Monday, July 17, 2017

East Coast Trip 2017: New Jersey


Being from New Jersey I can NEVER get enough of it. We usually spend a couple weeks on the East Coast every summer, visiting family and friends and soaking up a bit of time in our old stomping grounds, and we always, always have to spend at least a week on the Jersey Shore. There are so many misconceptions about New Jersey thanks to flying into Newark (not so pretty), or Jersey Shore the television series. But let me tell you, it ain't called the Garden State for nothing! It's absolutely beautiful, from its lush forests to sandy beaches, and any time spent there is a little slice of heaven for my family and me. I was born and raised in Jackson, NJ until we moved to Arizona when I was in junior high, so most of my childhood memories take place in New Jersey and it's a really special place to me, and now for Hank and the kiddos too, which I love.

For this first leg of our East Coast Summer trip we stayed at our favorite little spot tucked away next to Island Beach State Park- Island Beach Motor Lodge. It's our spot that we've been going for over a decade, and it's super affordable and the most insane location. Be warned though that it's completely unfancy, no frills, etc. But it's perfect for us and we love it! It's family owned and just the coolest little spot. We always stay in the ocean view suite, which has more than enough room for our family of five. My parents rent the one next to us, and it's perfect. You literally walk right out onto the sand!

The focus of this trip (like every trip) was all being together, but particularly special this time around. If you've been following along you may know that my Dad is dealing with cancer so every moment we have together is precious. I might talk more about it at a later time, but as you can see in the photos below he was feeling SO good and we truly had the best time. I'm getting a little emotional even typing that out, because the trip was really everything we had hoped for and I will ALWAYS cherish all of the special things we got to do together and the little pockets of time spent with my Dad in our favorite place. I'm really grateful.

Everyday we spent right there on the beach. The hotel has a private beach right in front, so it's always super empty and very quiet. We'd set up our beach tent, I'd bring the Dockatot down (the travel bag really came in handy), and we'd all hang out, I'd nurse Olive, and she'd nap right there all day. It was pretty amazing. We also got to spend time with my childhood best friend Corin, her kiddos, and her Dad (my Uncle John), my parents' got to have a night out with old friends, we did the boardwalk one night, and of course ate a ton of really delicious food. So much fun.

Another thing I wanted to mention is the logistics of how we do the trip. So we fly from Phoenix to Newark typically, then rent a car and do our road trips from there. Two summers ago we were gone for almost 6 weeks and it was so much fun. Lauren and Lucy are always with us too, but this trip Lauren was finishing up nursing school so they stayed behind. But this time we did two weeks and it was a good time frame for Olive's first big trip. This year Budget also graciously provided a car for us and we chose a...minivan! We have SUVs at home so this was a big change for us and the boys were SO excited to have their very own van for a couple of weeks. Thanks to a super delayed flight we arrived well past midnight into Newark, but our check in experience at the Budget counter was seamless as usual and we were literally on our way in 20 minutes. Best car rental agency ever.

Next I'll be sharing our time in upstate NY, but today here are the photos from our week at the shore- enjoy! Oh, and if you saw my last blog post you'd know I have a LOT of posts coming up. One of the big ones on my list is sharing how I pack for a our fam in just three suitcases! ;) And sharing a bunch of tips we've learned along the way for traveling with kids.

Here are some random details too:

Suitcases- c/o Away (the hype is real, you guys! I'll share more later but these are really that great.)
Olive's bows: Baby Bling
Dockatot and Dockatot Travel bag (c/o)
Charlie's Skip Hop suitcase- (c/o)
Charlie's travel marker set
Henry's travel twistable marker set
Olive's swimsuit
My swimsuit
Bebe au Lait popsicle blanket (c/o)
My black and white gingham dress
My white slide sandals

I think that's it, but if you're curious about anything let me know in the comments and I'll get right back to you!

xo

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