Monday, August 8, 2011

Day Four - Jersey Shore

Tuesday pretty much saved the whole trip for me.  Up until that point it had been full of things that didn't work out right and frustrating moments with Jacob.  I decided Tuesday had to be a BIG day for us because the weather was looking sketchy for Wednesday and I wanted to fit in as much of the good outside stuff as we possibly could.  Our first order of business was checking out of the hotel and getting on the road to the shore.  It was about an hour or so there, and it was a relatively easy trip.  I booked a room in Atlantic City, which wasn't really my first choice.  I really wanted to stay in Ocean City, where I had stayed nine years ago with my two best friends.  It's a lovely little town, very family friendly and perfectly pleasant.  However, hotel rates there are ridiculous.  It made more sense to stay in Atlantic City for over $100 cheaper and make the half hour drive to Ocean City when we wanted to visit.  I managed to get a hotel less than a block from the beach.  It was just a Days Inn and it paled in comparison to all of the casinos on the boardwalk, but it got the job done.  We even had a bigger room with a couch.  It wasn't fancy, but it had free internet, free breakfast, and a good location.  Just like in Philly, we parked in the lot for free and went off to kill time until check-in. 

We grabbed our sand toys and walked to the beach.  The heat was once again pretty awful, but the beach access was free (unlike Ocean City where it's $5/person) so we splurged on an umbrella rental to make the time more tolerable.  We had a very nice time there, mostly just playing in the sand.  I dipped my feet in the ocean a few times, and once got as deep as the top of my legs, but it was a bit chilly.  I did get Jacob to walk in a little on a run to fill our buckets with water, but I think he was a little thrown off by the waves. 

As usual, even sand play had a bit of a Jacob slant to it.  We used our turret-like sand molds to create "bowling pins", then used a lacrosse ball to bowl them down...

It took a while, but we eventually got Jacob to change into his bathing suit, and he even convinced us to stay on the beach a little longer.  He did get to play a little beach lacrosse, too.  But mostly it was digging and molding and pouring water.
 After we tired of the beach, we tried to figure out lunch.  Jacob conked out in his stroller before he could eat his corndog, but he got in a good nap while we waited to check in, and woke up unhappy once we got in the room.  However, once he calmed down he inhaled his food and we got ready to head out to Ocean City.

It was an amazing drive out there, as the GPS took us on a route through all the seaside towns and past some of the most gorgeous beach houses ever.  A-MAZING.  We're talking millions of dollars.  Once we got there and parked, Ocean City was as lovely as I remembered it.  The boardwalk was pleasant and full of great food, little shops, and fun amusements. 

We wandered up and down the boardwalk and stopped at Gillian's Wonderland Pier to let Jacob have his first ever ride.  He picked out a car ride that was a crack-the-whip type ride.  I rode with him just in case it freaked him out. 

He ended up loving it!  After the first whip, I looked at him to make sure he was okay, and all I saw was a big smile!  Craig got video but I'm not sure if I will be able to upload it.  Maybe later :)  Still, he did great!  There's hope for roller coaster riding yet!

After we grabbed a sweaty but delicious dinner at one of my favorite spots, Mack and Manco's Pizza, we carefully selected a site for a long-awaited game of mini golf.  There were a ton to choose from, but we picked one with a cool nautical theme.  There was a big boat (there were holes on the boat) and a giant shark!  The best part about it was that most holes had a potential hole-in-one option, making it the perfect course for Jacob.  He had a blast!

Once again, he beat us on a hole or two, and even got a couple holes-in-one in a row (never fear, at one point I had three!).  Here he is after one of them...
Notice the soccer ball golf ball!
Craig pulled out the win after I choked on the last couple holes, but the best part was on the 19th hole (yes, 19th), where you had to putt the ball on a 3 or 4 inch wide straightaway.  If it went in the hole at the end, a giant shark rose up out of the water in a cage.  Craig did it!  Very cool.

Our last stop in Ocean City was Shiver's, a candy shop that specializes in salt water taffy.  They have so many flavors and you can see right where they make it in the back of the shop.  On the way in, Jacob got his picture with Mr. Taffy...

After we bought a small assortment of taffy, we headed back to Atlantic City.  Since we'd had such trouble getting Jacob to sleep, we decided to go for a late-night walk on the boardwalk.  I figured that the stroller ride motion might do him in, and we'd get the benefit of seeing the boardwalk before the rain came in the next day.  We walked up and down the main section of the boardwalk, from Boardwalk Hall down to somewhere around the Resorts Hotel...maybe a mile at most?  It was a nice night and there was plenty to see.  Let's just say that both the boardwalk contents and the clientele in Atlantic City aren't nearly as idyllic as Ocean City.  While Ocean City has its share of cheesy stores, Atlantic City specializes in them and adds numerous massage parlors to the mix.  Yuck.  Ocean City is full of mid-to-upper class families, and Atlantic City has a little of everything.  But it was still fun to walk and see the casino lights.  And miracle of all miracles, Jacob fell asleep and stayed asleep when we transferred him into his bed.  Heavenly.

I went to bed that night feeling content that we'd seen all we needed to see before the rain would come in.  Anything the next day would be a bonus...

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