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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Boardwalk neon (and more).

Boardwalk at night.

Gonna squeeze in a blog update while I'm packing for our weekend trip to Girl Scout camp to go horseback riding. I'll be glad when it's over so I can stop obsessing about what to pack. I think I've now assembled the perfect mess kit, and I have three different types of flashlights/lanterns.

Boardwalk aquarium.

Speaking of lights, there are a lot of cool ones to see on the boardwalk at night.

Mack's sign.

Here it is again, the best pizza on earth - Mack's!

Mack's Pizza.

No more Mack's? Saddest sign ever!


There's even a cute sign on the back of the shrimp shop!

Morey's Piers.

Ooo...let's check out one of the three amusement piers.

Balloon ride.

The famous Balloon Ride.

Ferris wheel at night.

And the famous Ferris wheel. In hindsight, I wish we would have tried to win one of those cool squid hats.

Pac-man claw machine plushies.

Speaking of winning, I'm ashamed to say how much money we must have spent trying to win toys out of crane machines. The ones in the Wildwood arcades were cleverly rigged so that you would almost win a prize each time. So of course, you had to keep trying because you were thisclose to winning. I did win one of the awesome stuffed Pac-man (men).

Ferris wheel and Bavarian swing.

Gotta have a Bavarian Swing.

Best teacup ride ever.

This has got to be hands down, the coolest tea cup ride on earth.

 Wild Lauren.

The following don't count as night photos, but I don't know where else to put them. They were taken at dusk, so I guess that sort of counts. In front of the Wildwood Convention Center at the beginning of the boardwalk they have a giant "Wildwoods" sign with huge beach balls that you can climb and stand on. Photo op, of course.

Me and Lauren.

While we were on vacation, Lauren was actually fairly cooperative about getting her photo taken, which made me happy.

The whole sign.

Then, I handed the camera to Lauren so that we could get a photo of Mark and me. This is what I got.

Me and Mark.

I politely directed her to move in a little closer.

 Holding on to my hat.

By the way, it was super windy while we were there, so a hat was a must. In fact, it was so windy, that I had to hold on to my hat much of the time to keep it from flying off!

I still have some random photos left to post from the trip, but those will have to wait until we get back from camping. Here's also hoping that I return from camp with some fun horseback riding pics too!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Boardwalk of Fame and Happiness.

Wildwood bench.

I'm just crazy about boardwalk culture. The shops, the food, the arcades - I love it all.

 Silly t-shirts.

Graphic t-shirts.

Italian stallion.

You only have to look as far as the t-shirt shops to know the latest in pop culture.

 Wooden roller coaster covered in fog.

On Monday morning, a really thick fog rolled in from the ocean. You could barely see the amusement piers.

Lauren posing in the hand chair.

Lauren was fascinated by these hand chairs. I was relieved that she was not interested in getting a henna tattoo.


My favorite sign on the boardwalk. That has to be the most adorable shrimp I've ever seen.

Lauren at the James's candy store.

In Wildwood and Atlantic City, you go to James's to get your salt water taffy.

James' taffy.

The store had an old fashioned charm, but I still prefer Shriver's in Ocean City.

Taffy bins.

I think I missed watching the people make the taffy at the back of the store. Maybe that was it.

Godfather car.

You're pretty much guaranteed to see interesting things around the boardwalk. Like this car, for example. According to the proudly displayed sign in the rear windshield, it was used during the filming of The Godfather. Ooo...

Lauren and me in the surrey.

And what better way to travel the boardwalk than in a surrey? We took a surrey ride last year at Ocean City, but I didn't get a chance to take a photo. I was sure to do so this year! Speaking of interesting sights, as we were pedaling along one the morning, two Jersey boys got into a fist fight in front of our surrey. I just told Mark to pedal faster.

Pirate Glo Golf.

We also played glow-in-the-dark pirate mini golf. It was only $5 per person, and the design was really impressive.

The Kraken mural at Pirate Glo Golf.

Release the Kraken!

The sign says it all.

I still have a lot of photos to share of the boardwalk at night, but since this is getting rather long, I'll just save them for the next entry!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pool side at the Port Royal.

Have goggles, will swim.

Before we move forward, I can't believe I forgot to post the photo of Wet Dog the pirate taking a nap on Mark's shoulder:

Wet Dog cozies up to Mark.

There now, that's better. 

View from our balcony.

We stayed in the area of town known as Wildwood Crest. It's a little quieter than Wildwood proper, and the surrounding area looks more residential and groomed. This was the view from our balcony at the Port Royal Hotel. I'm willing to bet that there isn't a better place to stay at the Jersey shore. It was clean and modern, and had a very nice, reasonably priced family style restaurant in the lobby, where you could enjoy an ocean view while you dined. As you can see from the photo, there's a large park right next door. What you might not be able to see is how WIDE the beach is. While the Port Royal is right on the beach, it's quite a walk to get to the ocean.

 Playing in the waves at sunset.

Nevertheless, we made the trek a few times so that Lauren could pursue her favorite pastime...

 Looking for shells.

...looking for shells.

 Have a seat.

Another great feature of the hotel was the pool area.

Nautical flags.

 Kiddie pool.

It had a large kiddie pool.

 Because Flickr needs just one more "NO DIVING" photo.

And a large big kid pool too.

Girl with goggles.

Lauren really enjoyed both of them.

 Guy with shades.

Mark...not so much. Next, we'll head up to the boardwalk and see what kind of trouble we can get into there.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Raise the Jolly Roger.

Raise the Jolly Roger!

Now that life has settled back into normalcy, I guess it's about time that I blog about this year's vacation. June has been quite a challenging month for us. We already covered Lauren's accident. While that was going on, Mark was suffering from painful ulcers in the back of his mouth that made eating pretty difficult. Then our vacation to Wildwood, New Jersey turned out to be less than stellar.

To summarize, when we arrived on Sunday, the weather was gorgeous. We did get to swim on Monday, but on Tuesday it poured the majority of the day. On top of that, we got a parking ticket even though we were no more than 5 minutes late getting back to the meter! On Wednesday, we traveled back into PA so that we could spend some time in the Brandywine Valley area. We spent a nice day at Winterthur, which is a huge mansion and its surrounding grounds and gardens. As we were leaving, I felt a little off. We decided to just spend the evening in the hotel room. As the night wore on, I felt more and more nauseous. The next day, we hurried home as fast as we could (4.5 - 5 hour drive) with me struggling with my nausea the whole way. By Friday, what ever bug I picked up moved on to my intestines, but I will spare everyone the gory details of what symptoms resulted from that. So I ended up spending half of my time off sick and miserable. Shortly after that passed, I developed a cough and have been dealing with that all week. How a gastrointestinal illness can turn into an upper respiratory illness is beyond me, but that's the kind of luck we've been having lately.

In spite of all this, I'm going to try my best to focus on the good things we got to see and do. This will take a few separate posts because there is a lot to cover!

 The Dark Star - Port

This post is going to be about the pirate cruise that we took as soon as we arrived. It's run by Dark Star Pirate Cruises out of Wildwood Crest, and while it's something that we wouldn't normally spend money on, we found it to be well worth it. The crew puts on an extremely fun show, and let's face it, how many people can say that they've sailed on a bonafide pirate ship?

 Getting her pirate tattoo.

Here's Lauren getting "tattooed" before boarding.

 Lauren's pirate tat.

The finished product.

 Signing the manifest.

The pirates begin interacting with you as soon as you arrive. This is Wet Dog helping Lauren sign the ship's manifest. He's pretty much the star of the show, as most of the high seas high jinx revolve around him.

Me waiting to depart.

Here I am waiting for us to disembark.


Wait a second - are those swords? And a cat o'nine tails? What kinda outfit are they running here?

Telling pirate tales.

The cruise begins with introductions and some silly background on the Dark Star crew.

The captain addressing the crew.

Then Captain Malloy addresses the new swabbies. 
Wet Dog breaks into song.

And of course there were pirate songs (Take a listen here!). If you look closely, you can see the ship's "canons" hanging off the port side. These actually squirt water. During the cruise, a rival group of pirates on a speedboat come by and squirt the ship with hoses. The crew of the Dark Star (including the guests) has to man the canons and defend their ship.

After the rival pirates are scared away, a real treasure chest was pulled out of the water, and all the kids got a "gem" for a souvenir. At the end, Captain Malloy rewarded everyone for their hard work by passing out the pirate grog which tasted awfully like root beer (I had to drink it, because Lauren didn't want it).

So if you're ever in the Wildwood area, don't be a landlubber and take a sail on the Dark Star. I highly recommend it!