We Ain't in Kansas Anymore

Bucks County, where we live, isn't named such for nothing. Oh, I know, it's named after the author Pearl S. Buck, who lived here, but I think the real secret reason is because everywhere you go, you meet rich people.

Bucks County has the highest concentration of millionaires (per capita) in the COUNTRY. That includes places like Hollywood or New York. Seriously! It's true! My church is in Newtown, which is an espcially affluent area in an already affluent county, so I'm surrounded by rich people all the time.

I am not, sorry to say, one of them. We live in the small town of Morrisvile, which is something like the ugly step child of Bucks County. There might be competition for that title from Bristol, but basically the rest of the county is rich. (OK, Levittown is more middle class, I'll give you that.) We have a hundred year old 1700 square foot twin and maybe 1/8 of an acre back yard. Morrisville has its own tiny school district and grocery stores and everything, so it's something like a small isolated town in the middle of suburbia. So it's really easy to forget how the rest of the county lives when I'm at home, and even at church I don't usually think about it since I'm at the church and not people's houses.

All this is to set up the reason for my absolute shock and awe when I found myself staying - for free - in a 3000+ square foot mansion on our vacation.

We kicked the summer off this year with a week at the beach. Friends of ours (Al and Megan Jurina) who have access to a beach house in Bethany, DE, invited us to go with them the week after school got out. So, the very last day of school we were on the road for Delaware.

Now, we've gone every summer for the past five years to the beach with our friends Gretchen and Jason Ipock (yes, that's the same "fearless Gretchen" from two posts ago.) Ironically, they also have access to a beach house in Bethany - Jason't aunt owns one there. But this year they were having a baby in the middle of July (the nerve!) and so didn't want to plan on a beach trip, so we figured the beach was just out for us this year. So when the Jurinas invited us to stay with them during their beach trip, we were thrilled, and it's just an ironic coincidence that both places happen to be in Bethany!

Anyway, we left the last day of school for Bethany. I was imagining that we were headed for a condo similar to the Ipocks', you know, typical beach house fare. I was wrong. This is what we pulled up to.


Maybe it was just the contrast to what I was expecting, but I was absolutely, utterly shocked to see the house. It looked enormous to me. It didn't change any as I went inside either.

It had 5 bedrooms, two living rooms, four bathrooms (one with a jacuzzi), a sun room, a deck, and a state of the art kitchen. The upstairs had a little mini living room area at the landing, with four of the bedrooms leading off of it. Our bedroom had its own bathroom and a private balcony. Oh, yeah, and they had a large plasma TV, and since Tim had brought the Wii along, he was in plasma TV/Wii heaven.

Of course, when I stopped to think about it, many people around here live in places like this as their regular home. The land is littered with farmland that has been sold and converted to McMansion developments. So, to such people this house would be par for the course. But for average-living me, it was definitely a departure from the ordinary!

Here are the boys being, well, boys playing Wii. I think it's funny how, if it weren't for their heights, you really couldn't tell the difference between the grown ups and Daniel in these pictures. They're all equally absorbed.
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The living rooms - the first is viewed from the upstairs balcony.
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Wall of Windows

The upstairs "living room" and steps leading to it
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Our room with balcony doors.

There was also a private back yard, and a boardwalk leading out into the trees at the edge of the bay.
This is the view of the bay from the back yard.
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While I was taking pictures of the boardwalk, I got kind of camera happy. I saw this trio of deer which kind of got me going. Then I started getting all artsy and couldn't stop.
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The bay
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The kids on the path through the woods back to the boardwalk.


View of the house from the boardwalk

There were also these tiny little frogs all over. You'd hear them chirrupping all the time outside. The kids were enthralled with them, and wanted to take some home. Emily even tried to sneak some in her pillowcase, which would have been an incredibly unpleasant surprise when we got home if Daniel hadn't snitched on her.
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So - as you can see, it was a far cry from what I'm either used to, or expecting. I think I was in shock for the first day. It took a while to get used to, and I actually kind of missed Jason's Aunt Julie's little cozy condo! I'm a slave to the familiar, I guess. But, it grew on me after a while, and besides, who am I to second guess an invitation to a place like that!! We were incredibly blessed to have our friends invite us, and to have THEIR friends allow us to come.

Of course, it wasn't all about the house. We did beachy stuff too! We went to the beach several times and the pool once. We did our usual night at Rehoboth to Funland for the kiddie rides and the requisite Nicola Pizza.

Our kids with Audrey Jurina on our way to the Bethany Boardwalk our first day there.

Beach fun. The kids in the water, and at the end, me burying Audrey in sand. I was trying alternately to make her look like a mermaid and a princess, which varying sucess! This picture is of a princess attempt, with shells for a princess belt. She liked it, anyway.
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Daniel, looking very excited at Nicola Pizza.

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And then it was time to go home. We had a great time, as we always do at Bethany, and owe our friends the Jurinas a huge debt of gratitude for allowing us to go with them!