As the saying goes, summer deserves a speeding ticket! It surely does fly by, fast. I had been longing to get to the beach with Baby Blue since Memorial Day. But, it wasn’t until late August before Blue’s tiny toes hit the sand. Scott and I took Baby Blue to Wildwood Crest~New Jersey, with friends for a mini 2-night stay. Last week, we celebrated my birthday with a five day stay in Avalon, NJ. This was our official end-of-summer vacation with Baby Blue. And, it was well worth the wait!
The Icona ~Avalon, NJ
First off, if you live in New Jersey, September is the best time to spend down the shore. The ocean water is gloriously warm. The crowds have started to thin out. Most attractions, restaurants, shops, etc. are still open (for the first few weeks). And, best of all, the rates are so much lower!
We stayed at the recently renovated Icona hotel, right on the border of Avalon and Stone Harbor, New Jersey. (IMHO, both are the prettiest beach towns in southern, New Jersey.) Anyway, the new and improved Icona is stunning. It’s decorated beautifully~with a crisp, summer-white coastal feel. The rooms are gorgeous with upgraded kitchenettes, spacious bathrooms (marble-tiled, throughout), and comfortable beds. The property is spotless. It almost has a Ft. Lauderdale feel, in that there are palm trees in the adjacent beach-bar and cabana area. I actually felt like I was in Florida! In fact, if New Jersey didn’t experience cold winters, I’d opt for the Southern New Jersey shore over flying to Florida. Especially with resorts like the Icona!
As I mentioned, staying in September (after Labor Day), has its benefits. The rates for the Icona can be close to $700 for a standard studio room, during the weekends, throughout the summer. However, Scott and I paid a fraction of that for the same experience. In fact, it was very sunny and very hot all week. Perfect!
I loved how there was carpeting in the room~ Very clean, I might add! With no odors or even those perfume-y, fragranced odors. (I hate that.) Baby Blue was able to crawl around, as the room in general was relatively baby-proof. Overall, it was a perfect size. So, we were able to order a crib which fit perfectly in front of the pull-out sofa.
The property, overall, was just beautiful and immaculate!
The only thing I did not like about the Icona was that the cabanas were ridiculously priced. $250 for three hours. Needless to say, every cabana was empty. Granted, Avalon is one of the top ten most expensive beach towns in the US, according to Business Insider. But, as Scott said, who would pay that much for a cabana when they can get a room, for 24-hours, for the same price?! Thankfully, the pool area was adorned with dozens of loungers and umbrellas. Maybe by next summer, the prices of the cabanas will be adjusted.
Scott, Baby Blue, and I thoroughly enjoyed our laid back days in both Avalon and Stone Harbor.
We enjoyed a nice breakfast out, each morning. We actually did a taste test at three locations and found the best place for omelettes and pancakes! It was called the Fishin’ Pier Grille.
We loved everything about this place! The location: It is the only restaurant on the Avalon Boardwalk. It’s a cozy place that truly has that authentic beach-y feel. The food (of course): Hands down, best pancakes and omelets in Avalon (and Stone Harbor, NJ). The price: Even for being in the most expensive beach town, around, the prices on the menu were relatively modest and well worth the quality of the food. I wish we had a Fishin’ Pier Grille in Mullica Hill!
Dinner in Avalon, NJ
Our favorite dinner, hands down, in Avalon was Cafe Loren. Scott took me here, on my birthday.
I liked how this place was decorated. (Even though that is not as important to Scott and me as is the quality of the food.) I also like how it was BYOB. So, Scott picked up one of my favorite bottles of wine (Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio). The food was extraordinary! So fresh and so delicious! The service was also wonderful. Baby Blue was in rare form, this evening. (It’s hit or miss, dining with a ten-month old!) So, unfortunately, Scott and I had to literally tag-team with walking Baby Blue, outside, while one of us was eating. It’s ok, though! I enjoyed every second of this evening. We’ll definitely be returning again, next summer!
I think Baby Blue had as much fun, if not more, than Scott and me, during our time in Avalon! He loved our room at the Icona. It was spacious and fairly baby-proof. So he was able to crawl around a lot! The first two nights were rough because being so close to mommy and daddy were temptation for him to cry to be held. It’s ok though. Scott and I took turns, the first few nights, in holding him. By the third night, Blue slept like a rock, in his crib. All night long. (We rented our crib from Wildwood Rental Supply. Their cribs are spacious and comfortable. Great price. Great service.)
Overall, this was such a wonderful and special way to end the summer. Scott and I spent quality, uninterrupted time with Baby Blue. I enjoyed every minute with my little family.
My birthday always falls near Labor Day. Being together with Scott and Blue was such a great way to end a year, and start a new one. My wish is that we will be adopting Baby Blue! He’s turning 11 months in a few days. I’ll be providing an update soon on where things stand with his foster-to-adopt situation. (Have you signed up for my newsletter, yet?!)