Even though we LOVE living on Makai, especially anchored in front of some deserted sandy island surrounded by pristine water and white sand beaches, living on land has it’s good points too. After putting Makai away for the summer, we drove through Gettysburg and did the 2 hour battlefield audio driving tour, then up to the Harrison’s house in New Jersey. The van felt like it was going home because Ginger and Bruce have been storing our van at their house in the winters. We met the Harrison’s about eight years when they moved into the cabin at the end of the road in Angelus Oaks, CA. We were best cabin pals for about four years and then they moved back to New Jersey. It was sad to see them go, but now we have someone in New Jersey to visit. First thing the next morning Bruce took Eric to the Philadelphia Airport on his way to work and the rest of us went to the beach. Yea, Jersey Shore here we come, from the land side!
Normally going to the beach consists of a short swim or dinghy ride to shore. We don’t bring anything except maybe a bottle of water and shoes if we think we’ll go beyond the sand. From Ginger’s in Milford, NJ on the border with Pennsylvania, we drove to her sister’s house in Trenton, NJ and then to Seaside Heights. Nearly two hours later we dragged bags of beach gear to the sand and experienced the beach from the dry side.
Roy was the only dude among 9 dudettes, so he dug a hole and buried himself up to his chin. Ginger’s daughter Amy is a Marine Biology student in North Carolina full of answers to questions you might have at the beach. Like pointing out the little jelly orbs which are squid eggs. She was also happy to swim with my kids.
Amy was pretty much my first and most consistent babysitter when she lived in California. Since Eric was usually busy taking care of his fleet of jeeps or doing projects, Amy would hang out with the kids in our cabin so I could go to visit with Ginger, have dinner at the Harrison’s cabin and have quiet shopping trips down the hill in Redlands. Later, Amy’s sister Tess went from my helper on weekends to another babysitter. Thanks ladies!
I thought the water was cold, but I must have been wrong because they spent quite a bit of time in the water.
I was surprised how clear the water was when I saw the photos.
Our experience as we sailed along the coast was that the water was murky, mucky, and muddy, but this was beautiful.
Well, that’s that for that, pack up and on to the Boardwalk.
Ginger and her siblings spent the summers here at their grandparent’s house when they were young. They have decades worth of stories, traditions and favorites. In 2012 as the kids and I were preparing to drive from California to the East Coast before flying to Makai in Grenada, Hurricane Sandy was destroying this coastline. Follow this link for shocking before and after photos of the neighborhood Hurricane Sandy devastated. Part of the community’s rebuild they started a ‘Sponsor a Bench’ program. Ginger and her siblings chipped in to have this bench engraved with their grandparent’s names as a tribute to their childhood memories and love for the Jersey Shore at Seaside Heights.
The kids and I rode the sky ride down to the amusement pier.
It was a long way down to the sand, but the view from above the boardwalk was unique.
We were drooling as we passed the treat shops.
Finally, it was pizza time. Do you want a large, how about 24 inches large.
A single slice requires a big appetite.
How about desert. Tesse ordered this Belgian waffle ice cream sandwich.
What a great day, the sun is setting and we have a two hour ride back home. Everyone has thoughts of a nice hot shower and a soft cozy bed.
How about a relaxing day hanging around the house. Oops, maybe not, its moving day. Ginger is moving out of the antique shop she was showing her wares at. We had a great system going on. Ginger was in the basement directing the movers, Marie was tasked with calling the elevator down when the movers yelled down the shaft, Amy, Genny and Roy were the movers, and I packed the boxes into Ginger’s pick-up and our van. After two truck loads and a van load of antiques were transferred from the basement of the shop to the basement at home, we got our reward.
Ice cream sundaes for dinner! Everyone scooped their favorite flavor and topped it with magic shell topping, whipped cream, sprinkles, banana, and cherries. No room for dinner
Never a dull moment. Today a regular old trip to the grocery store includes blueberry picking.
A sunflower field.
Pretty girl selfie. Then a stop at the Amish Market for a snack. Apparently the Amish from the Pennsylvania Dutch area in Lancaster Pennsylvania come here and treat us with their specialties. We were pretty hungry and all enjoyed pretzel wrapped hot dogs, fudge, chocolate covered bacon and wished we could stock up on everything in their hot deli, meat market and ice cream shop.
No time for all that, we had to get our groceries home. Bruce took over the kitchen and made sausage stuffed zucchini and a yummy sausage stew to be served on buns.
Ginger and I enjoyed sparkling wine with mashed blueberries. A great way to end another action packed day.
Early the next morning Roy and Bruce headed out to a favorite fishing hole.
Even though Bruce and Roy make it look easy, it’s not as common to catch big fish in the rivers as it was for Roy to catch the same size fish as they swim under Makai in the Bahamas.
That afternoon, the girls and I packed up the van to rendezvous with Bruce and Roy and continue on to Buffalo. Ginger said to go out her driveway to Church Rd and make a right. But the GPS said to go left and the iPhone disagreed with the GPS. Come on, which way should I go? I followed Ginger’s advice and went to the right.
We picked up Roy and continued on another six hours to Buffalo to see Topaz, Nannie and J.J. Oh yea, shmoogle on our pup. We’ve missed cuddling and smooching on her ears, rubbing her back and scratching her belly.
Topaz and JJ, Nannie’s Duck Tolling Retreiver, have been enjoying their own private swimming pool this summer.
But now that we’ve brought kids, they have to share. So far they’ve had to swim with our friend Maria whose grandma used to live two houses down and her mother was my first neighborhood friend, Hannah whose grandparents are our family’s oldest friends, Sadie who’s mom is my pal from our teen years, and of course my hooligans.
Marie made a new friend whose family just moved in down the road.
But there are bonuses for the dogs to share their private resort with kids. Times like breakfast when they can try for a morsel from an unsuspecting kid.
Topaz went from her favorite corner in Makai’s cockpit to sharing couches with JJ. Even though they are ‘only pups’ for most of the year, they are very good at sharing couches, the water bowl, prime begging spaces, and can even lick a plate together.
Back to fishing, Roy and my brother Jim had a great day at the Genessee River. Jim caught a massive 18 inch trout.
Jim and Ania wrapped it in foil with dill and butter and baked it for an hour. We all ate our fill and still had the little ones left over for another meal.
The kids and I also went to work. We trimmed the hedge and bushes, mowed the lawn, weed wacked, pulled weeds, washed the windows, trimmed Topaz’s nails and gave her a haircut, and a few other odds and ends.
Marie was so exhausted she needed to rest with visions of a day at the spa dancing through her head.
Another project Eric set us up with is the Raspberry Pi. This is a small linux based credit card size computer. It comes to you with nothing more than a circuit board and usb, hdmi, and SD card ports for you to plug in accessories. After a few days of dealing with the knotted tangle of wires, we went out and bought a piece of Plexiglas and some zip ties to mount the pieces.
I spent many hours trying to get the Raspberry Pi connected to the local network here with no luck, so Genny decided to play with a programming game on it called scratch.
We are part of a very small family, so it’s always special to visit with my brother and his wife. Their house backs up to a tennis court and the kids like to go on an ‘egg hunt’ to collect stray balls.
Ever since out campout with the Aanonsons, smores have been on our mind.
Why have a regular smore when you can have a giant one.
While we were discussing fun activities for us to do together, it was decided that after dinner we should run over to the Botanical Gardens in South Park.
The main event is Morty, their Corpse Flower. The long line meandered through the gardens which gave us a chance to read the signs and more slowly and carefully enjoy the other exhibits. The Amorphophallus titanum is a native to rain forests in Sumatra and Indonesia. It only blooms for a few days every 6-8 years producing a dead flesh stink. Roy was excited to see it because of he has read stories and seen cartoons that feature a stinky rare flower.
It sure was big, but we didn’t smell the stench we had hoped for. This bloom was less than 24 hours old and should have been stinky. I think the gardens had fans blowing most of the smell away.
When I was a kid my family toured the Botanical Gardens after Easter Mass at Our Lady of Victory Basilica. I remember the gardens smelling so fresh decorated with lilies and other spring flowers. In Buffalo there could still be snow on the ground, but the Botanical Gardens was a pleasant break from winter.
Back at Nannie’s spa, Marie is relaxing in the sun.
The pups continue to swim. Apparently Topaz doesn’t need a boat in pristine water, just a big tub of water in the backyard will do.
I like to stand on the steps, receive the toy and toss it out again.
Ah yes, this is the life. Too bad it only lasts for a month or two, then you have to pack up the pool and put away the lounges, bring out the coats, boots and hats and prepare for winter again.
If JJ and Topaz aren’t cute enough, how about Bo, Kelly’s new puppy.
The kids have their lists of needs. We usually save them up and then have a kid appreciation day. Genny and I had a relaxing stroll through Khols in the morning and then Roy and I went to the newly opened Cabela’s. Apparently, you can never have too much fishing gear. We have learned this traveling because every new body of water we visit is a new habitat, different fish and a different set of gear.
Living on land also means enjoying the fruits of the farms. For many years we’ve joined Jim and Ania and cousin Patryk blueberry picking in East Otto. Burdick’s property is beautiful with a vegetable garden and seasonal flowers and 40 acres of blue berries. At the farm stand we buy containers or weigh our own and then climb into a modified pick-up truck for a ride out to the field currently being picked.
The employees direct us to the next row to be picked. Everyone has their containers ready to fill. The clusters of fat juicy berries drop off easily into our small containers we use to fill up the bigger boxes.
We noticed how our berry picking with the kids has improved this year. The day is usually hot and the kids get whiny quickly, but this year they quickly filled the baskets with minimum complaints about the heat.
The best part about picking berries is TASTING berries. I don’t think I’ve ever seen blue berries as big as these in the stores. It is a good thing they didn’t weigh me before and after picking, I’m sure I would have had to pay extra for all the berries I consumed.
Jim and Ania make jam and freeze their berries. Patryk had plans to take his to a pot luck he was attending this evening. We’ll take ours home and freeze most of them, give away a few, and eat the rest. After picking we set ourselves up at a picnic table under the trees for snack before returning home.