Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Victorian Cape May New Jersey


It was a beautiful November weekend. My cousins were celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary and invited us along on a camping adventure. For the last four years we have been trying to plan to get down to Cape May and for one reason or another had not made it yet. We were staying at the Lake and Shore Outdoor World campground. Wanting to get an earlier start to the long weekend, we drove down to their house Wednesday night after work and parked in their driveway. It's great to have relatives and friends whose driveway can accomodate a 32 ft motorhome. People in NJ drive crazy, but people in Northern NJ drive even crazier. Before we had even gotten to the Raritan Bridge we saw two cars spun out. One in the Bloomfield area in the fast lane and one down in Edison off the shoulder. Other than that, the drive to Toms River was uneventful and DARK.

Thursday morning we continued to South Jersey to the campground. Lake and Shore is a beautiful campground which I'm certain we will be returning to again. The sights are large, there is a large lake that has a beach area and boating area. The water park was closed for the season, but from the looks of it seems very inviting.

The nights were cold and blustery. Thursday evening we put the awning back in because wind gusts were forecasted to be about 25-30 mph. It got extremely cold. We went thru about 1/3 of our propane even with the electric heater running. Thursday, after setting up our camp, we drove out to Margate to see Lucy the Margate Elephant. What a sight. That evening we enjoyed a seafood dinner in Ocean View, NJ.

Friday, we were going to go on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, but it was too windy and thought the ocean would be too choppy to enjoy the 80 minute ferry ride. We would forgo that trip till the following day. Still wanting to enjoy the day, we drove to Cape May to take in the scenery. The architecture is fascinating. All the bed and breakfasts so eloquently designed. Some with vibrant colors of pinks and purples, others more subdued in beige's and soft greens. We went shopping at a pedestrian mall lined with shops selling everything from knick knacks to fudge.

We saw lighthouses, boats, a six story elephant, quaint victorian houses. We did alot this weekend but felt relaxed and refreshed by Sunday morning when we would leave the shore and return to reality.

There is something to be said about stepping back in time to another era. A life on the sea, the sound of the waves hitting the beach, the smell of salt water. I can't wait to go back.

With winter soon approaching, it's time to put "Aggie", our trusted motorhome to sleep for awhile. We are not sure when we will be out again. If it is a mild winter, I'm sure we'll do some travelling, but if it's a wet and cold winter we'll be staying right here in Clifton. So until then,

Thanks for riding along with us on The Thomas' Trails.

Lighthouses & The Cape May Ferry

So on our trip to Cape May, Lenny promised to take me on a cruise. Ok, more like a ferry ride or as we put it...a three-hour tour. It was up and out early Saturday morning so we could catch the 11 am ferry to Lewes, DE. During the off-season, the ferry doesn't sail as often so we needed to get there for the second one. The day was cool, but the wind had died down. We found a seat in the sun for the 80 minute trip to Delaware. I have a new found love for the water. The gentle rocking of the ship, the quietness of being on the open sea was almost enough to put me to sleep. Upon our arrival in Lewes, we got off the ship to purchase our souvineers, after all Delaware has no sales tax and we had 20 minutes to kill before the return trip to NJ. Boy that 20 minutes went fast. And we were the last ones on the boat. The return trip was just as relaxing, sitting in the sun, rocking with the waves. Maybe I should buy a waterbed? Nah, maybe just one of these ships. After getting back into NJ we picked up a bite to eat at a local pizza place near Sunset beach before driving over to the Cape May Lighthouse.

The lighthouse that stands there today is not the original one. The first lighthouse was built in 1822 and lit in 1823. It was a 70 foot tall brick tower with a flashing light. It was too close to the waterline and by 1847 the tower was waterlogged and soon toppled into the ocean. A second tower was built further inland and was lit from 1847 to 1859 but that one also disappeared into the waves like the first tower. The site chosen for the third tower was even further inland and two keepers' houses were added. There are 199 steps to the top. NONE of which I climbed.

After spending some time there we ventured down to Sunset beach, the southern most point of NJ and saw the concrete ship Atlantus that ran aground there in 1926 and has slowly been disappearing ever since.

I really wanted to see the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse in North Wildwood, so up the coast we drove. Simply beautiful scenery as we drove. The lighthouse was closed, so we were only able to walk around the outside. Most NJ lighthouses are simple towers, but the Hereford property is of Victorian Stick style and the only one of its kind standing on the East Coast. More than 170 plant varieties and thousands of flowers thrive on a half-acre site that had previously been nothing more than sandy, empty lots. Hereford is a much easier climb of only 44 steps broken up by two floors of the home. Something I'm sure I can handle.

Thanks for travelling along with us on The Thomas' Trails. Till next time...


It started out a beautiful fall day. Our drive to South Jersey was uneventful. After checking in at the campground and getting set up, we decided too drive east to see Lucy the Margate Elephant. Lucy is the world's largest elephant overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Margate, NJ. She was built in 1881 by a real estate speculator who owned many parcels of open land at the Jersey shore. He built Lucy to attract visitors and potential buyers as a novelty amusement. During her history, Lucy has survived floods, hurricanes and even a fire accidentally started by some inebriated party-goers when she briefly served as a tavern. She stands six stories high, has spiral staircases in her legs and a museum in her belly. What fun to climb those narrow winding stairs up to her howdah and see the 360 degree view. A week before we got there, Lucy's tail broke from being hit by a flying canopy during a wind storm. She is a National Historic Landmark in the US. If you are ever in Margate or passing through, stop by Lucy and say hi. The view is spectacular.

Thanks for riding along with us on The Thomas' Trails.

Sunday, October 18, 2009




Grab a cup of coffee, it's time to sit back and catch up on a good read. First, let me give you our itinerary so you can keep up with us. 1.Leave Clifton to Lancaster to drop off car at in-laws hotel. Lenny drove the RV, Chrissy and me drove the car. 2. After we dropped off the car in Lancaster, PA, drive to Mt. Crawford, VA., 3. drive back to Lancaster, pick up our car and spend time with Len's family, 4. Len drives RV home, me and Chrissy drive car home. We left on Wednesday headed down to Mt. Crawford, Virginia to the Green Valley Book Fair http://www.gvbookfair.com/. We had heard of this book fair from friends of ours who full-time in their RV. This place is only open for two weeks every two months. They buy back overstocks, damaged books, etc. and then sell them for 60% - 90% off cover price. All of us being avid readers, we decided to take some time off work and travel south. Our first night, we stopped and stayed in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel, off I-81 in West Virginia. It's great travelling in a motorhome. You stop when you get tired and spend the night. The following morning we had a hearty breakfast. I thoroughly enjoyed the grits and the biscuits and gravy, while my daughter chose a much healthier option. Doesn't it look inviting. It's good to know that wherever you are you can eat healthy. About an hour into our trip, Len noticed the battery level decreasing. If it's not one thing it's another. Well, we pulled off and went to the truck stop. They were able to charge our battery but said it looked like the alternator was bad and they don't work on RV's. They sent us off to a Ford dealership off the next exit. The people at Muhlenberg Ford were great. A.J. took good care of us and got us back on the road the same day, but not wanting to sit at the dealership all day, we opted to rent a car from Enterprise. They were the closest and on the same property. Shawn took good care of us and got us in a car in no time. We continued in our rental car south to the book fair where we shopped till we dropped. Talk about books. If was huge. We walked and we shopped, cookbooks, mystery's, childrens books, you name it they had it. Even best sellers. We were all in our glory. Chrissy purchased 28 hardcover books and only spent just over $100. I didn't count how many we bought, but we spent about the same and I can now say that Christmas shopping has begun. While we were still there, AJ called to say our coach was ready for pickup. We finished our shopping and drove back to pick up our "home". It was still pretty early so we drove north and back into PA before stopping for the night at a Wal- Mart. Our first night in "Wally World". It's great to be able to just pull of the road for the night, but boy was it noisy. The garbage men were by around 4:30 AM banging away with those dumpsters. Needless to say, we got an early start that day to Lancaster, PA. We were at my in-laws hotel by lunchtime to pick up our car and headed to our campground to set up. My sister-in-law and her family were joining us, but decided to stay at the same hotel as her mom and dad because everyone had colds and it was bad weather to be sleeping in a tent. That afternoon we all met at the Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster to see "In the Beginning". It was a wonderful show. We all enjoyed it. The next day was devoted to more shopping and swimming. We met at the Rockvale outlets on Rt 340 in Lancaster and walked the entire place, at least it seemed that way. Then it was off to the Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market. Wow, can these people cook and bake. We had the most amazing caramel popcorn, the sweetest whoopi pies, and some hot chocolate. (Please don't tell my doctor). The quilts we saw were beautiful. I have always wanted an Amish quilt. This time my dream came true when Lenny insisted on buying me one. I love the wedding ring pattern and the colors in this one would match the interior of our RV. Tired of shopping, we all went back to the campground for dinner and a swim. Circle M is located on the other side of Lancaster so we took back roads to get there and saw an Amish schoolhouse on the way. Lots of horse and buggies too. The kids all went to the indoor waterpark at the campground while us adults stayed at the coach and chilled out. Our nephew signed up with the National Guard, so this is probably one of the last camping trips we'll be able to take with him before he goes off to boot camp next year after he finishes high school. It was a great time finding bargains and spending time with family. Cherish the time with your loved ones. You never know when those days will end. Thanks for going along for the ride with us. Stayed tuned, you never know where we'll end up next in our RV. We love you, but more important, God loves you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day Weekend 2009

The chill of autumn has arrived. This weekend Lenny and I went away to Triple Brook Campground in Hope, NJ. Two nights away are better than none. We were meeting up with my cousins from down the shore. I had checked the weather but did I plan accordingly...WHO ME??? No way. Good thing we keep winter coats in the motorhome. Lenny drove up early in the afternoon on Friday, I had to work till 4pm so I drove up later in our new to us red Saturn LW300. Fancy word for station wagon. After sitting in traffic for over an hour, I finally arrived at the campground around 6. It was a crisp, cool evening and the rain held off until after we sat around the fire. By morning the rain had stopped. Lenny and I decided to go to PA for a nice drive and some shopping at Wal-Mart. On the way home we drove south on 611 thru the Delaware Water Gap. The leaves are just starting to turn vibrant reds and yellows. Just past the trolly tours we turned left and found a wonderful place for lunch. If you're ever driving in the area be sure to check out the Village Farmer. They had all sorts of homemade breads, cookies, pies and cakes. They also had homemade pot-pies. Their selection that day consisted of chicken, turkey, a mexican pot pie, shepherds pot pie and mac n cheese pot pie. Lenny and I ordered the latter two and shared them. The also had fresh apple cider. The best part was our seating. They offered indoor and outdoor seating. We chose to eat outside because it was beautiful out and scenery could not be better. They had a gazebo and picnic tables along a stream with waterfalls. We continued on 611 south to Portland where we crossed the Delaware River back into NJ and back to the campground where we shared some Apple Cinnamon Crumb Cake with my cousins. So yummy.
That night my cousins came over to our sight where we had a roaring fire burning and roasted marshmallows. It amazes me how fast you can go thru a large bag of marshmallows. They were so good. Gazing at the stars we were able to see Venus. I told Lenny we need to invest in a good telescope. A book about constellations would help us too. The sky was so clear but so cold. Drinking coffee at 8pm just to warm up is not a good thing to do. At least not at my age. That night I had such trouble falling asleep. Such a good weekend. Two days until our next trip. Stay tuned as we travel along.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Greenwood Lake Airshow & WWII re-enactment

OK, I'm still getting the hang of this blogging thing. It seems I should add my pictures first and then write the script to go along with it. Maybe next time, it will work better.

Wow, what an awesome day. Another first for us. I had never been to an airshow so this was rather exciting. We arrived early at the airport in West Milford, NJ and enjoyed our coffee and doughnuts. Hey, we run on Dunkin too. Just ask my friends at work, I love my iced coffee in the afternoon. Anyway, back to Saturday...There was an awesome encampment of WWII re-enactors both American and German and lots of planes. When the show started they had two female sky divers jump from a plane, one with an American flag as everyone stood to the playing of our national anthem. Why you would jump from a perfectly good plane is beyond me, but it was a sight to behold. There were many performers there from bi-planes to WWII aircraft to precision flying. And Saturday was the perfect day to sit outside and watch. It was a little cool out but when the sun was shining it warmed up a bit. I did get sunburn on my face but that's ok, give it a day or two and it will fade. We took well over 100 pictures, some just clouds (boy those planes go fast) and some with just part of the plane (usually the tail) but the majority came out great, so instead of writing about I will show you in pictures...enjoy as we travel along the Thomas' Trails...

Janis & Lenny

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Sunday started out as a beautiful day. We got together with friends, fired up the motorhome and headed north to the Sussex County Grilling Competition. Having never been there, we were not quite sure what to expect so we left early in the morning, o.k. not that early, about 8. We wanted to get a good spot and relax a little. After we arrived at the fairgrounds, we set up the table and chairs and had a great breakfast. Bev and Lou bought bagels, lox, cream cheese. We had everything necessary, especially the coffee. Nothing better than sitting back on a Sunday morning catching up with old friends. We watched as all the classic cars rolled in and saw the smokers in the distance gearing up for an afternoon of grilled meat and veggies. There were all sorts of competitors there grilling and smoking all sorts of beef, pork, chicken, wild game, fruits and vegetables. We enjoyed many different flavors and styles of cooking and some were not as tasty, but hey it was free. Tired from all the walking and eating, Bev and Jan relaxed at the motorhome while Lenny and Lou went to check out the classic car show. Even the "General Lee" was there followed by the cops. On the way home, we stopped at the Mahlon Dickerson campground to empty our holding tanks. It looks like a beautiful place to camp and the price is reasonable. We plan to check it out in the future. On our way there, I noticed the passenger side wall of our motorhome was moving, something it's not supposed to do. Len didn't realize how bad it was until Jan decided to drive the coach for a while so he could sit in the back and see. Yes, it's bad, but we are checking into places to get it fixed. Until then, "Aggie" our motorhome sits in the driveway. Hopefully able to be fixed by the time we are going to Virginia in three weeks. This weekend, it's off to the airshow. Another first for us as we've never been to one. Hope you enjoy travelling with us on the Thomas' Trails...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Summer is Over, but not Camping Season

Wow, it amazes me how quickly time flies. It seems like just last week we were preparing for a busy camping season and now we're making plans for winterizing our beloved 32' Coachman Santara. March had us freezing our booties off down the Jersey shore with my cousins. There, they introduced us to Sonic hamburgers which only recently moved into our area. We climbed Barnegat Lighthouse and went to the Popcorn Park Zoo. We have been to the mountains of Vermont twice. The second time with our niece and nephew (both teenagers). We had a great time showing them the countryside and introducing them to two of my favorite men. Yup, Ben and Jerry. Len went to the NASCAR race at Pocono. We've been down the Jersey shore a few times. Gotta love those relatives with a big enough driveway for us to park in. We spent our anniversary at Gettysburg. I wanted to re-enact the civil war but Lenny didn't want to play the southern role. What an interesting place. A definite must do again on my list. We also went on the Utz Factory tour. Free chips at the end. Yeah! This year has also been a year of firsts in our travels. For the first time, we slept in a truck stop in New York, first time to Ben and Jerry's, first time travelling with kids that weren't ours. Finally had the opportunity to eat at a Golden Corral Buffet. I'm still stuffed. In August we went to the Ice Cream Festival in Toms River, NJ and in September we will be going to a grilling competition in Sussex County, NJ and an air show in West Milford, NJ. A few more firsts are yet to come. Next month we will be travelling to Virginia to check out the Green Valley Book Fair (http://www.gvbookfair.com/), and seeing a show at Sight and Sound theatres in Lancaster, PA. We will be ending our season in November down in the Cape May area of NJ. Probably freezing our booties off once more. So while we may not travel as much as we want, we have travelled alot this year.

I'll be posting on an irregular basis to this blog, so we'll see how it goes. Follow along on our uncharterd trails...

Janis & Lenny