Those of you who have followed me for a while know that one of my favorite local places is Riverwinds, in West Deptford, NJ. It’s a place where I go to relax, think and renew my spirit as I stare at the Delaware River flowing by.
Across the river is the busy Philadelphia airport, far enough away that only occasionally are my thoughts interrupted by the sounds of a jet engine. In the last photo, the warm glow of sunset has faded, and night is descending on the city of Philadelphia as the lights begin to come on.
It’s important to have a go-to place when we need a little clarity in our lives. There’s nothing like sitting by the water to give life a little perspective (for me at least).
Summer would not be complete without my annual trip to Cape May. Actually, I usually travel there the last week of spring to avoid some of the craziness of the crowds that later flock to the Cape May area. My favorite part of Cape May is Cape May Point which is a mile or so outside of the quaint Victorian town. This is the area where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Delaware Bay. It is primarily a residential community with only one store/restaurant, a post office and many churches.
Catholic Church, Cape May Point
Last week, my daughter and I stayed at a cottage on Lake Lily, a thirteen-acre, fresh water lake with a colorful history. Apparently it was a special watering hole for the Kechemeche Indians. Rumors of British soldiers and Captain Kidd are intertwined in its history. Recent efforts by the Friends of Lake Lily have kept it a peaceful, healthy retreat for both humans and wildlife. I spent many relaxing moments sitting on this bench. I have to say that as much as I love sitting by the ocean, I found it more peaceful here.
View from Cottage
Swans on Lily Lake
Here are some of my photos at the point including the remnants of the S.S. Atlantus, the concrete ship that sunk off the coast in 1926. For some reason, I feel compelled to take one of the wreckage each year even though it doesn’t change very much.
At Cape May Point
At Cape May Point
Cape May Point
At Cape May Point
This area has a few excellent wineries which are fun to visit when the weather is not ideal. We spent an hour or so relaxing at nearby Willow Creek Winery.
Willow Creek Winery
At Willow Creek Winery
Recently, I discovered that my great-great grandparents retired to Cape May Point back in the 1870s after a life on the farm in Burlington County. Unfortunately, the 1880 census does not give the street address. One of the fun things we did was to eat in a French New Orleans restaurant at 410 Bank Street in the town of Cape May, a house where their grandson, and my first cousin 2x removed, lived in 1920. Maybe this family connection partially explains why I’m drawn here again and again.
410 Bank Street
So how about you? Do you have any fun summer plans?
Last week, I was back on the road for a trip to Virginia—one last getaway before winter sets in.
On the way, I stopped in Maryland on a lovely, warm day to visit fellow blogger, Robin, who was kind enough to invite me to her home for lunch. We talked as if we had know each other for years; it’s nice to discover that real friendships can develop over the internet.
When I arrived at the hotel, this lovely view of a rainbow, or two, welcomed me. I grabbed this photo with my cell phone as I hadn’t brought my camera to the room.
Virginia Beach, VA
Next morning, this was the view of the sunrise from my hotel window. The weather turned rainy and cooler after this.
Sunrise on Virginia Beach
The day I left, I stopped by Chincoteague Island, VA to see the wild ponies. None seemed to be on the beach.
Finally, I found some at quite a distance (my camera was zoomed to the max), maybe half a mile away.
Ponies on Chincoteague Island.
At the end of my journey, I stopped by Rehoboth Beach in Delaware on a very blustery day.
I find that it’s always good to get away, but just as nice to return home with an updated perspective on life. I leave you with the words of Lin Yutang ~ “No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.”
No royal blood coursed though his veins; nonetheless, he led a notable life. Arent Issacszen van Hoeck was the progenitor of the Van Hook family in the United States. Born in Hooksiel, Germany, he immigrated to Amsterdam in the 1640s where he became a Dutch citizen. In 1655, at the age of thirty-three, he traveled with his second wife, Geertje, to New Amsterdam (New York City) where fewer than 1000 people lived at the time.
Arent was a cordwainer, which was a shoemaker who produced footwear of fine, soft leather. He was not a wealthy man and from the records of court documents, he often seemed to be in financial difficulty. Perhaps it was his five wives and ten children that strained his prosperity. Six of his children lived into adulthood including Judge Lawrence (Laurens) van Hoeck who was my 7th great-grandfather. He appeared to have been a staunch member of the Dutch Reformed (Calvinist) Church with three of his marriages taking place there as well as several baptisms of his children. Arent died around 1697 when he was seventy-four, a ripe age for the times.
I am fascinated by stores of people who came to our shores in the 1600s. It had to take much strength of spirit and faith to make the eight-week trip from Europe to a barely-civilized world where Indian attacks were prevalent. There is no indication as to what inspired Arent to immigrate, but no doubt there were expectations of a better life in this new land. We will never know if his dreams were fulfilled, but we do know that a long, full life was lived by this “common” man.
Recently I spent a week in Cape May Point, New Jersey hoping to find the magic that I wrote about last year in Magical Moments. Although this trip with my daughter was just as fun and relaxing, I still hadn’t experienced that deep sense of inner peace and connection with “all there is” that I had found there previously…until the night before we left.
I love when the sun or moon sparkles on the water. It speaks to the innermost part of me in ways I can’t describe. Frolicking dolphins are a sure sign that there’s magic in the air. This is when it began for me, about an hour before sunset on Sunset Beach.
I looked at the water through the lens of my camera and the magic began (at least for me).
It’s exciting to catch a wave crashing on the shore.
Just before I left I had to capture this from the parking lot.
I hope you enjoyed sharing my special memories of Sunset Beach! Have you been to a beach lately? Any special moments you’d like to share?
I recently spent some time in Florida and want to share some of my beach photos with you. To me, there is nothing more relaxing than watching the waves come into shore and feeling the breeze blow through my hair.
Broward County, FL
Broward County. FL
Nothing frames a beach scene better than palm trees…
Punta Gorda, FL
Punta Gorda, FL
A beach is where serenity seems obtainable…
Causeway Beach, Sanibel, Island, FL
Causeway Beach, Sanibel Island, FL
The sound of the waves crashing upon the shore is the best kind of therapy…