It’s been a long time coming. Every week I’ve watched coworkers return with great tales of their summer vacations. Beach trips with their kids. Fishing trips with their friends. They come back happier, calmer, and my God do they come back tanner. This whole summer I’ve spent every day holed up in this tiny little window-less office growing grumpier and paler. So we finally took a trip of our own. The Mister and I loaded up the car, set the cat feeder, and took off for a 5 day trip to Stone Harbor.
Posing with the 99th St. lifeboat.
If you’ve never been, you should correct that immediately. It’s a little quieter than your typical beach town. You don’t have the large boozing college groups stumbling out of night clubs. But there’s certainly never a lack of things to do. Here’s a few thoughts and advice from our trip for anyone planning one of their own.
Fudge Kitchen. Go your first day. Shoot, go there within the first hour even before you check in to your rental. I mean … we did. Sample some fudge on your way in from one of the girls outside. Sample some fudge at the counter once you’re inside. Buy some fudge (we got a half pound of rocky road and vanilla – my personal favorite). Then sample some more fudge on your way out the door from the same girl standing outside. Just do it. There’s no judging at the Fudge Kitchen. Then on your way out of town (just in case someone DOES recognize you from your previous visit and may start to pass judgement) repeat the above process and this time buy an entire pound of vanilla fudge. Put your head down and drive away quickly.
Zebop. Grateful Dead fan? Like tie-dye? Want to buy some incense? Need a new Beatles poster? This is your store. I’ll be honest, I was a little surprised at how popular this store was given the typical Stone Harbor vacationer tends to look like something you see in a Ralph Lauren catalog. This was the moment I hung my head in shame at my last minute decision to leave my Phish tank at home with the excuse that it “wasn’t the right crowd.”
Sunset dinner. Grilled marinated skirt steak with white rice and fresh pico de gallo.
Peace a Pizza. It’s pricey for sure (~$20 for a 16″), but are you really going to skimp with your vacation money and pass up on the opportunity to get delicious gourmet pizza with an abundance of intriguing toppings? No. Our choice? The Battuto – pesto, fennel sausage, plum tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella. Drool.
Hoy’s. Hoy’s is kind of like a crossover between a Wink’s and a Wings. Basically… if you need something, you will find it at Hoy’s. Sure I’m partial to the store because I know the family, but I’ll swear by their store regardless because they deserve it. Clothes, sports gear, puzzles & toys, water guns (which I suppose are arguably toys), hermit crabs, coolers, everything beach-related… shoot they even have stuff for the kitchen in case your rental house is lacking.
Springer’s Ice Cream. There may be a Kohr’s about 3 doors down, but there’s a line outside of Springer’s any given night that goes down the block. It’s just THAT good. My favorite? Butterscotch Brickle. Still have no idea what “the blue one” is. Someone enlighten me if you try it.
Stone Harbor Book Shop. Tucked away in a nook off 96th St., you’ll find this little gem. We frequented this place during our trip merely because I spent the entire rest of the trip on the beach poring over books and building a lovely shade of burned on my back. They’ve got all your bestsellers (yes, even the Fifty Shades series although I recommend just getting that one your kindle so no one knows you’ve actually read it) as well as all the classics and kids books. If you’re looking for some good beach reading, this is your store. We also found a great blown up print of a pier on stretched canvas to hang up somewhere in the house. Commencing much fake beard stroking as I look around our house for the perfect location. Also of note, there’s a woman who works there with a fascination with gingers. If you’re as lucky as myself to be a natural redhead, visit this store to have your ego stroked. I may have done a hair toss or two upon walking out of the store.
The Fountainhead – purchased at the Stone Harbor Book Shop.
Frank’s Theater. It’s a small theater. Only 5 screens inside. But if there’s a rainy night and regular cable TV just isn’t cutting it for you, head on down to 96th to catch a movie. Since Bourne: Legacy had just came out, we thought we’d see it while we were there. Good action movie… not so hot casting or plot, but it gave us something to do.
Wildwood. My final recommendation. If you haven’t been to Wildwood, it’s not exactly like you’re missing out on anything life changing. I do recommend it if you’re looking for a little fun though. Think Jersey Shore (and I meant the TV show so for any of you that are rolling your eyes, yes I’m aware that Wildwood is a shore in Jersey). You’ve got your typical boardwalk with crazy shops offering a variety of piercings, tattoos, Italian ice, and airbrush tanks. But to make it even more ridiculous, you’ve got 3 piers… piers which actually don’t go out over the water which I find both fascinating and confusing, but they’re all huge and host a different part of a series of amusement parks and water parks. I will warn that they are outrageously overpriced and despite my desire to ride a rollercoaster, I couldn’t convince myself to cough up $50 for it. We did drop $5 in an arcade to play a pirate game, some slots, and that weird spinning light thing that always gets you a ton of tickets so that we could walk back to our car with a big bag of tootsie rolls and a few boxes of nerds that I may or may not have spilled down the front of my shirt in a failing attempt to dump in my mouth.
The Mister and I on the beach at Wildwood – you can barely make out the boardwalk and part of a rollercoaster behind us.
My biggest regret is not taking more pictures. I’m still finding it hard when it’s just the Mister and me to remember to take pictures of all the things I want to remember. So many pictures on my camera are taken with my arm stretched out in front of us trying to get the angle right to get both of our faces and the background. If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram (jnlitton), I’m sure you saw a lot of those this week. Sorry I’m not sorry.
But now that we’ve wrapped up our beach vacation and summer is coming to an end, I’m doing a big camera dump tonight to wrap up a bunch of half-finished posts on house progress and hopefully we can start to get a little more caught up on life in Casa Post Grad.