Here’s something you should know about my (Erin’s) family: we are completely awesome. And for longer than any of my generation has been around, our family has been going down the shore to Seaside Park, NJ, for a week of sun, surf, good food, and great family bonding. At this point, the youngest in attendance is in his early twenties and the oldest, the matriarch of our family, is in her eighties! We all look forward to this week more than any other. Last summer we weren’t in Jersey at all—my cousin’s wedding in Georgia moved our vacation to Tybee Island instead—so we were thrilled to be rekindling our traditions back “home.”
The first thing we do when we arrive on Saturday (after chili dogs at Stewart’s) is take a walk to the ocean to “make sure it’s still there.” The house we’ve rented the last few years is the second one from the beach, the best location we’ve ever had. After that first night, each day follows the same general schedule: wake up as you will, enjoying crumb cake from Park Bakery for breakfast, and either make your way to the bay for crabbing or one by one go up to the beach itself. You wander back to the house for lunch when the time seems right, and you get in the water when the waves are begging to be ridden, but everyone knows to be up at the beach after the lifeguards leave, because that’s when our family happy hour starts. Back to the house for dinner or a trip to the boardwalk, and then we do it all again the next day.
Jason lost no time introducing a new tradition to our beach week, baking fresh cookies for all of us in his first year and every year since. This year, chocolate chip, oatmeal chocolate chip, and oatmeal cranberry. Mmmmm.
On the last night, as we ate pizza and drank wine on the beach in the light of the setting sun, my cousin’s boyfriend went up to Jason and said, “we are so lucky to have found two women with such an awesome family.” How lucky we all are to have each other!