Back At Ya’ New Jersey

Posted September 21, 2021 – Narrated by Carmen
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The LIB Eastern Seaboard Tour ended with our first-ever stop in Delaware and our second visit to New Jersey. In 2019, we only explored a few blocks of Jersey City, in our campground across the Hudson from Manhattan.

So, even though we felt Summer 2021 was our first real visit to New Jersey, this was technically our second. We were relieved to see for ourselves that South Jersey is nothing like Jersey City, where a turtle’s safe crossing on I-78 would require National Guard assistance.

We arrived in Delaware in late Spring with four weeks remaining before we had to turn west.

Thus began our long good-bye to the Atlantic ocean – the beaches, breweries, the fresh seafood. After three weeks of farewelling The Eastern Seaboard, it seemed like way too much work to hitch up. How could we leave all this?

By early-birding the most popular shorelines from Florida to New Jersey – entering each town in pre-season while the locals are rolling up sleeves, preparing for the floodgates to open – we dodged crowds, enjoyed low traffic conditions, and stayed healthy. We also experienced well-groomed beaches and spit-polished historic resort towns.

It’s like being the first in line for Disneyland. Shoulder season has always been our good-luck charm and it paid off beautifully this year. Even with the unusual cold, windy and rainy winter conditions in North Florida, we would repeat this strategy.

Inconsistent weather only presented mild challenges.

From Pensacola to Saint Augustine, Jekyll Island, Charleston, Okracoke, Assateague, Delaware and New Jersey – the weather was comparable: Sublime sunny beach days dovetailed with cold, blustery wet days. The old rule, “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute and it will change,” applied throughout our northward migration up the coast.

Avoiding heavy crowds, traffic, and hurricane evacuations made sense because as retired people we don’t have to do that anymore. Sure, some of the tourist shops, ice-cream parlors and kiddie rides are not open until after Memorial Day, but the best restaurants with outdoor dining welcome guests year-round. So, waits and reservations were not necessary. Even in Cape May we were seated immediately at the best outdoor tables during peak dining hours.

Delaware Seashore State Park

We stayed two places in Delaware. Our first ten days were at Delaware Seashore State Park.

And, thanks to the excellent recommendation of some friendly campers we met at Assateague, Jim snagged a last minute site at beautiful Cape Henlopen State Park near Rehoboth Beach where we enjoyed a four-day stay.

We love State parks. They usually boast larger sites and feature developed bike trails into town, and many state parks support surprisingly good restaurants on the grounds.

Because state parks have an interest in local business, we can ride our Dolphin eBikes or take an evening stroll to outdoor eateries specializing in fresh local cuisine. Often, the benefits of camping in state parks is substantial. There’s no need to stock up on provisions, and we have more time to play. All good!

Delaware Seashore is only 35 miles from Assateague Island beside the spectacular Indian River Inlet Bridge in the lovely town of Bethany Beach. There we spent quiet days walking along the seashore …

watching fishermen …

and taking in the beautiful bridge view at night.

Many fine restaurants are nearby and we always found what we craved at Matt’s Fish Camp, about a mile from the park.

The giant onion rings at Matt’s served as a motivator to get moving. On Mother’s Day, I paddled the bay and observed seabirds as they tended to their nests.

Cape Henlopen State Park

Then, we moved about ten miles north to Cape Henlopen State Park in the LewesRehoboth Beach area.

Some highlights in Lewes and Rehoboth included bike trails, the cool board walk

the towers

historic sites …

outlet stores …

and the local beer, roasted coffee, and outstanding eats.

Thank you, Delaware!

New Jersey

We could have taken the two-hour Cape May-Lewes Ferry at a cost of $80. But after four weeks of The Beast just sitting around serving as our garage, we decided to take the 151 mile scenic drive to …

Cape May, New Jersey.

Cape May, America’s original seaside resort, has many first-class RV parks and campgrounds. With a goal to stay in every Airstream park in North America, we reserved ahead for the tranquil and botanically bodacious Jersey Shore Haven Land Yacht Harbor for a whopping seventeen-day stay.

The lay-back vibe caught us off-guard. We had planned to break into our summer reading list in South Jersey, but this …

this felt like Hawaii. Flowery shaded streets and warm sandy beaches

spectacular kayaking …

perfectly (windows open) cool nights; fragrant and dewy lilac mornings; balmy afternoons; and the occasional thunder shower with tree frog serenades.

These liquid sunshine conditions severely lowered our nap-resistance. Reading could wait. Yeah, we’ll read next summer. Promise … snore.

We’re not nappers. We might take five or six naps a year and wake up feeling groggy and remorseful and swear off napping forever.

But in Cape May our powers of resistance met their match.

Maybe the long sunlight hours caught up with us. It was probably just a bout of spring-fever – nature’s environmental plan to allow the animals to bear their young with less human interference. Or, could South Jersey be some kind of alien-induced siesta vortex.

Anyway, our serotonin levels succumbed.

Cape May, listed in the national registry of historic places, is the oldest beach resort in America. Since 1816, this town has served as a beacon of rest for hard-working patriots. That makes relaxing here a kind of public service, right?

So we considered it our duty to give in to the free open chair snooze …

and explored the health benefits of the afternoon stroll with a power nap chaser.

With longer daylight hours, we still had plenty of time to enjoy the bike trails …

and breweries …

and restaurants …

and to gorge our eyes on the shameless display of Cape May Victorians.

Cape May made a festive finish line for the LIB Atlantic Coast Tour Extravaganza.

We love all types of architecture, but we reserve a soft spot for Victorians, and Cape May knows how to strut those vintage beauties. We spent hours strolling block after block researching houses, history, peering through the gingerbread tunnels …

and watching the delicate work of house elevations along the ocean front to mitigate flooding from sea-level rise.

The spruced up porches, furnished to the last detail for optimal napping, all seemed to say, “Me. Pick me.”

“Pick a favorite,” I said to Jim.

“That’s a tough one,” he responded.

“Fair enough,” I yawned. “Let’s go home and sleep on it.”

“Deal.”

If you want to see our exact route, click here.

*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.


55 thoughts on “Back At Ya’ New Jersey

    1. Hey Carl! I hope you are having a fabulous day wherever you are. Heading south? Or do you snow ski? Hopefully, the road will land us in the same place again someday.

      I still miss Ocracoke …

      Safe and Happy Travels,

      Carmen@LIB

  1. My husband, Ken, and I are buying an AS Classic and “beast-like” truck next summer, selling our home, and hitting the road as digital nomads (official retirement in 2026). We really enjoy your blogs as we head toward a radical downsizing and a new life stage as Airstreamers!

    1. Hey Carol!

      Congratulations as you prepare for your exciting new life stage. You made the right decision to go with The Classic – it has all the features and space we need or want. We meet so many full-timers who wish they had something smaller or bigger. The Classic is the “just right” trailer for two full-timing adults.

      Yippeeee!!! I am so excited for you two!

      Best wishes for a smooth year as you downsize into your new home on wheels!

      And, please, stay in touch.

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  2. I’m delighted that you enjoyed Cape May, which holds a special place in my heart. Pre-pandemic and prior to owning an RV, I rented a house in North Cape for a week each summer. It was the only time each year that my extended family would be able to spend more than a weekend together. What great memories I have!

    1. Hey Kathy,

      Cape May is a wonderful place to just relax and be with family, and a smart solution for a big family reunion – to rent one of those big houses with a wrap around porch and yard … the beach within walking distance … Wow! That’s on our bucket list. From what I understand many of the houses are rented years in advance and the Cape May Chamber of Commerce arranges house rentals in the historic area – but I saw many signs posted to contact the owners as well.

      Thank you, Kathy, for sharing happy memories of Cape May with your family!

      Safe and Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

      1. We actually rented a house in North Cape May on the Delaware Bay. The rental prices are more reasonable and we had the best of both worlds…10 minute drive to Cape May and also all the joys of a beautiful beach with lots of walking, swimming, and biking and a bit of paddling and stand up paddle board (very dependent on the currents, wind and jellyfish). Using a SUP where there were small waves plus jellyfish surrounding me added a new dimension . Ha! I paddled very quickly back to shore!

        1. Thanks, Kathy, for the tip about North Cape May on the Delaware Bay.

          Yikes! We didn’t see any jellyfish but saw many dolphins feeding along the shoreline – especially in Delaware.

          Carmen@LIB

    1. Hey Marcia!

      How about when we’re in Albuquerque (thanks to your wonderful hospitality) you take them out for a spin? There are so many e-bikes and we’re always staying on top of new models, but after having the Dolphins for a year, we feel they’re the best e-bikes for our lifestyle – compact, practical, affordable and efficient. Yesterday, we took them on a 16-mile ride to Des Moines. Iowa has the most incredible network of cycling trails we’ve ever seen. Who knew?!

      Safe and Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

      1. Thanks! That would be a great. Yes, Iowa-Nebraska, etc. have great Rails to Trails areas. You’ll not run out of great trails here either. Have fun exploring!

    1. Hey Michele!

      Wishing you warm sand and seashore before Autumn sets in. We’re in the midwest right now and the changes are already here.

      Safe and Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  3. I love all the things you do! I live in Ohio and want a beautiful retirement with an airstream and a wonderful active life just like yours! Your links are so helpful to me! I am 42, raising two boys (10,12 )and still a long way off, but your blog is making me find ways to retire early! Our family, we are tent campers now, and LOVE it. I sleep best in a tent. But I already know at retirement, I long for longer times to camp, more distance, refrigeration! We just love to ski-XC or downhill—I need an airstream that can somehow winter camp. Is this a thing? Any advice?

    1. Hello Kelly!

      As a tent camper you will have no trouble transitioning to an RV. Planning the adventure is an adventure in itself so you have already begun. I remember those days … the journaling, research and dreaming. The gestation of your dream is a truly magical part of the journey. And this is the only part of the journey that you can never return to for a repeat visit, so take your time and enjoy it!

      I always thought that I sleep best in a tent until I slept in an Airstream. And in wind and rain, whoa … It’s a bit like sleeping on a porch, but even better. And of course the refrigerator/freezer. Making ice off-grid with solar still amazes me.

      We avoid extreme cold, but we know skiers who take their Airstream trailers into the mountains for ski vacations. Our friend, Jihong Tang (The Snow Leopard) is a highly experienced Airstreamer and downhill skier. She shares how she outfits her Airstream for extreme cold conditions on Facebook. I haven’t researched it, but I’ll bet there is a cold weather RV group on Facebook too. So, yes, it is a thing, Airstreaming in the snow. When winter arrives check out Airstream Addicts on Facebook for the icy Airstream photos. Those are the cool kids.

      So wonderful to have you with us, Kelly!

      Safe and Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. Hey Anne!

      For us, the slow crawl is the only way to go. We get there, eventually. Slow travel didn’t come naturally, we had to learn. But like slow-cooking the reward is a rich experience that is worth the wait.

      Thank you for joining the ride!

      Safe and Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  4. So much pleasure packed in one post – food, drink, activities, beaches. colors, and … naps. 🙂 I had no idea Cape May was this pretty and colorful. You make every destination look incredible in your blog posts; your photography is stunning. Now I want to go to the Jersey and Delaware shores! 🙂

    1. Hey Liesbet!

      We would love to meet up with you there – or anywhere – sometime. You have such a love for travel and the outdoors and I think there is much that we can learn from you. You know, your book was among the selections that was sidelined, but Jim finally got into and is almost through it and he’s enjoying it quite a lot. Adventure non-fiction is our favorite genre. I’m looking forward to getting into it.

      Safe and Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. Hey Dean! If not for our followers telling us where to go 😉 we would not have known about Cape May. You’re welcome.

      Safe and Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. Hey Christina!

      Traveling up the Eastern Seaboard was the most relaxing winter/spring we’ve ever had. The Barrier Islands are magnificent – and be sure to stay a while in Ocracoke.

      Best to you and Ben!

      Safe and Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. It is a pleasure to have you on board, Barbara. Thank you for being with us.

      Safe and Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  5. So much good stuff all wrapped up in one post! New Jersey gets such a bad rap because what most people see from the highway are the cruddy parts, but Cape May really is beautiful. We haven’t visited ourselves, but it’s always been on our list. The Victorians are lovely and you highlighted the town and beach so well. The Delaware shore, too, is so much fun. All the food and breweries one could possibly desire. Love it! Glad you did too!

    1. Yes, Laura. This area is such a great find.

      My California impression of New Jersey and Delaware has certainly changed. What a wonderful place for a wholesome, affordable and educational spring/summer beach vacation. The air is so clean and fragrant – the beaches, uncrowded. The restaurants and breweries are so affordable – especially for an area dependent on tourism. It’s a long, long way from San Diego, but we hope there will be a return visit someday.

      Hey, we just came back from The Yoop and Door County, WI where we had the challenge of dealing with no cell signal for weeks, so we are behind with your wonderful blog. I’m looking forward to breaking into it this week.

      Hugs to Thor and safe and happy travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. Hey David!

      So great to hear from you!

      We did not get into the Balloon Fest, but we will be there thanks to Marcia Nash Ludden on Airstream Addicts who offered her driveway a couple of miles away from the event. We will cycle in from her house.

      Can’t wait to see our friends from the land of Moose! Your photos are so wonderful!!

      Safe and Happy Travels to Albuquerque!

      Carmen@LIB

  6. Thanks for sharing. I love the area. I love the beach. Great places to camp. I am from Pennsylvania so it is not too far us.

    1. Hey Lori!

      You’re lucky to be so close to Delaware and Cape May. We recently visited Shenandoah and Kentuck Knob – all places near you. What a gorgeous country! When we think we’ve seen the most beautiful place, another one appears. Life is good!

      Thank you so much for being with us, Lori.

      Safe and Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. LisaAnne, we are sorry we missed you, too. Please reach out by email if you ever notice we are heading in your general direction. We travel slowly – about 150 miles every 1-2 weeks – so there is usually plenty of time to plan a meet-up. Currently, the blog is at least 2 months behind, but we are hoping to catch by the first of the year.

      We love South Jersey!!!

      Safe and Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  7. Oh, how I love COLOR!! Thank you our Friends for all the beautiful pictures! I may be a little jealous of this post!❤ We love you both and would love to meet up in San Diego(ish) when you’re coming home!! Hugs and traveling-mercy prayers!!❤

    1. Margie!!!

      We are currently heading west. We miss you two so much! There will be plenty of time to catch up! Let’s make plans!

      xoxo,

      Carmen

  8. Enjoyed this post. Being from the DC area, Sue and I have spent quite a bit of time at these shore locations, dating back to even before we were married. Lovely area. Did you check out the remains of the WWII pillbox fortifications at Cape Henlopen? A long long time ago Sue and I used to be members of a group beach house at Dewey Beach which is in-between Bethany and Rehoboth. An early anniversary for us was spent at a B&B in Cape May. Anyway, had a question. In one of your pictures it looks like Pico is in some sort of pet carrier while you are at a restaurant. Do you mind sharing what product this is? I’m wondering if this will work for our doggie. We are able to take her to places that have outdoor seating sometimes, but wondering if your approach with a carrier works better. Happy Birthday to Jim by the way!

  9. Hey Steve! Great to hear from you. We’re at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque – our first time – whoa! So exhilarating and other-worldly. Love it!

    So that’s what those tunnel looking things were about …! We figured it was some kind of abandoned military infrastructure:

    https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/bunkers-of-cape-henlopen-state-park

    Here’s the link to our lightweight, soft and collapsable pet-carrier:

    https://livinginbeauty.net/product/pet-carrier/

    We love the thing. We bought the first one for NYC to make him feel safer on the subway – and wondered why we waited so long to get one. He’s in it everyday and he loves it – even prefers it. We normally keep it between our seats in the truck and use it for picnics, restaurants breweries, concerts … We call it his “condo.” This morning we went out for Jim’s birthday breakfast and set the carrier on a patio chair so Pico could be “at the table” with us. This is our second carrier. The first one was torn up by a raccoon. We left the carrier outside on a chair with a bag of treats tucked into the pocket … Oh well, the newer model is improved with more fold outs. Your pup may need a bit of extra padding. To keep Pico warm at outdoor breweries we throw a down sports blanket inside. It’s his happy place.

    Jim sends thanks for your thoughtful birthday greeting. Happy Anniversary to you and Sue.

    Safe and Happy Travels!

    Carmen@LIB

    1. Thanks! Keep your eye out for Pat and Babs Cahalan at the balloon fest. You may have met them at Alumapalooza as well.

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