Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Wildwood, New Jersey ~ Seashore Vacation

Brief history of Wildwood, NJ

We returned from our annual 2 weeks vacation to the Wildwood, NJ seashore late Sunday evening. Wildwood has become something of a tradition for the Bailey family.
My husband's father had an aunt who owned a cottage on the bay right before the Rio Grande bridge in the early 1900's. His father's family drove to Wildwood from Pennsylvania every summer before there were turnpikes. It's approximately an 8 hour drive for us using the PA turnpike, I just can't imagine how long it must have taken them to drive, in jalopies, no turnpikes, through the mountains, and I'm fairly certain the speed limit of those old jalopies couldn't have been very high, lol. Maybe I'm wrong? If I am, I'm sure I'll be corrected.
My father-in-law, as a young man, would get off work on a Friday and head off for Wildwood for the weekend every weekend during the summer! My dh 'thinks' the drive may have been something like 16 hours. I just can't imagine that long of a drive for basically a one full day stay. But he did it and he must have enjoyed it. When he married and had a family of his own, he would take them to his aunt's cottage for weekends and they'd fish and crab off the pier ( each cottage had their own pier ). T. often tells the story of the time his dad caught some lobster and his mom was boiling them for their supper. The lobsters wouldn't stay in the pot, LOL they kept climbing out ( you do put them in live ) so his mom would beat them about the head with a wooden spoon each time a head popped up and curse them in Italian.
When the aunt passed away, my father-in-law inherited the cottage, in the mid 1950's. They'd have to drive to Wildwood in the early Spring to get the cottage ready for Summer. That often entailed repainting the cottage, repairing the wood on the pier, and other mundane chores that go along with owning a house on the ocean.
By the time my husband and his older sister C. were teenagers, C. would always bring along her best friend and there were plenty of times that there'd be a knock on the cottage door and lo and behold, about 6 of his buddies who 'just happened to be in the neighborhood'. LOL His folks were good sports about guests showing up uninvited and fed them and there was plenty of floor room for sleeping.
In the 70's T.'s parents sold the cottage and that ended the trips to Wildwood as a family, however his mom and dad frequently took bus trip excursions and would stay at a motel that had group rates for bus tours. They loved it.
I had never been to Wildwood. My family was quite large - there were 7 kids and a few times during the summer we would go camping ( another story). That was about the extent of vacations other than driving to Michigan to visit my mom's sister.
T. and I married in 1973, moved to Michigan and lived there for 11 years, moved back to Pittsburgh in 1984. The following summer T. decided it was time to introduce his own family to the wonders of Wildwood. We've been going there every year since then. The first time we went, we stayed at the Park Lane in Wildwood Crest. The girls were 12, 9, and 4 years old. T. drove us up to Sunset Lake ( the name of the bay where his great-aunt's cottage is - it's still there) so the kids could take in that vigorating sea air. Keeping in mind that the girls and I had never been that close to the ocean before, the smell of the fish and salt air was nauseating to me but I was a trooper and got out of the car...the girls held their noses and all three yelled EWWWWWW IT STINKS HERE....and wouldn't get out of the car. T. was so mad, he was so excited about taking his family to the same place he enjoyed as a kid and they wouldn't even get out of the car. I'm sure he was cursing in Italian under his breath.
The next year, the girls were getting used to the smell of the ocean air and now they just love it. When the girls reached highschool age - they always wanted to bring along a girlfriend...although the year my oldest D. graduated, her boyfriend and his friend just 'happened to be in the neighborhood' LOL. That boyfriend is now her husband and they have 2 kids with another on the way. The entire family - T. my youngest daughter N., 24 now and C. my middle daughter, 30 and D. and her little family have made our vacation an annual event. C. wasn't able to make it this year though, as she and her husband had a house built and will be moving into it next weekend - she couldn't take any more time off since she is using time for moving in and getting settled. She was very disappointed but there is next year!
If you get a minute, you should click the brief history link at the top of this post, it's interesting.
Following posts I should have some vacation pics to share.
T. and I managed to get some antiquing in and I picked up lots of goodies for crafting with, will also show you my booty! *Ü*

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