Ok, there are actually other vacations besides Disney, so here are some other favorites.
New Orleans – My husband and I spent only a few days in New Orleans and we only did that because we were leaving on a Norwegian cruise from there and decided to check it out. It is really one of our favorite places and the place that we always say we would like to go back to (even though it is often about getting the best burger in the world at Port of Call!!). I think the best word I could use to describe New Orleans is unique. Friendly people, interesting history and a lot to do. We really only scratched the surface with our few days there and I hope to go back someday.
Washington, DC – This is another place that has so much to do! I have been to DC a few times – a family vacation, 8th grade class trip and about five years ago with my husband. Each time, I got to experience different things and had a great time. One of the best tours I have done anywhere happened at the Library of Congress. Free hour long tours are offered throughout the day and honestly, this was my husband’s pick, not mine. We were so lucky to get a volunteer that had a true passion and love for the place. We were there for over two hours! He told us right from the beginning that he would run his tour longer and anyone was welcome to leave whenever they wanted to. We stayed until the end.
Vancouver – This is another city that I feel like we only scratched the surface of. Our Alaskan cruise ended in Vancouver so we added on an extra day to visit. We rented a car and got to see quite a few attractions but there is definitely more to do. One highlight was the aquarium. It was small but I had read not to miss the shows. We got a schedule and made it a point to hit as many of the shows as we could. The small size of the aquarium made it very easy to see a show, walk around for 20-30 minutes and then see the next show. All of the shows were focused on a particular animal and demonstrated and described natural behaviors for the animals… no tricks just taught to entertain people. We thought we were spend maybe a few hours there and ended up there for most of the day.
Cape May – After a whole blog series about Cape May, I don’t think I need to say much more. When I go on vacation, it is often not for relaxing. Especially going somewhere new, I like to see and do as much as possible. So one of the reasons I love my Cape May trip each year is because it is truly relaxing. It’s easy for me to get to, great restaurants, beautiful scenery and time to just lay back and enjoy.
I have been lucky enough to go to many different places. From family vacations when I was younger to now when my husband and I take a trip each year along with other smaller trips I manage to include with my sisters and other family members throughout the year. There are still a lot of places I would like to go to but these are some of my favorites so far…
Disney – I am just going to put all of Disney experiences in one big group. I have lost count of how many times I have been to Walt Disney World in Florida. A few trips were as a child but most of them happened as an adult. After becoming involved in runDisney races in the past few years, I have been going down to Florida at least once a year just for race weekends and then sometimes again for a vacation. There is always something to do there that you haven’t done before. And it’s great to experience favorite attractions again with different people. I don’t think it will ever get old for me there.
Disney Cruise Line is another type of Disney vacation that has become a favorite. I love Disney and the parks… my husband not so much. He is a great sport and indulges me with trips there but it really isn’t his favorite thing to do. But Disney Cruises have seemed to help us find a happy medium. He is more open to seeing different ports and I get my Disney fix. He will even say that is reluctant to try a different cruise line now because Disney does such a great job. We have been to Mexico, various Caribbean ports and Alaska with Disney Cruise Line. I would love to do the Baltic region one day but that isn’t in the plans for the near future.
And, of course, there is Disneyland. I have been able to visit Disneyland twice so far. Both times, I went with my sisters. We went once in August and once in December to see all the Christmas decorations and attractions. This fall, I am excited to be going back! My husband and I will be heading out first for a few days and then my sisters will be joining us. This time the parks will be decorated for Halloween. It has been over 10 years since my last visit there so it will be fun to see and experience everything that has changed.
So much to say about Disney that I think I will have to continue with the rest of my favorite places in my next post….
Last Day in Cape May
Cape May - Day 4
It was our last full day in Cape May and, unfortunately, the weather forecast wasn't looking that great. But we were up and out for our morning walk and breakfast at Coffee Thyme as usual.
We started out poolside. It was warm but mostly cloudy. We played some cards and did some reading and then it was time for lunch.
We decided to try Cape May Peanut Butter which was a new shop in the mall area this year. Earlier in the week, we had walked inside and saw that they made their own peanut butter and they made fresh sandwiches. I absolutely love peanut butter...to the point that I have decided I can't even have a jar of it in the house because it will constantly call my name. So this store was awesome!! As I said, they make their own peanut butter and have some different varieties, like honey roasted or almond. They also make baked goods and other items, like peanut brittle. For sandwiches, they had the basic PB & J but also some other options. I opted for "The King" which was peanut butter, banana and honey. You can chose your bread also and I chose Texas Toast. I also bought peanut brittle to take home to my husband and a handmade peanut butter cup that had peanut butter and caramel inside. Let's just say, I can't wait to go back next year!! The sandwich was excellent. The bread was fresh and there was a generous amount of peanut butter inside. The peanut butter cup was about 3 inches in diameter and it was heavy. It was also excellent and you could tell it was freshly made. I also got to sample the peanut brittle when I came home and it was top quality as well. I will definitely be returning there to try more items next year.
By the time we were done with lunch, it was completely cloudy and it just wasn't going to be a pool day. So my sisters and I decided to go shopping in the mall. While we do walk around the mall every year, it has really been awhile since we have gone shopping there. There were some shops that we walk by every year but we have never been inside. We had a good time going from place to place. No big purchases were made but it was a great way to spend the afternoon.
That evening I met some friends for dinner and the rest of the gang went to dinner at the Pilot House in the mall. Apparently, ownership has changed and they did notice the difference. It went from a casual restaurant to a more fine dining experience. Although we liked the previous casual atmosphere, their report was that they did enjoy their meal.
I came back to the room and we went back into the mall for one final dessert treat. For me, it was a peanut butter and chocolate swirled frozen custard in a waffle cone. YUM!
Then it was time to pack up, watch a little TV and call it a night.
Day 3 in Cape May
It was Friday morning and I had a 6 mile run to do on my training schedule. (I will be traveling to do the Bird in Hand Half Marathon in September.) So I got up extra early (around 5:30!!) to get out there early. One of my sisters decided to join me. We got that done and met up with the rest of the crew for breakfast. This morning we decided to try Coffee Thyme which was right on Beach Ave. I split a cinnamon roll with my sister and had an iced coffee. Very tasty and more organized than Avalon. However they could use some better outdoor seating.
We walked back to the room and my sisters and I headed out to the Cape May Lighthouse. We always see the lighthouse across the beach and decided this year we wanted to check it out. We drove over to get there when it opened. It was $8 per adult to get in to climb all the stairs to the top, 199 steps in total. We headed up and were happy to find there was a landing around every 30 steps. At each landing, you can move out of the staircase if others want to pass you and there is a small window and some information or photographs about the lighthouse. We were the only ones there at the time but we still stopped at each landing to see what was there and catch a quick breath before continuing on.
Honestly, climbing up all those stairs was much easier than I thought it would be. Stopping at each landing definitely helped. There was a volunteer at the top who was happy to answer any questions and even offered to take our picture all together. It was a beautiful day with great views. We looked around for a bit, signed the guest book, and headed back down.
Outside the lighthouse in a separate small building was a small gift shop. We took a look around and I bought a magnet proclaiming that I climbed all 199 steps! As you walk out towards the parking lot, there is also a visitor's center. We didn't stop in there because it was almost 10 am and you know what happens at 10 am: Pool's open!!
So yes, we spend another day poolside which was again nice and relaxing. Around 3 pm, we started to get cleaned up and ready to venture out to Atlantic City!
We make one trip up to Atlantic City each year that we go to Cape May. My sisters aren't big gamblers but we all enjoy it as a night out. This year we returned to the Borgata. It is about a 40 minute drive from Cape May and pretty easy to get to. We did valet parking and headed towards the buffet. We still had about an hour before the buffet was open so we all split up to do some gambling. None of us are big spenders. We all play the penny slots for the most part. I got luck and was up about $20 when it was time to head in to eat.
Yes, eating at 4 pm is very early. But our crew doesn't like waiting or crowds so for one night we enjoy the early bird dinner... not that it is any less expensive. The Borgata has a very nice buffet. A lot of variety from Chinese food, to BBQ and even a fresh pasta station. I really enjoy the fried chicken and cheddar biscuits. And, of course, there is always a good selection of desserts.
After we rolled ourselves out of the buffet, it was time to go back to slots. We set a time to meet and all go on our way. I like to play different machines so I usually end up walking around most of the casino. I had some good luck and found myself up $100 so I decided to quit while I was ahead. I texted my sisters and met up with them to walk around a bit. When we all were done, somehow it was decided that the winner would treat to Starbucks! I don't remember that rule when I lost in previous years. :) But no problem. We all got our drinks, picked up the car and headed back to Cape May.
It was maybe around 9:30 / 10 pm when we returned. We hung around a bit and then called it a night.
Cape May - Day 2
There is no sleeping in on Cape May trips. At least a few of us are up and out early every morning to walk on the promenade along side the beach. It can get rather warm so early is best and even then, it can be toasty. But it is always beautiful to look at the beach and ocean. And it is always fun to look at the big Victorian style houses on the other side of the street.
We usually walk for about an hour and then make stop for iced coffee and breakfast. Although we did try a different place later in this trip, this morning we stopped at our traditional location, Avalon Coffee. The iced coffee is great here. I usually have either a bagel or muffin and, honestly, it is a hit or a miss with quality. The bagels are usually good but sometimes the muffins aren't that great. It is also very small inside and, at times, their system of ordering and picking up is somewhat chaotic. The great coffee has been what has kept us coming back here each year, but the other issues are what made us try a different coffee shop during this trip.
Right next to Avalon is a location where you can rent bikes or surreys. We didn't do it this year, but on a previous trip my sister and I rented a 2 person surrey. It was fun but takes some good leg strength to get you going. My recommendation would be to go early in the day. We went in the mid afternoon. Not only was it hot, but there was a lot more traffic on the roads. You ride on the streets and must obey the same traffic rules as cars. We tried staying in residential areas but at times we were on main roads and it was a little tricky.
After coming back from coffee, it was time to do what we do best in Cape May... relax by the pool! We like to use the table and lounge chair area of the pool that is closest to our room so it becomes a bit of a game to watch for the pool gate to be open and then get in there to put our towels and bags on those chairs. Someone from our group is usually stalking the area so as soon as the owner opens the gate (around 10 am), they will go in and secure the spot.
We spent the rest of the day just hanging around pool side. We make our lunch from our salad fixings in our room and then just head right back out to the pool. It is really a great way to relax and enjoy the day.
For dinner, we decided to do a take out night. We ordered a white pizza and garlic knots from Louie's Pizza, walked over to pick it up and then ate it back in our rooms. It was excellent pizza! We were all stuffed but of course, a night in Cape May isn't complete without dessert from somewhere in the mall. There are so many choices, including Ben & Jerry's, Kohrs Bros frozen custard, Dairy Queen and various places with chocolates and taffy. For me, that night I went to a self serve yogurt place. Everyone usually gets their own dessert and then heads back to the room to sit outside to enjoy it.
And that is the description of a perfect day in Cape May!
I have been a huge Disney and travel fan since childhood. I love going to new places and, of course, heading to Disney as often as I can.