Yay! Another trip! This one was super short, mostly because Brock and I have both been to Delaware and its adorable beaches, and because we don't do well sitting in one spot for long. We also planned the trip when Brock's brother, Casey, and his wife, Sonia, her dad Jim, and Ruby's favorite cousins Kenzie and Cam would be there, but we didn't want to intrude too much on their vacation, ya know? But, it was really a walk down memory lane for both of us, because we often went there (yearly, at least) as kids and teens for vacations, and a few times, we spent time there together, before we got hitched and made a baby. The DE beaches are so much nicer than OC, MD...less touristy, less crowded, cleaner, especially Bethany and Lewes, so if you're ever looking for a quick get-a-way, definitely check them out. Ruby was ready to go, and generously offered to drive the first leg of the trip.
Bikes loaded, and great news: we could still get into the camper. It wasn't as easy, but this was our first trip taking the bikes anywhere on the truck, so was experimental. Brock and I both decided that we don't want to bring the bikes UNLESS we can use them daily, or multiple times a day, like we did on this trip. If they would allow us to travel without using the truck, and we would make regular use of them, bringing them is smart. Otherwise, it is more work than we want, because we ended up taking them off, and needing to make sure they stayed locked.
To avoid weekend traffic, we left Tuesday July 25 around 9am, and started our trip off with a quick stop in Annapolis, MD, so we could cross that capital off. Both Brock and I have been there so many times, BUT I didn't ever have a photo.
Plus, we arranged to meet Auntie Belle for lunch at Boatyard Bar and Grill. Coloring with Auntie Belle before lunch made it that much more fun!
Belle and I split two entrees: I had the flounder BLT, which was really good, and lighter, and the avocado really made it. Belle got the crab dip open face sandwich, and while it was really good, it tasted more like a cheesy artichoke dip, and was really rich and heavy. Brock had the soft shell crab sandwich, and said it was fantastic. Ruby ate a bit of everything, including fresh fruit, and french fries. Would I eat here again? YES! Pricey? Not terrible: plan on $10-$15 per entree.
We got to Rehobeth Beach around 2:30, had a quick snack, donned our suits, and met up with Uncle Casey and family. Ruby was SO excited to play with her cousins, and wasn't too scared of the water (like she was in OBX).
Brock was really craving some Grotto's pizza, so we grabbed a quick shower at Uncle Casey's rental, and everyone, (including Nanee!) went to eat. The pizza is kind of a DE beach thing (and may have other locations, but when I was a kid, it was only in Delaware) and I remember it being this ah-mazing pizza....but it wasn't as good as I remembered. I'm still hung up on Zeek's Pizza in Seattle, and nothing I've found on the East coast comes close. There was a good pizza place in Texas once, but I digress.
Ruby enjoyed her dinner with her cousins, but was SO TIRED after only a 20 minute nap, 3.5 hour drive, and beach play.
We camped north of Rehobeth Beach, in Cape Henlopen State Park which was BEAUTIFUL. Short little beach pines (I'm sure that is the actual name of them) with sandy ground cover greeted us, and we arrived quite late (7pm) but Brock had pre-registered so we had a campsite and were good to go. There was electric and water at our site, as tent sites were walk in only, and we were pretty close to the bathrooms, which had hot showers included in our price. Our site was pricey as far as camping goes: $48 per night, BUT it was the only place to camp, and it just smelled so good, with the pine and the salty air. The unfortunate part: Ruby took almost 3 hours to get to sleep, and didn't go down until 9:45. She SCREAMED, because she was so tired...we tried EVERYTHING. She was in her tent by 7:30, but around 8:30 after an hour of screaming and crying, I took her out, wiped her nose, gave her some milk, and changed her diaper. No good. I laid down next to her tent, and she stopped screaming and started playing. For 30 minutes. So Brock took over, and she screamed, because she wanted "Mama!"... It got to the point where I left the camper. It felt like someone was taking my kidney out, with no pain meds, using a butter knife to cut me open, and digging around inside me with long fingernails to find it before twisting it out of me. When your kid is crying and you just can't help them, as a mom, it is the WORST. So about 9:30 I left, and walked around the campground. Note: when walking, I got 1 bug bite. Thats it! And literally 10 minutes after I left, she was asleep. The photo below was happier times, before bedtime, when I still had both kidneys.
The next morning started off around 7:30, when Ruby woke up, which put a cramp in Brock's plan to go biking on the boardwalk. He wanted to bike, reminiscing when he used to do it with his family as a kid, but you can only bike until 10am. By the time we had breakfast, brushed teeth, and got going, it was 9am, and we only had about 30 minutes to bike on the boardwalk.
Uncle Casey, Aunt Sonia, Kenzie and Cam joined us, and then we biked through Henlopen Acres where all the big beautiful beach houses were.
By that time, we were ready for a nap, so we headed back to the camp ground, and Ruby took a 2.5 hour nap from about noon-2:30.
We went to a local beach in Lewes to meet the family, and played for a few hours, until 5. That was great, because it was a quick 2 mile bike ride from our campsite. Ruby had a blast playing in the sand and water again with her cousins!
Dinner that night was grilled chicken, and pre-made summer corn salad (fried corn, tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, salt, pepper, italian seasoning, and lime/olive oil drizzled), and while really refreshing, I wish we had picked up some fresh, local bread to go with it. Bedtime was much smoother after Ruby had a nap earlier in the day, and was asleep by 8:45. She and I showered (me in swim suit) in the handicap stall with a bench and shower sprayer, so I could sit and wash her off, and then take her out to Brock to finish up. The next morning we met Nanee for coffee and ooey-gooey pastries at a local coffee shop in Lewes, and then headed to Dover. Here are Nanee and Ruby window shopping, which is the best way to take an almost 17 month old shopping. Then she can't pull merchandise off of shelves and run through the store giggling.
I was in Dover years ago with my sisters, but never had any photographic proof, so we went again!
Next it was to Westminster, to see Nanee and Hop, and so Mama and Papa could go on a date to see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. SO COOL. Thanks Nanee and Hop for babysitting! Although Hop really looks like babysitting is a tough job...
We ended the trip by visiting with Aunties quickly at a local mall (great places to let your little ones explore and burn energy when raining out) and then we headed home Saturday the 29th. Auntie Gabby took Ruby for a cheesy mall ride, which she was skeptical about..
We have about 3 weeks until our next (big, 10-12 day) trip up north to New England, so I plan on writing some reviews on some products we've really been using while traveling with a little one.
Best part of Cape Henlopen? I got 2 bug bites total. Seriously.... best campground we've been to on the East Coast!
Total estimated cost of trip: $200: campsite, gas, parking, and Grotto's pizza.
Camping tip: Save recyclable containers during your every day life. We save and clean out everything from little milk containers that Ruby drinks (6oz containers) to 16 oz yogurt containers, spaghetti sauce jars, and anything else that might be useful. That way I can pack marinades, or salads, or other stuff for the fridge and then we can recycle (or throw out) the containers and not have to bring them home and wash them. I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier!