A long time ago, my wife and I had attempted to drive down to Cape May in one day, and come back the same day. A rather unreasonable goal in hindsight. We hit so much Shore traffic on the Garden State Parkway, we decided to give up on Cape May (until September 2007.) We stopped in Long Beach Island in the very late afternoon, relaxed for a while on the beach somewhere, then hit up an Italian joint for dinner. More than a decade later, we returned to LBI to meet up with my wife’s sister and family to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday while they are vacationing in LBI itself.
After loading up the car with enough supplies for a short weekend trip, and filling the gas tank, and stopping at our local Target to get a new cooler, we were finally on our way. Well, at least for 45 mins, until we got to Belmar so we could hit the Surf Taco in Belmar NJ for lunch. I didn’t mind eating fast food crap, but my wife likes to elevate our dining experiences where possible. Surf Taco wasn’t a bad idea, since I’ve wanted to eat at one of these places for at least 3 years now, but we never had the right opportunity. We got some excellent parking in Belmar, and luckily beat the lunch crowd — after we sat down, there was a line of twenty-something kids out the door. You order and pay for your food at the counter, then a server brings your food to whatever number you have been assigned. The food was good, but you would think the service was better. Even though we were number 18, a server would come out and ask people if they got a particular dish. Well, whatever.
We eventually got back on our way, made it through some slight volume on the GSP, and finally arrived at my sister-in-law’s LBI motel/inn right on the beach. They weren’t checked in yet, so we left our car in the motel/inn parking lot, and walked around the beach for a bit. Eventually, they arrived, and everyone took turns in the water. There was a small, unfortunate incident where Lily and Josh got close to a rocky jetty, and when I went in there to get them, I cut/scraped up my feet on the rocks. It got a momentarily scary with the kids being close to the rocks, but they were fine. The ocean can be a unpredictable thing. With multiple cuts, sand and salty water, that put a kibosh on further adventures for me though, so I hung out on the beach blanket until we were all done.
Back at their room, we all took showers and cleaned up, then went to The Beach House for dinner. We had initially wanted to eat at Terrace Tavern & Crab Shack, but there was a 30 min wait. The Beach House, on the other hand, only had a 10 min wait. The restaurant looked nice inside, so easy decision, so we went to The Beach House instead. However, it was BYOB, so I walked over to a local liquor shop to pick up a bottle of Simi Winery Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Excellent wine, BTW.
Nice dinner, good food, good conversation. We hit the road around 10:30pm, and drove clear and straight on the GSP back to home without any issues. A long but enjoyable day at the Jersey Shore.
Tomorrow? Great Adventure and Hurricane Harbor!