When I learned that the only campground Lee could find near Wilmington, DE was in New Jersey I got kind of excited. I lived in Clementon, NJ when I was 9 years old and had not been back since. Turns out the town I lived in was less than an hour from where we were staying, and so I decided to take a Friday off so I could see it. (In case you are wondering, btw, how I have so many vacation days, the short answer is I didn’t take any until a few months ago. COVID and furloughs conspired to keep me working and now I have lots of days left to use or lose.) Anyway, not only would I be able to see if I could find our old apartment but I would also get to see the Berlin Farmer’s Market. More about that later.
First we had to get there though, so we drove up Maryland to the east of D.C., into Delaware, and crossed the river into New Jersey. The Four Seasons campground was surprisingly large, well over 400 sites, and once again was mostly seasonal and permanent sites. And once again the transients were put in less than ideal sites, but at least this time there was a HUGE dog area for Jack close by, just a few feet from our rig. Cell coverage was once again a struggle, but I muddled through, and at least it didn’t rain very much. (Since the cell signal was weak I decided to not use it at all, and leave it for Tracy, so I used the campground WiFi, which was pretty decent, but needed a boost from the Winegard. The WiFI was good and stable, but we were just far enough from the nearest antenna that it needed just a little push. – Lee)
On Friday we got up pretty early and headed out. I asked both of my parents what they remembered about that particular apartment and between the two of them and some Googling we managed to find it. It didn’t look much like I remembered, but it has been over 40 years, and things do change.
After we toured the small town of Clementon and unfortunately nothing resembled my admittedly sketchy memories we headed to Berlin Farmer’s Market. When I was a kid we used to go there often and my parents would give me a little pocket money to buy what I wanted. I remembered it as a HUGE place with lots of stalls, food, and fresh fruits and vegetables. In this case my memory did NOT disappoint. As we were walking through I recognized several places that still exist and sent pictures to my parents who recognized them as well. It was a really cool experience and Lee said it explained a lot about the types of places I have always liked to go when we were first married.
As I was walking through I thought quite a bit about my friend Kelly who is a Jersey Girl but has never been here. I thought everyone knew about it. Sent her this picture though to say hi!
Other booths I recognized were:
Let me stop here and talk about this bakery. First of all: totally amazing. But MOST importantly I got an eclair. Do you know how sometimes you remember a food from childhood and can never quite duplicate it or find it again? You start to think that maybe you are misremembering because you never see it out in the world. Well that’s eclairs for me. But guess what? It is a REAL thing and these are THE BEST eclairs ever. First off, the chocolate is real milk chocolate. The pastry is flaky and most important the center is filled with real, white cream. Not yellow stuff or some fake cream, but the real deal. My eyes rolled back in my head when I took my first bite. I gave Lee one as well and he agreed…the best! (and now I have diabetes. – Lee)
That wasn’t all though because they also had real Philadelphia water ice. This is another thing that isn’t like anything else, and believe me I tried. It doesn’t taste like a Slushy, or Slurpee, or even the frozen Italian ice in the store. It is it’s own unique thing and although it wasn’t as good as the eclair it was still pretty awesome! (This was really cool to see. She’s been talking about these Water Ice things for 30 years, and I always thought she was crazy, but here they are. I tasted it. It gave me diabetes. How is anyone alive in New Jersey???? – Lee)
(That is the look of someone who is tasting something for the first time in over 40 years and it’s exactly what they remember. She looks like a little kid. – Lee)
When I was 10 through 12 we lived in Philadelphia and they would bring these around on a bicycle in a cart that kept them frozen. They were pretty cheap so I was almost always allowed to have one and they will always taste like Philadelphia to me.
After we left the Farmers Market there was still lots of day left so we decided to head “Down the Shore”. I have been many many times, but Lee had never really had the experience. Instead of heading to Atlantic or Ocean City we instead went to Wildwoods, and it was a cool experience. I had never been there and the whole town has a huge vibe. Since it is out of season we had no trouble finding parking and took Jack to run along the beach. Visiting places like this can be really fun in the off season, especially when the weather is as nice as that day was. It was practically deserted, and everything was closed.
And off course Jack had an amazing time. He learned how to chase sea birds for the first time and it was really fun to watch him.
Next up Wilmington, DE and one of the most gorgeous weather days I have ever experienced in November.
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