught the first crab…
…and I caught a whole lotta seaweed. 🙂
The funniest moments were watching Alex throw his cage into the water. He was terrified the entire time because he thought when he threw his cage into the water, it would pull him off the dock and he hates heights! Jake ended up losing his bait but Jake’s friend caught a few crabs. I think the 3 McGraw children were the only ones who didn’t catch much! My mom tried her luck too, but she was better at being official photographer. 🙂
Friday night was super exciting because there was a fireworks show on the Boardwalk by the Big Ferris Wheel! At the end of our vacation, we usually go to Atlantic City for the weekend, so we miss the fireworks! But this year, we went to Atlantic City first, so we got to see the display. It was like 12 minutes long and they played music during it which was so cool! Cliche songs like Katy Perry’s Firework, but still fun to listen to. 🙂
Jake finally convinced my mom that he should be allowed to get his ears pierced. Did you notice any pictures in this post where he was wearing earrings?!
We got to see double rainbows on two different evenings even though it never stormed! I think it stormed one night while we were sleeping and it might have spit a few drops while we were at dinner one night, but it was HOT and SUNNY all day long!
We ate our favorite sugary snacks…like Johnson’s caramel popcorn, Polish water ice, Ken and Mary’s ice cream, and Kohr Brother’s frozen custard (pictured above). Mom got vanilla and orange so it’s like a Creamsicle and I got peanut butter and chocolate! I really wanted to try caramel and coffee, but I didn’t eat ice cream enough nights. Ha!
I found my favorite Boardwalk game…Fascination. It’s only 20 cents a game and it’s just like Bingo! You have to roll a little ball and when it drops down in one of the holes, the corresponding circle on the board lights up. You want to get five in a row…but for this particular round, we were playing “coverall” so that’s why all my lights are lit up. I was the first person to light up all my lights so I won!
Rich! Filthy rich! Which is more than I can say for my luck at the casino in Atlantic City. 😉 The guy who owns this arcade used to have an arcade that was JUST Fascination machines. He is like an emcee the entire time you are playing, giving a play by play of the game. There was music and cotton candy and popcorn. I know what I just described sounds like a dream;) but it was so fun! His parents were so supportive of him, but since they have passed away, he can’t go back to that arcade. So he has moved some machines into another arcade that he owns and he hopes that one day in the future, he can open another arcade just for Fascination. He is kind of well known for his arcade games…so well known that he was on the TV show Hoarders! He’s a pretty cool guy…check out his story here!
I collected treasures.
I ate the most delicious macaroni and cheese.
I tanned myself like it was my job (and felt completely good about it because I use sunscreen and typically only lay out for this one week of vacation).
I offended all my Pittsburgh friends by enjoying an iced coffee from WaWa. 😉 Are you #TeamSheetz or #TeamWawa?!
Aaaaaaand I made fun of my brothers because my drive home to DC was 3 hours and their drive home to Pittsburgh was 6.5 hours. 🙂
Besides spending a lot of time in CVS for over the counter medications (Jake’s sore throat, Alex’s sunburn, and my tongue infection that made my tongue feel like it was burned for several days in a row), we had an AMAZING vacation! We made so many good memories and I am already counting down the days until next summer. A week just isn’t long enough…we’re talking about a month next July. 😉 #teacherperks
– Where is your favorite place to vacation?!
– Are you a beach person?