Atlantic City, NJ

Last Sunday we pulled out of our marina in Cape May and into another close by marina for fuel.  Fuel at the other marina was $0.45 cheaper per gallon than where we were staying!  The marina where we got fuel was right next door to Fishcakes so the girls begged me to go get more donuts.  I walked next door and got more donuts and lobster rolls!  Yum.  New Jersey is VERY shallow in the ICW so we had to pull right out into the ocean.  It was a gorgeous day.  I have no great love for the Atlantic Ocean and don’t like days we have to run outside but knew we had to do the run to Atlantic City and then the trip from Atlantic City up to Sandy Hook, NJ all out on the mighty Atlantic.  We pick our weather days and we had a really good clear forecast.  The water was beautiful but even with no waves the ocean still swells.  And it’s the swells that I don’t like.  But not much to be done about that.  We only had about 4 hours to Atlantic City and we knew this was one of our last chances for dolphins.  I don’t mind leaving the ocean swells but will so miss all that the salt water offers.

We pulled into Farley State Marina at the Golden Nugget Sunday late afternoon.  We try to avoid boating on the weekends however lately the forecast has taken precedence.  Ben isn’t bothered by the crazy weekend boaters and all of the traffic.  He’s very used to it from Chicago so it only stresses me out.  We pulled into the Golden Nugget and it felt familiar to be back in a huge and busy marina!  We love all of the little towns we travel through but we also enjoy the bigger cities and aren’t bothered by the crowds and people like some are.  We got off the boat to check in and there was a Bon Jovi cover band playing outside and people everywhere.  The band was great.  We saw a poster with the line up of cover bands for the rest of the night.  The Police.  The Eagles.  And then Bon Jovi again.  The girls got a bit of an education standing in line for the bathroom as to why drinking a lot may be a bad idea.  Ben and I grabbed a couple of drinks from the bar and went back to the boat to listen and enjoy the afternoon.  We listened until they were done playing.  It was a gorgeous night out.

Monday morning brought a nice quiet hotel and marina.  A lot of boats left.  The grounds were quiet.  The sun was shining.  Our friends Gabi and John from Crazy Love live just north of Atlantic City near the Barnegat Bay. It’s VERY shallow there so they came to us.  They showed up with a New Jersey breakfast – pork roll, egg and cheese bagels.  WOW.  I only managed half, but Ben and John managed to eat their entire bagels.  These were some really good NJ bagels.  The girls loaded up with bagels and cream cheese as well.  What a treat.

After we were done eating lots we headed to the beach and boardwalk.  The girls brought their boogie boards and were happy to see waves.  We hadn’t been to a beach since we were in North Carolina.  It’s been very hot and we’ve had some great pools but they  love playing in the waves.  The girls and Gabi got right in the water and started riding the waves.  Gabi was disappointed in the beach. It had a really strong smell – dead fish or something.  That happens on beaches sometimes.  What can you do?  The kids were having fun so we didn’t care.

We saw a horseshoe crab washed up on the beach. We hadn’t seen one of these before.  Maybe the source of the smell?

After awhile of playing we decided to go walk the boardwalk.  We wanted to at least see the famous Atlantic City boardwalk.  And apparently everyone knows that the Monopoly board is based on Atlantic City.  But I didn’t!  I love learning new things and it was fun to spot all the streets as we walked.  After a long walk Gabi and John had to head home.  They were nice enough to leave us a car so we could go grocery shopping.  We got some errands done and headed to the pool for a bit before meeting our Bahamas friends for dinner.

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What a jam packed day of catching up with friends!  We met Kerry, Dan and Helayna from Igloo for dinner.  They are not doing the loop but we met them in the Bahamas and crossed paths and hung out a few times while there.  Their 15 year old daughter is amazing and so good to our girls.  They adore her and we were so thrilled she joined us for dinner!  We had a great night catching up and reminiscing.   Hugs goodbye for the second time that day.  Both Gabi and John and Kerry, Dan and Helanya told us we should stay and come see where they live.  Weather had to make that decision.  At the time Tuesday was a much better day for our 90 mile run up to Sandy Hook.  But by Monday night the forecast for Wednesday had improved a ton so we had to think on it.  We know by now that if we have a good weather window we need to take it.  But the forecast for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday were ALL good.  So, we decided to stay!

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We are so glad we stayed. Tuesday was so much fun – start to finish.  Purely a play day.  Kerry, Dan and Helayna live in Brigantine, just over the bridge from Atlantic City, so we started there.  We quickly learned that as soon as we crossed that bridge the scenery changes…prettier, less gritty.  Dan had to work unfortunately so he was in Philly but we got to hang out with Kerry and Helayna and their sweet dog for a couple of hours.  Helayna made us all pancakes and then took the girls down to the water to play.  She tossed in a huge float and a surf board and the girls jumped and splashed and had a great time. I mentioned how wonderful she is with the girls?  Wish we could bring her with us!  We had such a nice visit with Kerry and hope to stay in touch as we continue to travel.

Next we headed north to Gabi and John’s house.  Their house was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy.  The rebuild is beautiful and they’ve turned it into two residences so they can rent half of it out.  We got the full tour and the girls quickly settled into the foosball table in the basement.  And they had another sweet dog to play with at this stop!  Gabi wanted to show us a good NJ beach.  She was still upset by the Atlantic City beach.  But before heading to the beach the girls got to set crab traps!  More crabbing!  This was our first time setting a trap.  Now they’ve gotten to crab off a line, scoop crab off a trot line, and pull in a crab trap.  Madelyn wanted to check it right away.  We told her it had to sit for a bit so off to the beach we go.

Gabi took us to Long Beach Island.  She gave me a little of the history of the area and which parts were most affected by the hurricane, where the water surge came in from, etc.  It’s just amazing the devastation that Mother Nature can cause.  Long Beach Island was gorgeous.  Beautiful white sand.  Clean beaches.  Just gorgeous.  It didn’t seem possible that this was just up the coast from where we were the day before.  We got to the beach around 3 pm so the afternoon tide was coming in and the waves were HUGE.  Gabi was so worried about the girls.  I kept trying to reassure her that this is what we LOVE!  She held onto Maddy and picked her up over a lot of the waves.  I assured her Molly was fine and I was in the water too.  There was a strong undertow current but we managed.  It was a fabulous time and eventually I think she believed me that the girls have a lot of experience in huge waves and love EVERY minute of it.

Eventually we pulled them off the beach and headed back to their house.  Next up was checking the traps and then kayaking!  Gabi is too good to them.  Spoiled girls!  The traps indeed had a few crabs.  Maddy got to throw one back in.  And then into the kayaks.   They were so excited to kayak.  Gabi hopped right in with them.  Again, spoiled!  They kayaked up their canal and back.

Once all water sports were done we moved onto dinner.  John smoked pork for pulled pork and it smelled divine.  Gabi made an amazing tomato, basil, mozzarella salad.  We were treated to a fabulous summer meal followed by ice cream for dessert.  The girls played some more foosball.  I folded some sheets and towels Gabi let me bring and wash.  And John gave Molly a little ukulele lesson.  Alas, after a late night the night before at dinner, it was getting late again and we had to drive back.  We had to say our goodbyes.  Gabi and John keep Crazy Love in FL so we’re hopeful we’ll see them this fall when we are down there.  Goodbyes are always hard and such a good reminder of the special people we meet on this trip.

Next up, New York City!

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