We leave Asbury Park, NJ refreshed and smelling of the sea. Our next stop will be Pea Patch Island Delaware. Because we’ve never been to Delaware. And because I imagine a tiny island, in tiny Delaware, with a name as darling as Pea Patch must look like this:
Imagine my initial disappointment when I find out Pea Patch Island is a fort that looks like this:
Until this happens:
I embarrass the boys by volunteering at the blacksmith. And by volunteering I mean throwing my hand into the air and shouting “Oh, oh, oh pick me pick me!!” My husband hoists them onto the civil war cannons when nobody is looking and we quickly snap pictures.
From Pea Patch we wander off to New Castle. I find this book store:
And I swoon.
I wander the rows and rows of books, breathing in the faint scent of their souls. The boys are off with dad getting ice cream. I’m lost.
When I come up for air we meet up again. We visit antique shops. The boys don’t break anything, but they’re getting restless. So we drag them into Common Goodes and Embelishments and their father tries this on:
We stop at Penn’s Place for a bite to eat, still giggling over the wigs. And that night,as we settle into the RV, I overhear my oldest boy explaining the Civil War to his younger brother.
Because we’re just starting out . . . because the first step, even one taken into total freedom, is always taken with wobbly knees . . . . we’re going to first stop in Asbury Park, NJ. Not too far from our home in NY, but far enough away to still feel like the start of something special.
We’ll spend the first day watching the kids play at the Asbury Splash Park:
I’ll go to dinner that night with my face hurting from the smiles. The sound of laughter will echo in my dreams.
The next day I’ll browse The Posh Den and buy some flowers for my hair . . . because I’m already wearing it down and enjoying the beach curls . . .
. . . the boys will jump in the waves . . .
. . . that evening my husband and I will hit The Stone Pony, a legendary music venue:
We’ll see a great Jersey band perform. Maybe The Gaslight Anthem. And we’ll leave with sore throats and the lingering magic of music and possibility still rattling in our ears.
One day I’ll buy a beach wrap and too many mimosas. He’ll learn to tolerate all that sand. My oldest will boogie board. My middle will ask me to bury him in the cool, damp sand by the shoreline. I’ll take pictures of the baby in floppy hats and tiny sunglasses that he’ll try to pull off with his chubby hands.
One night we’ll go to the bonfires that Asbury Park has on the beach in the summers. And fireworks will go off. And the five of us will lay back and watch and realize we’ve only begun . . .
For amazing photos and ideas on great things to do in Asbury Park, NJ I highly recommend visiting the boardwalk on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TheAsburyParkBoardwalk.
First thing’s first. Money is no object? Then I am jumping into a trailer, camper, RV . . . . whatever. I’m loading in the family and taking off. Who doesn’t dream of the ultimate road trip? One without limitations or agendas. I want to feel the wind in my hair. I want to leave a city without saying “I wish we had just a few more days so we could see . . . ” I want to find an out of the way restaurant instead of stopping at the first convenient-to-the-highway fast food joint.
I want freedom.
So what vehicle would be best?
The first one that came to mind was an Airstream like this one:
Tempting, right? The only thing I don’t like about it is you can’t hang out in it while traveling. And the whole point of a road trip is to be on the road together. Of course not on top of each other. I am traveling with young kids after all. Still, I started thinking maybe something like this would suit me:
Riiiiight?! NOW we’re talking! Check out the interior:
That is decorated nicer than any room in my house.
My favorite tunes are blasting . . . definitely Bruce Springsteen, some Beatles, Weezer for the kids. Once we get past the bridge traffic we open up the windows. My boys are playing cards at the table.
OK that one is a stretch. More likely they are wrestling over the TV remote.
One can dream though . . .
This is my wondrous place. A lazy, summer beach day.
I took this picture in Heckscher State Park, not far from my home. My home. A place where I thought I would live for a long time to come. A place where I could remain at least until my kids graduated high school.
But it’s harder than ever to try and stay. It’s difficult to envision a scenario that would enable us to remain here. Finances . . . stress . . .
I try not to worry too much about it. My children are healthy. They wrestle and shout and jump and they’re vibrant and boisterous. In that respect, my life is stuffed with more happiness than any one person can ever hope to experience.
I’m so horribly limited financially. But I refuse to allow my imagination to be limited. So now I will be posting about the wondrous places I would visit if money were no object. I’ll let this blog be my RV, my train, my plane . . . my vessel to the world.
I found this image here. And immediately I thought of a secret garden. A wondrous place of quiet where the air smells fresh and is filled with tiny flecks that glisten in the sun. Just beyond that opening lies warmth and peace and a place to spread your arms and soak in a lazy day.
It also reminded me of a beautiful Bruce Springsteen song, “Secret Garden”:
“She’ll lead you down a path
There’ll be tenderness in the air
She’ll let you come just far enough
So you know she’s really there
She’ll look at you and smile
And her eyes will say
She’s got a secret garden
Where everything you want
Where everything you need
Will always stay
A million miles away”
Such a wondrous garden . . . located here . . . where you pass through the fragrant lavender and enter beneath that magical trellis. The smells of earth and herbs and fresh tomato plants surround you as you pick yourself a fresh, crispy lunch. This is where dreams of summer begin.
There’s an old Twilight Zone episode that’s my absolute favorite Twilight Zone episode of all time. It’s called “Time Enough at Last” and in it Burgess Meredith plays Henry Bemis, a bespectacled man who just wants the time to read as much as he’d like.
Check out those coke bottles. Anyway . . .
Unfortunately his nagging wife and bank job cut into all of his reading time. He ends up sneaking down into a bank vault to take his lunch and read in peace on a day when the world is shattered by some type of bomb. He emerges to discover he’s the last man on earth. He soon stumbles across the remains of the local library. Books are scattered throughout the streets and up what remains of the library’s front steps. He’s positively giddy and Henry begins running around sorting the books into piles, ready and waiting for him to have the time to read. And he finally has all the time in the world.
Until he drops his eyeglasses. He blindly searches for them until he hears a sickening crunch beneath his foot. He crushes his glasses and ruins his dream come true of having all the time in the world to read.
It’s my favorite episode because I so relate to poor Henry Bemis. And this wondrous place I’ve found for you is the post-apocalyptic library of my dreams. If for no other reason than I wouldn’t have to run around sorting the books and risk crushing my glasses.
This is where you go to think. The light is always bright and golden. The air always smells like baking apples and baby’s breath flowers. Time moves slowly, dancing metered waltzes around you as you lie back and dream. The grass is a little bit greener. The roots are big enough to cradle you. Doze a bit, and you might wake up to find a fairy’s crown placed gently atop your head.
Bring a pencil and paper. Put your thoughts and goals to paper.
This is where you go to capture them.
I found this image here. I was going to explain why this place, at this moment, is so wondrous. I was going to tell you about the staggering pace of New York City. It’s loud and bustling and bright and dingy and you can get lost and meander or get caught up and party. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’ve never been there, don’t live near it or in it, you just can’t understand. New York City is a place you have to explore and experience and discover and yes . . . . even smell.
But I was going to continue on and tell you that when a blizzard strikes everything changes. It becomes haunted and serene. Winds howl and yet the world gets quieter. The City hushes as a whole. Fairy tales are around every corner and the snow and ice turn New York City into a whole new place of wonder. New York City is always a wondrous place . . . . but during and just after a blizzard . . . . it’s wondrous in all new magical ways.
However, I’m not going to tell that story. Instead I’m going to share with you the story that the photographer Eddie O’Bryan tells about snapping this shot:
“Just prior to this shot, a police officer drove up and rolled down his window to ask if his tire tracks would have a negative impact on my shot. After I told him yes, he nodded, put his car in reverse, and went the opposite direction. His courtesy and respect had a profound effect on me, and I still hold it close to this day.”
Better than any story I could tell, this story best demonstrates why New York City is a wondrous place. More so at this time. At this moment. In this picture.
I found this photo here where it was supposedly built by a man who uses reclaimed wood to create original structures.
Nice cover story.
This is quite clearly the crooked little home of a crooked little man. I imagine a weathered, quiet man drawing water from a nearby well. The wind gently blows dancing dandelion fuzz past his nose and he pauses, looking up with eyes closed, and imagines a day in the distant past when she also danced in the wind. He smiles. Sighs. And makes his way back to the empty house.