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Ocean City ~ Another Trip to the Boards

So this past Winter we asked our girls where they would like to go for our summer vacation, Disney World or Ocean City, New Jersey they both answered without hesitation, “Ocean City, New Jersey!”

So here is another picture blog (sort of) of our trip this month, back to my favorite destination as a kid.

We left for OCNJ the week after school let out for summer. And while it was plenty hot where we live, 10 hours to our North they were still trying to unwrap summer. Actually, the kids were still in school at this time.

Day 1

Eat Breakfast at Browns Donuts.

We always rent bikes in OCNJ and take a trip down the boardwalk in the morning. Browns is conveniently located at the one end of the Boards, so we start our daily bike ride from there.

This is one of two places we visited once a day (at least) on vacation. They are soooo good!

We love Brown’s donuts!

We go to Texas Roadhouse about every other week where we live. Every time we go there the young hostess asks if we had been to Texas Roadhouse before?

We walked in Browns donuts and got a big hug from the staff, which we had not seen in close to two years.

Something you might not be surprised to see then in America’s Greatest Family Resort is the playing of the Star Spangled Banner at 9am every day on the boardwalk as they raise our flag on the Boards.

Yes 9am, not too early…..cause we are on vacation.

In Ocean City, NJ a seagull flies through the scene as they sing, “God bless the USA” at around the first minute into the video. Not and eagle or jets that you see other places  🙂

It is the coast after all.

So every morning bike ride one of the things we try to decide is ‘where are we going to play miniature golf today?’

The Ocean City boardwalk has no shortage of kid courses.

Mini golf with a view…rain or shine apparently

Our first day on the Boards we opted for Medieval Golf, a.k.a., ‘the place with the dragon‘.

Skye hiding from the dragon

Next in the OCNJ routine is back to the beach house, quaintly known as 4 Beach Road this year, conveniently located to Browns and a beach grill, to freshen up and head to the beach.

Now one of the heroines in this story, Dylan, is at an age where she does not like the beach so much; it’s too dirty.

But Skye loves it! So off we went!

We dug a warm tidal pool in front of the cold Atlantic

So working on the reputation of ‘the world’s greatest daddy’ (Fathers Day was right around the corner) I dug a wall around the out-flowing water of the retreating tides to create a warm pool for Skye to play in.

This was some work as you had to stay busy and a lot of fun!

Speaking of the beach grill, here is a shot from there where Mom and I enjoyed some local ‘Philly Cheese steaks, while Dylan and Aunt Sue practiced volley ball.

Take a look in front of us.

Parents, how many of you have kids that like to lay face and belly down in the sand and just get coated top to bottom?

Life’s a beach!

We showered up afterwards and headed over to the appropriately vacation themed ‘Island Grill Seafood House for dinner. This is another place we talked about all spring as we planned our vacation.

our Miss Drama on vacation

Then back to the boardwalk for the last two destinations we dreamed of all spring,

Amusement park rides on the Wonderland Amusement pier ….

…and Kohrs Brothers Frozen Custard!!!

Kohrs Bros. frozen custard accept no substitutes

This frozen soft custard ice cream goodness really can’t be over stated. And by the end of the week Dylan had her favorite Kohrs Brothers stand with her favorite staff.

Can you imagine any finer destination for a kid then, donuts, bikes, beach, putt-putt, amusement rides and soft ice cream all in one day?

And why this beats Disney World every time?

Day 2

Browns….

4 Cinnamon, 3 chocolate, 1 powdered and one vanilla…all Mine!!

Bike ride to decide on the  mini golf course to play.

Tuesday’s winner was the unforgettable favorite Seaport Village.

A household favorite, Jaws Golf

This has always been a family favorite after that unforgettable experience Skylar had years ago on her first encounter with putt-putt on the boards…and sharks!

Then it was back to the beach….

Yes a blonde life guard

…. then Castaway Cove Amusement Rides….

Fearless!

…and more Kohrs Bros.

Time for a daily dose of Kohrs Bros. Note the jackets

Notice the proper order…..

rides then ice cream and not the other way around.

Day 3

Browns donuts

Beware the paparazzi!

Boardwalk, bikes, mini golf…..

Today was the much awaited (and argued about), the legendary Congo Golf.

Congo Golf! The gorillas in the helicopter sing

Argued about you say?

Well trying to get two kids to agree on which course to play!

3 courses inside Congo golf (they all play Jimmy Buffett inside

Yes, dad took all the arguing in stride as they play Jimmy Buffett throughout the course..inside

Then back to the beach…

Today the post-card team of lifeguards actually came to life!

A family of swimmers drifted out past the breakers and could not make their way back to the shallows. A few of them waved for the lifeguards for Help.

I would like to insert a (blonde) joke here but I was really impressed.

Without hesitation, one of the lifeguards sprinted to the sea with an orange float under one arm, completely ignoring the 60 degree ocean temp.

In less than a minute two more life guards came literally sprinting down the beach full speed from the neighboring beach, floats in their hand, and dove into the ocean.

A minute later an all-terrain vehicle pulled up with two more lifeguards. And then another.

Life guards pulling swimmers from the ocean. I stood up as if I could be some assistance to the rescue

This rescue on this family of 5 was really impressive!

Adding to why this is such a great place to take your kids.

…speaking of,

later that day…

Rides

Did I mention Fearless?

…Kohrs Bros. ice cream, er, frozen custard

Chocolate and rainbow sprinkles

Day 4

Today on the Boards we tried a break in the routine,

a perk,

a decadent diversion….

Boards, Bikes, and Kohrs Custard…for breakfast

Soft Custard for breakfast!!

We still had our Browns donuts earlier on the bike ride.

(I put on so much weight this trip!)

Still no shortage of mini golf..

Pirate Island

Pirate Golf right down the boards from Congo

…that has the talking Parrott and Alligator…that tries to sell you DQ Blizzards

And the mandatory family pic….

mandatory family picture

more Beach..

This week in Ocean City they held the Miss New Jersey pageant at their famed Music Pier theater on the Boards.

This night they held the Miss New Jersey pageant ‘parade’ on the boardwalk so every one could get a glimpse at the contestants…

Miss New Jersey Parade

..ahhhh, the constants:

ahhh Ms. New Jersey parade

Each contestant rode in their favorite car and got made up to look like their favorite woman in history.

..then more rides

The Wonderland Bear says Hello to the two most avid riders

..as we were preparing to say good-bye to the Wonderland and Castaway Cove Amusement piers.

Summary:

So by now I guess you know our routine.

I didn’t take any pics of riding our bikes on the boardwalk. That, in itself, is a true highlight of a trip to OCNJ, for young and old a like.

We did not miss a single morning, rain or shine, hot or cold on the Boards with our bikes.

Here is a glimpse of what that is like..

Two and a half mile of beach homes, other bikers, joggers, and surreys.

Shops, sounds, smells and sights of vacation!

Candy, fudge, warm fresh caramel corn, ice cream, mini golf, souvenirs, beach stores.

A wake, up-stretch-your-legs, this-is going-to-be-a-great day, intro to vacation.

I stop, inhale, and marinate the ‘shangri la’ experience this is, and has been for me. Its good for the soul.

Shang ri la ~ the boards are good for the soul

Perfect morning on the boards

..cause I am pretty much still a kid at heart.

One mini golf place we did not mention or capture was the Haunted Golf with the skeleton out front that talks and sings to you.

No pictures cause it’s all inside.

Which can be a really cool thing in the summer; pardon the pun.

And that brings us to the sunset of our summer vacation.

The Sun going down to the west

Thanks for taking the time to look in and visit with us!

Sorry is it is so much of the same, past OCNJ posts. But each trip, I think this marks the 5th with the kids, is a new high with new experiences.

One more glimpse from the ferris wheel as we take the bridge across Egg Harbor and head home and  say good-bye.

It’s a great place to be a kid!

Want one more version of why Ocean City is Americas Greatest Family resort and the perfect place for kids? Listen to this unbiased version from a 10-year-old strolling down the boardwalk as he gives you a narrated tour of the Boards. Too cute!

This is the Ocean City experience… as seen through the eyes of a child.

 

Cast of Characters in Another Trip to the Boards:

Browns Donuts

Kohrs Bros. Frozen Custard

Ocean City Boardwalk

Bikes on the Boardwalk

Miniature Golf of Ocean City

with a very special supporting to Johnson’s popcorn

(in which a gallon tub was consumed during the making of this vacation)

(I am such a tub of lard)

If I know you, and I miss your birthday or special event, you are getting a tub of this in the mail

Retiring

I warned you I had a few more beach photo’s from Ocean City with the new camera. So I wanted to unload some for my family and friends and be able to retire this beach vacation theme here in the middle of October.

So bear with me here. If I haven’t scared you off with the pics from our kids on the first two episodes, this won’t hurt much either.

Again, we took a trip to Ocean City, New Jersey, which calls itself America’s Greatest Family Resort. And if you have a young family this is a great place to escape to when the time is right.ocean cityWell we visited on the shoulders of the off season and so the main attraction of Ocean City, its 2.5 mile boardwalk looked something like this:

the Boardwalk

The boardwalk is a great family destination for a number of reasons, not least of all is fun, great tasting, and completely unhealthy food. That’s why, literally, the first place we stopped every morning was:

Browns donuts sign

For a breakfast that resembled something like this:

Brown's breakfast

That’s right, there are two warm fresh made, partially eaten donuts for my oldest one, along with some Bavarian Waffles all topped with strawberries. A good father might have suggested she try something a little less ambitious for breakfast. But I was looking forward to finishing it!

And I did!

Then every day, after we finished breakfast, we would peddle on down the boards for some shopping; or probably more food.

Go Dylan Go!

Go Dylan Go!

Let me introduce Johnson’s Homemade Popcorn!

Johnsons popAnybody who has ever had fresh, warm, sweet smelling caramel popcorn knows what a treat that is. And Johnson’s makes it ways with about 4 different stands on the boardwalk, each making their own in-house, much like these Popcorn elves, hard at work one beautiful morning.

Johnson Popcorn elvesNot sold yet, here is the link to their online store, try some! Charge it to my account. ..http://www.johnsonspopcorn.com/

Manko and Manko Pizza is another Ocean City establishment with a huge reputation on on the boards.

manco

One particular chilly afternoon, I rode my bike down the boardwalk. It was empty. But as I rode past Manko and Manko’s there was maybe three empty seats in the whole place. Its that good!

The other must try, and we did, boardwalk treat is Kohr Brothers Frozen custard. Dylan tried to con me into taking her there every day as she knew it was my favorite spot on the boards.

Our girls HAD TO HAVE  the sprinkles EVERY TIME!

Our girls HAD TO HAVE the sprinkles EVERY TIME!

Friends if you go to OCNJ and try just these four places then leave it would not have been in vein.

FROZEN custard's my favorite

FROZEN custard’s my favorite

The other big reason for the great family fun on their boardwalk are the two big amusement piers.

Ferris WheelThere are great, carnival style rides here for all ages. I think I have documented them enough so here are just a few more pics

rides galore

The Casio camera was not so good with fast moving shots. That didn't stop the guy in the second car didn't know that though.. I never met him before!

The Casio camera was not so good with fast moving shots. That didn’t stop the guy in the second car from posing though.. I never met him before!

Skye copter

And, of course, the required Pirate, "Arrrgh matey" pose

And the customary Pirate, “Arrrgh matey” pose

Of course I am a beach bum. Any vacation of mine has to include some sand and some waves.

I showed a few pics over the weekend of the poetic surf to be found there. I would be misleading if I left you with the idea it was always like that.

One day the ocean was just plain flat

flat oceanAnd two days we had rain and storm type winds creating a different look for the beach and the ocean.

rough seaBut half of our stay the weather did cooperate with us and the girls didn’t mind the chilly ocean temperatures ( as much as I did) to let them get in the way of their fun….

my little surfers..

my little surfers..

the camera lens must have been about as cloudy as I was that morning

the camera lens must have been about as cloudy as I was that morning

It must have been a sea monster or Queen Ursula

It must have been a sea monster or Queen Ursula

And as I sat their one afternoon, not worrying about blogs to write, or to-do lists, or finances, or health my eyes kept coming back to these two.

yes, RETIRING like this some day...

yes, RETIRING like this some day…

I sat there watching them thinking, ‘yea that is the life in retirement for me. I could get use to this life I think; come out on the beach every day and read whatever suits my fancy, while warming in the sun and the crash of the waves for my backdrop. I hear it calling me….’

A most mysterious calling ocean.

So far but yet so near.

I can see the day when my hair’s so gray

and I finally disappear.”

GREAT SUNRISE

But not yet!

Have a great week knuckleheads!

I’ll try to do better next time…

Life’s a Beach; that’s for Shore…

Well the summer is over. School is in full swing. Football is kicking in on the weekends. 

Good Bye Ocean! Good bye coastal weekends! As the King of Somewhere Hot I thrive in the summer. As the temps start to cool I become more of a normal guy I am afraid. Life can be a beach some times. 

I went to bed with this dilemma on my mind and the summer solstice creating odd moods and weird dreams. 

Like last night, I had this dream where I woke up to a spectacular sunrise… sunrise

My family and I rode bikes down to our favorite breakfast joint, Brown’s Donuts, home of the fresh, homemade, warm donuts. It was wonderful! So many choices! So little time… 

'Brown's Donuts are good but don't finger them all Skylar

‘Brown’s Donuts are good but don’t finger them all Skylar

After breakfast we peddled our bikes down to a miniature golf course. Our daughters tried to figure out the difference between putt-putt and hockey while I got to strut my stuff and the King of Somewhere Putt! 

'how hard did you hit that Daddy?'

‘how hard did you hit that Daddy?’

Later on our ride down the boardwalk we ran across these lowly pirates, begging for more money for the likes of hot caramel popcorn, frozen custard, or yummy fudge. 

My favorite letter is 'Arrrrgh', matey...

My favorite letter is ‘Rrrrr’, matey…

We rode our bikes back to the perfect beach! ….just as I thought my summer was over. ssurf ii

The water was nice. The waves were perfect! There was a coastal breeze coming off the mainland making the waves stand up and casting picturesque spray off as they crashed towards the beach; ahhh…shore.

The only thing keeping me from slipping into Margarittaville was a horse fly caught me off guard early in the afternoon, keeping me from completely relaxing with my Jimmy Buffett Ipod. Other than that odd twerk in my dream the beach afternoon was truly classic; a beautiful day on the edge of the continent. surf

What do you think it means in my dream? 

My girls loved it too. The day was so clear we could see all the way to Atlantic City it seems. My girls only noticed this surfer dude, asking me what he was carrying and what’s it for. I told them to stay away girls! Stay, far, far away! atlantic cityIn order to take their mind off this peculiar dressed surfer boy I took them to the local amusement pier on the boardwalk. Here they could find rides galore! rides galore

They got to ride some of their favorite spinny, thrilling rides…. WP_20140920_004

Plus, some old favorites like engineering Thomas the Train

Cheer up, the ride will be over soon...

Cheer up, the ride will be over soon…

My girls really love trains! 

The setting sun cast a spectacular view of the ocean at dusk. surf at dusk

We took a moment in awe of the beauty that this world has to offer.

A well manicured beach...a gift

A well manicured beach…a gift

We thanked God for allowing me to have this special time with my family, in contrast to how I was feeling a year ago. And we decided time was short so we needed to celebrate with one of the greatest gifts known to man…

FROZEN custard's my favorite

FROZEN custard’s my favorite

Kohr’s Frozen Custard!

What a dream! If only… 

If only it were real. If only I could relive it tomorrow. If only these stupid dreams weren’t dictated by some odd lunar effects. full moon

If only this was not a dream and we could relive all this fun tomorrow!

 THAT would be a dream for shore!

Have you had any weird dreams lately?

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