We are not really beach people, preferring the mountains and cool temperatures to sand and heat. But beaches definitely have their merits with the calming cycle and sound of waves. As we traveled the East Coast, we were able to visit several beaches and enjoy the variety of the towns around them – some familiar and some brand-new to us.
In my early childhood, my family annually visited the Jersey Shore where my parents had spent a lot of time and my aunt had a place. I loved visiting there, staying with her and my cousins. My mom still visits the shore every year with her brother. This year, we timed our travels so we could be there during her annual visit and enjoy Jersey Shore time.
The Jersey shore line is a peninsula with a string of beach towns from Ocean City in the north to Cape May in the south. Cape May, where we set up camp, is an adorable town with plenty to do, eat, and drink. It was easy to bicycle around to attend yoga class or pick up some farm fresh tomatoes – Jersey tomatoes are a must try and so sweet! We were also thrilled to have our fellow RVer friends, Theresa and Larry, also visiting Cape May so we got to meet their family and enjoy hanging out at the campfire.
Cape May has lovely old Victorian homes with gardens that are full of delightful surprises. There is a pedestrian area lined with shops and restaurants offering everything from nut butters and jams to olive oils and vinegars. And of course, there is a beach.
Cape May has a tradition of lowering the flag at night with a full ceremony honoring a fallen warrior. It is so touching to hear the story of the soldier and watch his or her family take part in the lowering and folding of the flag as they play Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America.
Leaving Jersey, we headed across the ferry – yes, Big Al can travel by sea – to Delaware where the campground was under a bridge. We walked over to the beach and enjoyed listening to the waves and talking. It was lovely!
Leaving Delaware, we took the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel which seems a oxymoron, to Virginia Beach. It was fascinating to travel over two bridges and through two tunnels. Truly an amazing feat of human skill! And what a trip, first a ferry ride then tunnels with the RV.
Virginia Beach was an unusual beach based on my past experiences where beaches are small towns with cute shops and tourist traps lining boardwalks along the beach. In Virginia Beach, the long concrete walkway was lined with tall hotels and their restaurants overlooking the main beach. There were other beaches, but seemed to be in neighborhoods where parking was limited or banned. Apparently, Virginia Beach is the largest city in North Carolina, which seems odd for a beach city, but might explain the size and atmosphere.
We were fortunate enough to visit during the Neptune Festival which did line the boardwalk with some fun vendors for the weekend. In addition, it kicks off the International Sand Sculpture Championship. It is truly amazing what people can do with sand. The detail and size of the pieces was extraordinary.
Virginia Beach does have some lovely aspects and is also close to several quaint old towns. It also is home to the Edgar Cayce Health Center, a holistic center with an outdoor meditation area and labyrinth.
Labyrinth and Health Center
It was a nice few week of ocean time, but happy to be heading into the mountains.
Footnote: I am writing this post from the cold mountains of Tennessee where fall is in bloom. So funny to be posting about beaches – life on the road where locations can change quickly! More on that in future, though!