Adventures in New Jersey, Part One: Wildwood, 9/11, and Hamilton

I spent all of July, home in New Jersey, visiting family and catching up with friends. Towards the end of my tenure in New Jersey, after J’s summer compucamp and AP training ended, he flew up to se me in New Jersey, and we had a few adventures.

Justin flew to New Jersey on the July 20th while I was busy trying on bridesmaid dresses for my brother’s upcoming nuptials in January 2020, so dad had to pick him up from the airport without me. We basically got to my house at the same time, and I was super happy to see him, especially after the tragedy known as dress-shopping, which was a nightmare. The nightmare part had nothing to do with anyone in particular, I enjoyed spending time with my brother’s fiancee/my soon-to-be sister-in-law Michelle, I just have an awkward body type that doesn’t look good in dresses.

For starters, I didn’t have a single inkling that I was going to try on bridesmaid dresses during my trip to New Jersey, so I didn’t bring a proper strapless bra and only had sports bras to supplement my running nor did I bring Spanx, so every time I looked at myself in the mirror in a dress, I hated what I saw. Part of that is my BDD [Body dysmorphic disorder], the other part of that is my awkward body shape- I’m not very tall, but I have really long legs, a short torso, and above average boobs [though the reduction made them go from a G to a D], and since every bridesmaid is wearing the same dress in the wedding, there’s no freedom in choosing a dress type that is flattering for my body type, when the bridal party is made up of so many different body types… But alas I digress… regardless I was very happy to see Justin, I hadn’t seen him since I left Texas aside from nightly video-chats.

The day after Justin got to New Jersey, we visited my grandparents, and we rented a car to take a very quick trip to Wildwood because I really wanted to show Justin what a real beach was [Galveston does not count] and I hadn’t been to Wildwood for over 10 years. I think the last time I went to the shore was in 2011? And I was with Kitty Kat and we went to Seaside [er Sleazeside] Heights because compared to Wildwood, it’s much closer to where I live.

The drive up to Wildwood wasn’t anything exciting. I tortured Justin by making him listen to the Cats soundtrack [and I don’t care how bad the movie looks, I will see it and drag him with me, we’ll just do shots of booze and be drunk as hell before we see that travesty] because I was in a Cats mood since the trailer for the movie had come out just a few days ago. We stopped once and got some Starbucks at a rest stop, and the drive wasn’t anything interesting unless you count Justin’s shock at how many tolls there were on the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike.

We stayed at the Adventurer Inn. I picked it do to its proximity to the beginning of the boardwalk and because it was on the beach. Since we had limited time at the shore, I didn’t want to waste time schlepping out shit back and forth from a further away hotel, or spend extra time reaching the Boardwalk.

We both really liked the hotel. The location was awesome. Our room was huge. We had a beachfront suite that could sleep up to six- it had two queen size beds, a couch that turned into a queen-size bed, a full kitchen, and a balcony that overlooked the beach. The people that worked there were super nice. They had a bowl of salt water taffy in the front office that people went to every day to take copious amounts of salt water taffy, including us. The pool was really nice too. It was a deeper pool. It went up to 9 feet deep, and we never really found the pool overcrowded. The hotel had a pancake house, but we didn’t try any food there. And we really enjoyed our very short stay there. Highly recommend, would go back again.

When we got there, the first thing we did was jump into the pool [after properly changing into bathing suits, of course] and swim for a little bit. Then we went back to our room and showered and we got to the Boardwalk around 8 pm or so.

We ate a lot. We had Mack’s pizza, Curley’s fries and Orangeade/Lemonade, and ate frozen custard. I had peanut butter chocolate swirl and Justin had chocolate mint custard with “jimmies” aka sprinkles.

Activity wise, we didn’t ride any of the rides or play any of the games [they’re probably all rigged anyways], but we did play this 3D pirate themed black-light mini-golf course. I’m happy to say I won. This is a big deal for me because I NEVER WIN MINI-GOLF. Granted, I only won by like two points, BUT I STILL WON DAMMIT.

The mini-golf course was fun, but it was pretty crowded. I mean that’s to be expected during summer season at the shore, which is the popular season, especially July and August, but there were times when we had to wait behind a few groups to get our turn at a hole.. Maybe 5ish minutes? So that wasn’t too bad. Personally, I just think everyone should play with a five-stroke rule like we do.

Since it was a Sunday night, the boardwalk closed down around 11 pm. We walked back to our hotel, bought some cheap boogie boards, and called it a night.

The next day we woke up early, and decided to rent bikes and bike around the boardwalk.

We biked to the end of the Boardwalk, and even managed to get a mostly-people free “Wildwoods” picture.

We really enjoyed biking. I had to teach Justin how to brake on his bike though because he was used to hand-brakes and not pedal-brakes. But we had a lot of run, and since we rented the bikes so early, we didn’t really have to deal with a lot of people on the Boardwalk, which is nice.

Then we drove to Wawa to pick up some food for the beach, changed into our swim-suits, and went to the beach.

The water was freezing, but once we got a bit more used to it, it wasn’t too bad. We attempted to boogie board. I managed to catch a few waves that would carry me a few feet, but I never managed to hook that one wave that would bring me all the way to shore, however, there were a lot of people boogie-boarding and I didn’t see any of them make it all the way to shore, so it wasn’t just me. The waves were pretty little compared to what they are in August, which is generally when I used to go. Regardless of their size, we still had fun diving and jumping into them. Justin, however, got yelled at by a lifeguard because he swam too far out and he was so far out from shore that he didn’t even know the lifeguards were whistling at him until he saw me motioning at him. He said the water wasn’t too deep and the current wasn’t too strong and he was fine, but lifeguards are just really cautious at the shore.

We took a break to eat our sandwiches. We were on our towels, when a huge seagull swooped down and ripped half of Justin’s pepperoni sandwich out of his hand and carried it further down the beach, where he [or she?] and his brothers [and sisters] went to town on Justin’s sandwich. I was laughing so hard that I almost choked on my sandwich.

After awhile we left the beach because we were both super burned [and we did wear sun tan lotion, I swear!] and decided to go to Cape May to find a souvenir for Justin’s mom [and postcards for me] there because she used to take him and his brother there when they were little.

I wasn’t a fan of Cape May? It’s a bit boring and snooty to me, I hadn’t been there before. Lots of big houses that people can’t afford, and their downtown area was full of overpriced stores so people could just idly spend money. I suppose it has pretty fountains though?

We got milkshakes at Stewart’s. I had a chocolate marshmallow malt and Justin had a mint chocolate chip malt. I bought a snow globe for the librarian at my school because she collects snowglobes, a new issue of Weird NJ magazine, which I haven’t seen in years, since Weird NJ doesn’t exist in Texas, and I have quite the collection of vintage issues from the early 2000s, as well as some postcards. Justin also bought a snowglobe for his mom and some Christmas ornaments for our tree, which is slowly becoming of a mixture of ornaments from places we’ve visited and nerdy things I like. Then we headed back to Wildwood, showered, and got ready for another night on the boardwalk.

We didn’t do very much that night. We did make the walk to Sam’s Pizza, which is further down the Boardwalk to compare them to Mack’s Pizza.

The conclusion was that Mack’s Pizza pwns Sam’s Pizza, but Sam’s Pizza is still good, though I think Sleazeside Heights has the better white broccoli pizza because it’s usually covered in globs of ricotta cheese, which both Sam and Mack’s is not, but since Justin has never been to Sleazeside Heights,their pizza was disqualified from the contest. Then we mostly shopped. We bought fudge and salt water taffy to take back with us, and just darted in and out of stores before going back to the hotel and going to bed for the night.

During the time there, since we had such limited time, we didn’t go on any of the rides or go to the waterparks or anything because it seemed like a waste of money considering the time we were spending there. Maybe next time.

The next morning we woke up, and the sky was gray and rainy, but since we were leaving that day, that was fine by us, and we headed home because the very next day we had Hamilton tickets.

On Wednesday, we got up and drove to the ferry from my parent’s house. In retrospective, I think I should have taken the bus. The ferry was a pain in the ass, parking was expensive, the ferry tickets were pricey, and it was a huge ordeal even ti catch/find a bus back to the ferry to go back across the river to NJ. The bus would’ve dropped us off at Port Authority and we could’ve taken the subway from there to anywhere in NYC. But at least the view was pretty from the NJ side of the ferry?

We took a taxi from the NYC part of the ferry since there really isn’t a subway terminal anywhere near it, and we went to the Freedom Tower/ 9/11 Museum because Justin really wanted to see it and I hadn’t been there ever.

I really don’t know what to say about the 9/11 Museum/Memorial, except it was somber? I’ll never forget 9/11. I was a sophomore in college at Kutztown University. I had an aquatics class at 9:30. I basically rolled out of bed and went to class, never turned on the TV or anything. We were sitting by the pool and my professor went “I’m sure you all heard what happened. A plane flew into the twin towers. Now get into the pool and swim 5 laps of free-style.”  We had class. I went back to the dorm, changed clothes, and sat in the student center on the bottom floor of the cafeteria, staring at the TV, then I went back to my dorm room, and stared at TV some more, all the classes were cancelled for the rest of the day. Since I grew up/lived around NYC, I spent most of the afternoon trying to get through to my relatives to make sure everyone was okay.

The entire museum was filled with remnants of the Twin Towers. There was an entire room with pictures of every single victim from 9/11, and an interactive computer, so you could look somebody up and find out about their lives, their families, their favorite things, and things like that. [No pics were allowed in that room]. The main part of the museum was a whole time-line of 9/11 and everything that lead up to 9/11, the whole twenty-four hours of that day. [Also no pictures]. They had things like survivor’s shoes that they escaped the building in or backpacks that they used to help shield the debris from their faces on display. Who would want to put that sort of thing on display? But then when I thought about it, why would somebody want to keep a souvenir that reminded them of one of the worst days in their life? They had recordings of every single newscast from that day, from NYC to international news. They had footage of the planes crashing into the buildings. It was such a well done memorial. It was horrifying but in a good way, if that makes sense? My only complaint was how crowded it was, it was really hard to walk around and read/see anything because visitors just crowd into that room. But I really don’t know how they would fix something like that.


I wish we had had more time there, but we really had to get to the theater if we wanted to make Hamilton, so we left and caught the subway to Times Square and walked to the theater.

Hamilton was fucking amazing. The soundtrack is nothing compared to the actual stage show. I thought our cast did an outstanding job. I thought our Hamilton was awesome [and dare I say it… better than Lin Manual-Miranda, who I get wrote the show, but he really can’t sing that well, IMO], Burr was great, and we saw the understudy Burr and he was amaze balls. I thought Lafayette/Jefferson was better at Jefferson than Lafayette not that he was a bad at Lafayette or anything though, his performance as Jefferson just stood out more. Our Eliza was amazing and I think she was 1000 times better than the OG Broadway cast Eliza. I also thought Hercules Mulligan/James Madison was a better Madison than Mulligan, again, not that he was bad at Mulligan, he just seemed more in character as Madison. I thought the worst performer in our cast was Angelica, not that she was bad, I just didn’t really find her voice to be amazing or anything out of the ordinary, I think OG Angelica was better. King George was hysterical. I don’t think there was a single empty seat in the entire show.

And seeing songs perform live with the choreography and everything, it was so much better than I had ever envisioned. It was legit the best Broadway show I have ever seen. Justin loved it. If you ever have a chance to see Hamilton, please do yourself a favor, and go see it, it was THAT good.

After the show, we stopped in a store to buy things. I bought another snowglobe for the librarian and some postcards. Then it took us awhile to even find a bus back to the ferry, but eventually we did. We got the parking garage and the garage refused to read any of our credit cards, so we ended up digging through our pockets and bags to find change, bills, and anything but a credit card to escape the overpriced parking garage.

We decided to drive to a diner after the show because I hadn’t been to my favorite diner since I’d been home, so we went, and I had eggs and corned beef hash and my favorite red velvet cake [which I completely left in the fridge at my parent’s house and forgot about until today when I saw the picture of it!].

And then we headed to the house, went to bed sort of early… because it was off to Maryland, the next day.



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