We found a good deal on an ocean-front motel in southern New Jersey (where I'd read one of the best beaches in America can be found. Cape May. Our motel was just a bit up the road from it.) We packed up the car and headed out on the open road. Ah! This is GREAT! We can't WAIT to get to the beach.
As we got closer to the motel location, my stomach just sank. It looked....gross. Shabby. Dirty. Rather ghetto. Not a tree in sight. Just cement and cement buildings right up to the beach. Like this--except it seemed worse in person.
No problem! It is alright. We are adventure people. We can handle this. But the room. Gah! The stains on various things. The disgusting...heating unit? I guess? That had some kind of dusty meshy thing just dangling out on the wall. The peeling paint. The carpet that was growing some various new species in it. I felt dirty just looking in that room.
No problem! We are going to the beach! It will be wonderful!
Except for when you child does this for 24 straight hours.
Well, maybe not 24 straight hours. He did do this for a brief moment.
But, then he fell down and stuffed sand in his mouth and rubbed sand in his eyes and went right back to crying.
"We can't let a little whining get us down!" we exclaimed. We put on our extreme parental chipper voices and said in a sing-songy a way, "Let's walk on the beach!" It is just a little windy. And a tad bit cool. One of our children is in a good mood. Except then she got wet. And the wind felt as though we were in a hurricane. And sand was blowing all over. And the one kid in a good mood, suddenly went into Whine Mode Extraordinare.
Okay! We'll just go take a dip in the heated outdoor pool! It will be fine. Except it didn't feel very heated. Then the children were really freezing. Shaking and lips turning blue...meltdowns galore.
No problem! We'll just head back to the hotel and give them little naps. In our oh-so-unpleasant-possibly-grossest-motel-room-I've-ever-seen room. After an hour of pacing back and forth, holding the baby, he finally conked out. At 5 p.m.
People, this is when we looked at each other and said, "We're not staying two nights." We're freezing our asses off on the beach. The kids are having one nonstop meltdown and this room is likely infecting us with something as we speak.
After waking the children up around 6:30 p.m. (Parents, you KNOW how screwed up children act when awoken from hideously late naps? Oh yes. You do.) we went out to dinner. I don't know how, but we made it through and got everyone back and into bed.
John and I slept on the pull-out sofa. And, when laying on our backs, our heads and feet were lower than our middles. So, that was a really comfy night.
Naturally, the kids woke up to allow us to witness the sunrise. We were packed, dressed, checked out and loaded in the car before 8 a.m. We were tempted to just drive straight home, but decided to at least check out Cape May...our original destination.."just down the road." And what do you know? It was lovely. The beach was beautiful. The town was quaint and clean and leafy. There were sweet little restaurants and nice oceanfront places that looked as though they had likely seen some bleach in their bathrooms sometime in the last century. Well, damn. Apparently "just up the road" from somewhere in New Jersey means something different to them than it does to me. Because this? This place I could handle.
All was not lost, as I forced my unwilling family to pose for a family photo and got a decent souvenir.