Last week, Shawn and I packed up the kids and the car (yes, my tiny Civic!) and headed south for the week. While our Connecticut home is near some lovely beaches, we went to a little spot that I adore: Cape May, New Jersey.
I first visited Cape May more than 15 years ago when my friend’s family took me on vacation with them a few times. With such fond memories of the trips, I have been wanting to turn to the sunny ocean-side spot for years. I am so glad to have finally done so.
The actual impetus to go there came when I – on a whim – Googled some combination of the words Cape May and Cabin. Up popped a listing for Ponderosa Campground. The site offered almost everything I could ever want in a campground cabin: electricity, a mini fridge, an in-cabin bathroom and even air conditioning (to keep the troops happy) … there was also a television, but I refused the remote and we never watched it. And the price? Just $40 a night. I called immediately and booked our vacation. It was just too perfect to pass up.
I did worry that the $40 price tag would mean that it wasn’t a good place to stay, but the staff was so friendly and helpful, the cabin was immaculate, the pool was pristine. It was great. The only downside? The mattresses were as thin as they come … but who cares? We just tired ourselves out and dealt with it … it is a campground after all
Almost all week, we cooked at the cabin. PBJ for lunch, grilled something for dinner. Outside the cabin, there was a charcoal grill, which we used for cooking. Although I have used charcoal before, I haven’t in a long time … furthermore, I have never lit a charcoal grill without lighter fluid. But the chimney gadget made it so easy. We just stuffed paper in the bottom, lit it and were cooking in about 15 minutes. Easy peasy!
There was also a firepit where we roasted marshmallows most of the nights while we were there. So fun.
What did we do while we were there?
- Cape May Zoo – The zoo was a fabulous excursion. The kids fed ducks and goats, checked out lions and tigers and bears (and giraffes and zebra) and so much more. They loved the whole experience so much that we actually went twice. I totally recommend it. And the best part? It’s free! (But they operate on donations, so do consider giving one).
- Morey’s Piers at Wildwood – When we were driving to Wildwood, suddenly the name of the piers where I spent so many hours as a teen came to mind … and off we went. My little kids loved the many, many kids rides there. We played for about two hours before it started to pour … like seriously POUR. The only downside? It gets expensive fast. I suggest buying the family four-pack of wristbands ($160) to save money.
- Cape May’s Boardwalk – There is a small boardwalk on Cape May’s beach with an arcade, a great pizza place, Morrow’s Nuthouse, McGlade’s Restaurant and more. On our last afternoon, we went and walked along it, stopping for cheese fries and to buy some fudge and taffy. It was so much fun … and when we go back (because we will), we’ll spend more days in that area since it’s so serene and relaxing.
It was a great week … hope yours was too. Check in tomorrow for a fab new grill recipe.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.