Exceptionally laid back beautiful day
☕ Amazing lunch and lattes
🛤 Cruisin around exploring
🌊 Spending time @ my soul space…the ocean
Candle & rock shopping
Day 1 🌞🚙🌤️🍕
Thank you Mom, Dad, Tori and Barry for making this all happen!
We’ve been waiting for this kind of vacation a long time! And the family was waiting for this reunion for 12 years! That was the last time they were all together as a family. So this was super special. The ride there was beautiful. And you’ll hear that word thrown around a lot in this blog post 😄 So we drove from Virginia Beach to the Jersey Shore (Point Pleasant NJ/Beach) and we had great weather for the drive and very few stops. We were just excited to get there.
When we arrived, not everyone was there yet and wouldn’t be until Tuesday. We stayed at the Sand Pebble Motor Lodge in the Victorian. We were upstairs in a three bedroom suite (which was in itself two floors). We stayed with Keith’s parents, his brother Barry, sis-in-law Tori and their two littles (kids). The place was HUGE. His brother and fam was on the second floor of our suite, they had a massive bedroom with a king size bed, a huge bathroom with tub and a HUGE walk in closet that was actually used as the kids playroom, yeah it was that big. We think it may have originally been a small bedroom that they converted into a massive walk in closet. We were downstairs, where there were two bedrooms and a HUGE bathroom and kitchen. The living room was pretty big too. The kitchen was fully equipped and stocked with utensils, pots, pans, dishes, etc…. Keith’s big brother stayed downstairs in another suite (the steps in the first pic below show the entrance to their suite, we were on floor 2). Their suite was also roomy, a big two bedroom with large kitchen.
We arrived around dinner time and so we just had pizza and enjoyed time with family. After dinner we took a walk down to the boardwalk (which was open till midnight) to walk around and get some desert.
Day 2 ☀️⛱👙🌊 🚂
Sunshine and blue skies! Time to hit the beach!!! The beach was nice. When staying at the Sand Pebble you can get a discount for tickets to Jenkinson’s Beach. Now this was something I had never heard of, people owning parts of the beach and you paying to get on their beach. Here is VB we don’t have that. We either have public beaches or private beaches that you can only access if you are staying someplace on that beach.
The beach ended up being $2 a day per person after the lodge discount. Not bad I suppose. It pays for having a clean beach, and lifeguards everywhere. You feel pretty safe at this beach. It was beautiful!!
We went our own way for a bit and ended up at a cozy diner, Beach Diner and had a quick dinner while watching the trains go by.
Afterwards we headed back down to the boardwalk for the kids to all ride rides (lots of good ones for the kids), play carny games and get desert at the The Black Anchor Coffee House, which was delicious!!!!
Day 3 🌤️📷🥗
Most of this day was just very family oriented. We took family photo’s and just spent time reconnecting and connecting. The day before Aunt Kate (Keith’s Mom’s sister) and her hubby Uncle Mike also came down and joined us and took family photo’s for us.
We all went out to dinner at Frankie’s. I had a salad and was disappointed they didn’t even have bread sticks let alone bread. But my salad was good! And everyone just enjoyed spending time with each other. After all, for some it had been 12 years since they last saw each other. Keith (my hubby) had not seen his oldest brother Scott in 12 years! Scott and Nauko’s oldest was just a baby boy when he last saw them. And I had never met them. They live all the way in Washington State. So this really was a special time for all of us!
Day 4 🌥️📷🐸🦉🐧🐢🐠🐡🦐🐍🌦️⛈️
Jenkinson’s Aquarium was how we spent most of the day. It was a pretty laid back day with a few raindrops. And the start of some thunderstorms. It was a good day for an indoor experience.
To be honest, I really thought the aquarium was just going to be a roadside afterthought kind of place. I was even worried I would see mistreatment,neglect or bad conditions here. But it was the complete opposite. They were cleaning all the time, the animals looked happy and well fed. And happily I found this place to be very conscientious about animal welfare and sustainability. They had displays everywhere for conservation, animal protection, rescue, preservation and keeping the waterways clean of debris. I was pretty impressed with this little aquarium. They care a lot about their residents and the animal world.
ps….their seal, Luseal wasn’t always alone here. Luseal is a rescue and so was the other resident seal. Sadly Luseal’s companion passed away recently. From what they said they are hoping to be able to take in another rescued seal.
Day 5 ⛈️☔💦🥙🚂
Rain, thunder, lightening, downpours! But it was still a pretty awesome day. We hung around the house for a while and hung out with family and then met with one of Keith’s old friends and her hubby for dinner. We had met once before and have been Facebook friends, but I haven’t seen her since Keith and I first got together! She even got married since then and moved out of Jersey to PA and then back to Jersey. So it was time to catch up! Unfortunately for whatever reason, we completely forgot to snap any pictures. But it was a fun evening playing catch up at Beach Diner with good friends we don’t get to see often enough!
And we did make tentative plans to get together some time during the holidays! And next time, we will take pictures!!
Day 6 Headed Home….☀️😢🌊⛴
All good things I suppose have an ending, or at least a, till next time. And we’ve already decided there will be a next time. We have solo trip plans and plans that involve group vacations back to Point Pleasant. We also determined that we can’t let so much time go by with us not seeing the littles. Keith is godfather to the two littlest niece and nephew and since they are in New Jersey and us in Virginia, we decided we need to start meeting at some half way points, even if only for weekends here and there so we can all see each other. Time slips away and we may ourselves eventually move further away so we have to find the time and take the time to spend with family while we can!
We grew closer to family who are in Washington State too and we may even move there one day soon, who knows. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to live and Keith’s job could potentially come up with a transfer there. But either way we have to make it happen that we see each other more. Kids need family bonds and although it’s hard when people are so transient now and tend to live in other states, or even countries, to make the effort to remember that kids needs to know family.
We all had a quick lunch together back at Frankie’s and then a quick run back down to the boardwalk for us to grab this massive apple (we had at the beginning of the trip, soooo good!) and some taffy, as well as a new wall hanging for our ocean(esq) living room!
It was especially nice for Keith, Scott and Barry’s parents to see us all, and see us all together. Time keeps moving and before you know it, 12 years have gone by. I think we all learned a valuable lesson while having a beautiful and memorable family vacation!
💙Till next we meet….
Many of you know my plans to meet up with friends in Myrtle Beach was cancelled due to Hurricane Matthew and the destruction in the area our resort was in. Very sad all the loss of life and so much destruction in Matthews path. It’s left a burden on communities like those in Myrtle Beach and even worse in Haiti and parts of the Caribbean where there were many fatalities and some areas were completely destroyed. Relief still accessing damages, giving aide and starting to clean up and re-build.
Thankful we were ok. We were not in harms way. We needed to celebrate the fact that we were unharmed while remembering many were harmed and lives destroyed.
My friends ended up just coming here for vacation and we spent a week just enjoying each others company and taking in whatever small stuff was happening here in Virginia Beach. We were somber at the reason why we ended up vacationing my backyard. But so thankful we could. We had thought about just doing nothing and then meeting up when our Myrtle Beach trip was rescheduled but decided we really wanted to celebrate life, friendship and family BECAUSE of all that happened to cancel our plans.
Day one we took in the beachfront (Boardwalk Beach). Just enjoying the waves, the sun, the sand and the warmth of the day. Autumn does come to our area slowly but surely. Most of our autumn and winter months is spent lingering between autumn temps and that cold that resides just before snow should be starting. It seldom snows here near the beach and when it does, it lasts a day then the remaining warmth of the sun melts the fluffy white away leaving us with a chill in the air.
But for now the sun was still shining brightly and we still had 80 degree temps! The ocean was beautiful today, very blue and just a little choppy. Some nice waves for beginning surfers. And swimmers who like their swim a little wild.
Naval Aviation Monument Park
“The monument represents the culmination of an eight-year undertaking by NAF’s Hampton Roads Squadron, supported by the City of Virginia Beach. View the six larger-than-life bronze sculptures with action-oriented presentations depicting three historic eras in naval aviation. The Monument graces a plaza encompassing 16,000 square feet at the intersection of 25th Street and Atlantic Avenue, adjacent to the Norwegian Lady monument, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.”
Day two we spent the day just visiting and relaxing. My friends did a 9 hour drive here from Ohio and they needed a sleep in day. Plus being at the beach, playing in the waves and all that sun makes for great sleep!! Later in the day we went to the Virginia Museum Of Contemporary Art for MOCA Nights. It’s a easy going evening filled with cocktails, food trucks, open mic night and free admission to the museum. It’s a beautiful introduction for newcomers into art museums. So we listened to a little poetry, some music filled the air and then took in the sights of the museum. It was a beautiful evening with all the time in the world to explore the art within the museum!!
Day three was back to the beach but this time we went to Sandbridge (my favorite beach in the area)!!! The ocean, the waves, the sand, the sunshine and the mist off the ocean is meditative to me. Whenever I am near the ocean I feel a sense of “home”. It’s always so peaceful yet invigorating. After a day at the beach I feel renewed. The waves were calmer but the suns reflection on the water and sand made for breathtaking views!!
And the wildlife came near to play with us….
Day 4 we decided to take in some more seasonal type entertainment. Halloween was, is right around the corner and most of the scarier haunted type venues were not open yet. But we found something to do that was a fun family scare! Ghost Train at Northwest River Park is where we started the night’s hauntings!
A wagon ride through a dark forest with a few howls, bumps in the night and eerie lighting. With some stops with story telling and a bit of haunted history of the area.
It was family friendly for the most part during the wagon ride. Smaller kids would get a scare I’m sure simply because, well, it’s a wagon ride in the darkly lit forest with some scary sounds and a few noises to catch you off guard. But I would say 13 and up would be ok with this. It was a cool night so it was actually a nice ride through the forest!
After the wagon ride they had a haunted house you could go through. I’m not good with small spaces so i opted out lol. But my friends braved the walk through the “house” and were scared by “the people behind the walls” and bat wielding, chainsaw carrying creepy people in masks. Good scary fun if you like being scared!
After the haunted ghost ride we decided the night was still early and we still had not had dinner. Here in Virginia Beach we have a dinner and a movie type theater, well a couple of them. But we opted for Cinema Cafe and the opening night of Tyler Perry’s, BOO, A Madea Halloween. I LOVE Cinema Cafe! You sit in cozy chairs and can eat dinner, snacks, desert and watch your movie!! It’s kind of the new “drive-in theater” type experience.
It was typical Tyler Perry. It was funny with a lesson attached for the kids to all learn about being good human beings.
And dinner was of course delicious, if not necessarily good for you. Not the type of food you should eat often!
Day 5 we just decided to have an easy going family type day with a little early holiday shopping and venturing to the farmers markets for some tasty fresh local foods. We picked up some produce and a few other items for cooking a healthy dinner since we ate junky the night before. The sun was yet again shining bright and there was a crispness starting in the air telling me that autumn was upon us here in Virginia Beach.
Something special was planned for Day 6. I wanted to go somewhere I had yet to go in the 8 years we’ve lived here in Virginia Beach. Already so much of the area has been explored and enjoyed. And after all, I was the one in the bunch who actually was not going away for vacation. So, across the water we went, over to Hampton Virginia, well actually it’s known as Fort Monroe,Virginia. Fort Monroe was designed by the French military engineer Brigadier General Simon Bernard, Fort Monroe (sometimes called Fortress Monroe) was conceived as an element of the Third System of coastal defenses outlined by Congress in the aftermath of the War of 1812. The old Army fortress is filled with history and rich in storytelling because it’s been around for so long. And to top it off we were going for their annual Ghost Walk Tour!
Fort Monroe’s grounds are gorgeous! Surrounded on three sides by either ocean or bay and the structures made of brick and stone set surrounded by green trees and blue skies made for a picturesque walk in crisp autumn breezes.
They converted the structures into rental units. There is a long waiting list because they are museum quality structures in a beautiful setting. But we are now looking into it!
The grounds are lush and green and well maintained. You can tell that since the military left this site, it’s been well loved by the community and taken care of as a landmark but also as a place of beauty despite also being a place of war.
The actual Ghost Walk was rich with the history of the Fort along with actual ghost stories from past residents and those who lived and worked within the walls of this old place. It was a little spooky, but not really scary. But that was ok because the storytelling was superb and the tour and stories were being told by actual residents and former residents which just added to the experience. We could tell the love these people had for the history of this gorgeous place. They hold it near and dear to them. We will venture back to this area again one day when we have more daylight hours and more time to walk through the Casemat and museum. It is a gem and a huge part of the military heritage of this area.
We ended this day with dinner at T.G.I. Fridays and some great conversation. We knew the trip was winding down and that Day 7 would be spent mostly with packing, a good breakfast and my friends getting on the road back to Ohio with dreams of our next adventure and readying for the reschedule of our Myrtle Beach trip. As always I will miss these crazy loves. But more adventures will be had and for now we had had to say farewell. Now to recover from vacation
Me and my friends would have been leaving for Myrtle Beach tomorrow. A long overdue and much needed getaway. But then Hurricane Mathew hit and well as you can see, that area of Myrtle Beach (Cherry Grove)had a horrendous fire the day the hurricane hit and several buildings caught on fire. The high winds of the hurricane blew debris and burning embers to other structures after what they think was a transformer blowing and one building catching fire.
The people we were renting the time share from said the area was in bad shape. Huge amounts of cleanup, inspections, rebuilding and elimination of safety concerns were going to take quite some time and the area was not open to tourists and guests. At some point the time share (we won the stay for trip at a raffle) would be rescheduled but when. hard to say. Hopefully before the end of the year, if not some time next year.
So many lost so much due to this hurricane.
Rebuilding from Hurricane Matthew to take time in Myrtle Beach
But we all had time off and now nothing to do. So my friends are headed here to spend the week frolicking the beach (yayy we still have beach weather!) and taking in some sights of the season. Not really a vacation for me, but I feel lucky all the same. Like I said, so much loss for so many. In my area we had some major flooding and trees down and a lot of sanitary cleanup is being done. And many trails are still washed, parks flooded and debris cleanup is still ongoing in many neighborhoods.
So it will be a fun time! A little relaxing, a little night life, a little haunting good times! No, it’s not going to be a getaway. But it will be time well spent with great friends and much laughter and tons of memories to be made!!
I will try and take pictures to share with you all here! Have a great weekend everybody!