Day Trip to Ocean Grove

Every summer since Emily was 1 we’ve spent a week at Bethany Beach, Delaware. It’s a great beach, and we’ve always enjoyed going there, but this year it didn’t work out for us to go. So, we figured we just wouldn’t get to go to the beach this year.

Now, we live just 45 minutes West of the Jersey beaches. For some reason it never occurred to us that we could easily do a day trip to the beach. I think this is because for so long we’ve had the “parents of little kids” mentality that said trips to the beach for one day is way too much trouble to put up with. In the past we always needed a place close by where the kids could be put down for a nap, and to clean up, and all that stuff. Of course, it’s been several years since we’ve actually needed any of those things for our kids, who are now 5 and 8, but I guess it’s taken a while for the half-crazed mindset of a parent of toddlers to wear off.

But, it did wear off, and we suddenly realized a couple weeks ago that it was actually really simple to get to the beach. A friend recommended Ocean Grove, which is due east, and so last Saturday we went, and had such a fabulous time! It’s a great family beach town. No glitzy boardwalk games and noise (which suits me). It reminded me of Cape May, where I used to go as a kid, only less popular.

When we first got there, the kids and I went out to “jump” waves.
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The kids were both really into the waves for the first time this year. Other years one or the other were too terrified to have much to do with them, but they were so much fun to watch this year. Daniel would get pounded by the waves, laugh hysterically, and wade out even farther until one of us had to go get him. And they of course loved digging for those little sand clams that all kids love.
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Tim isn’t as much of a beach person as the rest of us, but he held his own. It helped that he brought a large selection of technology journals to read. Yes, he actually sat under the umbrella at the beach and read technology journals. He felt mildly embarrassed by this, but not embarrassed enough to not do it, or to tell me not to take his picture.

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I’ve always loved the jettys at the beach. They’re so fascinating and full of sea life, and these were no exception. There were lots of crabs scuttling around the the kids chased and caught, and the rocks were entirely covered with tiny muscles. They were really neat to touch. I think I gave Tim a mild heart attack taking the camera close to get a picture of them though. Daniel liked to touch them too - so much that he dug his fingers in and grabbed handfuls off the rock, leaving disgusting bits of muscle guts behind. I rebuked him and told him he kills the muscles when he does that, to which he gleefully replied, “I love killing muscles?” Sigh. But he also had the idea to rip some of the dead looking barnacle things off the rocks and stick them in his bucket - and to all our surprise they came to life! Little feathery tongue things started to dart out of them. It was cool - and kinda creepy too. I guess they died, though, since they didn’t make it back onto the rock. But we made sure to put the crabs back in the ocean before the bucket water ran out of oxygen.

crab hunting....

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The muscles and barnacles on the rocks

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Unfortunately, when I put sunscreen on Tim, the wind was gusting, and I was using that spray on kind of sunscreen. So, apparently the wind blew it away when I thought it was going on his skin, and, well....here’s what happened:

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Uh...oops? I felt really bad, especially because Tim didn’t miss any spots on ME. So, a word to the wise: watch what you’re doing when you use that stuff - or stick to the lotion kind! (it obviously worked well in the spots that got covered, though!) He still hurts - I hope he feels better soon! He felt really sick from it on Sunday - it’s a pretty bad burn. Poor Tim....

So that was our day trip to Ocean Grove. It was so much fun, especially with the children. There’s something so joyous and uplifting watching your children run around all day without tiring, having the time of their lives at the ocean. I think a repeat trip is in order, soon!