19 September 2015
For people who haven't spent time in the northeast US, especially in the New York metropolitan area, all the travelling and touring we're doing may seem daunting. It really isn't. So, here's a map.
We flew into Newark, NJ, which is about 2 hours from Richard's brother's house. This brother's wife teaches in Atlantic City, about half an hour away. Philadelphia, where the brother used to work, is about 60-90 minutes away, depending on traffic. (No one in New Jersey lives in a non-urban setting. At least, that's according to the statistics I read. Everyone lives in a town or city.)
We went out to Lancaster, PA, which is about 2 hours west of Philadelphia - so maybe a 3.5 hour trip, 4 hours on the rainy day we made this trek.
Next week, we'll head to New York City, which is the huge orange-y splotch - and yes, NYC is south of some areas in New Jersey. So you can see how easy it is to get around - as in mirrors, things are closer than they appear.
Anyway, Richard and I caught a ride to Atlantic City one afternoon. There's a boardwalk along the beach, it was a beautiful sunny day, and we enjoyed the time walking around and people watching. This is shoulder season, between summer tourists and winter tourists, so there weren't crowds. But also, the economy hasn't recovered in Atlantic City - an industry based on disposable income and tourism obviously isn't going to increase until the economy elsewhere shows a surplus. So while it's pretty and interesting and scenic, it's also a little sad, with some casinos that have failed, high unemployment, foreclosed homes, all that.
Richard did a bit better at the casino than I did, it took me a while to find a friendly machine. Once I found the Whispering Wizard (or something like that) I recouped my losses and had fun. And apparently amused new people with my technique of hugging the machine when it gives me a big win, or a free game, or whatever.
Anyway, it was a nice way to spend our Hurricane Marilyn anniversary.
That was Tuesday. On Wednesday, we drove in to Philadelphia to visit two sets of cousins, and have lunch at a diner. This particular diner is sentimental, because Richard's father always enjoyed eating at this place. So Richard and I always visit the cemetery and then have breakfast/brunch in Mo's memory.
Philadelphia is scenic, and it was a gorgeous bright day. The city is preparing for the Pope's visit next week, and people are all excited. (We'll actually overlap with the Pope in NYC, but we don't plan to meet up. Or have an audience. Or whatever. Though if he calls, of course we'll say hi.)
Friday, we drove down to Cape May. New Jersey is sort of sandy and marshy, with barrier islands along the coast, and all kinds of bays and inland waterways. Cape May is the point or peninsula or cape at the very southern end of NJ, between the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay.
There are pretty beaches in the area, and we visited one. The Atlantic Ocean is fairly cold, and, well, not the clear aqua water we've enjoyed in the South Pacific. Way too cold for me to swim in, but okay for dipping toes while walking on the beach.
And then, big excitement! Dolphins! A pod of maybe 5 to 8 dolphins went swimming and splashing by, close enough to see their fins and backs as the surfaced and splashed each other! So thrilling, dolphins always look so happy and cheerful and playful. There's no way to be sad while watching dolphins!
Cape May is also the town, which is full of gorgeous Victorian houses covered in gingerbread moulding and featuring all kinds of turrets and towers and sprawling verandas. Plus tons of shopping, wonderful cafés and restaurants. With a great fountain featuring sea shells - not real shells, just the shape of shells. So we browsed, we ate, we chatted, we hung out.
We've been having a great time exploring south Jersey, and have a few days left before heading up for city time.