25th Anniversary and Beach Adventures!

We celebrated 25 years of marriage in August 2021.  Our oldest daughter, Areli, with the help of her siblings, planned a surprise party for us. I was amazed by how they planned, cleaned, decorated, made a superb chocolate raspberry cake, arranged for food, and created a fun diversion to keep us out of the house (shopping at TJ Max).

We were so blessed by our friends, family, and neighbors!

Chris and I had planned for a beach getaway for our 25th ,but decided that October would be the best time to go.  The weekend we had chosen months before became the most beautiful weekend of the entire year!  Perfect sunny weather with a nice breeze, not too hot or too cold. 

                It was the best getaway yet!  We had learned the lessons of past vacations.  In Cape May last year we learned to revel in His goodness and enjoy the good life everyday of our lives as in Ps.128.  In Virginia this year, we learned to be alert and awake, for although the enemy is like a lion looking for someone to devour, we will not live in fear for we have overcome the evil one!

This time we were able to stay alert and awake while enjoying the gifts of God in our lives to the fullest!

                Our first stop was Dewey Beach.  The town was small and quiet and there was no boardwalk.

Dewey was my favorite beach of the trip because of the nice, soft sand and the peaceful atmosphere.

We sat down to enjoy the sun and surf and were immediately thrilled by a show of dolphins jumping among the waves.

                We continued to drive and stopped at Delaware Seashore State Park.  We thought we would scout it out for a future camping trip.  This state park was not what we were looking for, being just a large parking lot full of campers.  We didn’t even get out to explore the seashore. Apparently, Delaware charges a day rate to enter their state parks, even though there was no attendant present.

                We drove on to Bethany. 

Bethany was my favorite town: lovely neighborhoods with wooded lots, a beautiful downtown with flowers and shops.

The boardwalk was very short and did not offer a view of the beach.  The beach was lovely. We got into a conversation with a couple who has lived in Bethany for years and they love it!

                We stopped briefly at Fenwick Island State Park.  It was lovely but not that different from the other beaches we had seen that day.  Because Delaware wanted us to pay to be there, we continued on to our destination, Ocean City, MD.

                We had rented a condo on the bay side of North Ocean City.  We were right up to the water, and it was quiet and peaceful.  We enjoyed our supper out on the balcony and watched the sun set.

                We got up early and relished the sunrise on the beach. I really like the beach at Ocean City, MD. It is so wide and so long. In the off season there is plenty of room to spread out. 

                The city is packed full of high rises and every square inch seems to be developed for making money from tourists.  I am sure it is a zoo in the summer with driving and parking being an issue. That would explain why the major stores repeat themselves every few blocks, most visitors wanting to walk from their rental to the beach. In October we had no issues and enjoyed the large city.

We spent many relaxing and rejuvenating hours on the beach. I had been looking forward to basking in the sun while reading a good book for months! Chris did suffer from boredom after a while and wished that the boys had come with us, so he had someone to throw football with.

                We spent many hours shopping for souvenirs, one for each child. I was sad when we exited no-sales-tax Delaware but was pleased to find that Maryland had cheaper prices.  And if we couldn’t find the perfect clearance t-shirt in size 8 and XL, we just had to drive a few blocks to the next shop. 

                We walked most of the boardwalk.  I loved seeing the display put on by a kite club.  I loved the playgrounds and the older buildings with history.  Again, the shops seemed to repeat themselves every few blocks.  All the restaurants were bars or grills, reinforcing the fact that this is NOT a dry town.  It is not a quiet town either.  Many shops would be blaring loud music, competing with music from another shop farther down, competing with live music from the Sun Fest at the end of the boardwalk.  It still was lovely!

                On our way home we stopped at Rehoboth.  It was a very beautiful town with charming rental homes in abundance. It wasn’t as small and quaint as Bethany but had much more of a small-town feel than Ocean City.  The boardwalk looked much classier. The beach was beautiful, and I walked up and down, looking for shells and enjoying the sun. I had to leave Chris sitting in a small, shaded gazebo because his feet and ankles had gotten as red as a lobster.  I couldn’t stay very long without him. 

Just as we were about to leave, I remembered the high socks I had in my suitcase. Chris put them on with his sandals, so he could walk the next beach with me.  Very Sexy! I was excited to check out Broadkill Beach which was highly recommended.  Once we got there it was clear that the only beach access was through renting a home on the beach.  We continued until we reached Beach Plum Island State Park.  It is on a huge Nature Reserve and rather secluded.  As soon as I got out of the car, I got a painful fly bite.  The flies continued to munch on me as we trudged to the beach and sat down to have a picnic lunch.  The beach was littered with trash and debris, the sand hard and grayish. 

Beach Plum Island won the prize for the ugliest beach of the trip! 

It was on the bay so the waves were gentle, but I missed the sound of the ocean waves.  I could look to my left and see Broadkill Beach, perfect for children because of the small waves and privacy.  I wondered if the flies were as bad there and decided that it would not be on my list to visit next time.  Those vicious flies finally drove me to finish my lunch in the car as we made our way back home.

                It had been a wonderful adventure together, and we were in awe of God’s goodness.

                Just two weeks later the forecast was calling for an 80-degree day. Wouldn’t it be fun to take the children to the beach?  My original plan was to just take my homeschoolers.  All the other children wanted to come, so they were able to take an educational trip and miss school. Chris couldn’t be left out so he took off work. 

My three oldest had to work, but the rest of us were really going to do it!  Take a day trip to the beach! 

We had only ever attempted that once in the past, back in 2008 when we were visiting family in Florida.  Much packing, preparation, and driving had led to 20 minutes on the beach. Quickly a thunderstorm blew in with torrents of rain and lighting.  We ended up back in the van, soaked through and covered with sand.

                This time we decided on Ocean City, NJ and listened to Lamplighter Theater all the way to 5th street.  We found free parking in the lot there and were able to enter the boardwalk at 6th street where there were large public restrooms. 

                This beach was very different from the others: narrower and the sand was darker grey and not very fluffy. So many shells!  Most were broken but still fun to look through.  The older children made straight for the waves and enjoyed themselves in the water.  The sand on the bottom was covered with broken shells that hurt their feet.  The younger ones began by building in the sand but ended up in the water as well. 

                The boardwalk was very nice: family friendly without any alcohol at all.  We explored a fudge and taffy shop before we headed back to the parking lot for a long ride home and more audiobooks.  The younger children had sand everywhere, even after spraying off and wiping down.  We gave showers at 10pm and all went to bed happy. 

                God’s goodness was hunting us down again! Chris was able to play football on the beach with his boys, and we all captured a bit of summer in the middle of October!

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