My family doesn't vacation like most. We are from Jersey, so the annual shore trip is a given. We pack the beach chairs, our bathing suits, and coolers high in the car and take the three-hour drive down to Wildwood Crest.
However, the way we do it, it is almost methodical. We have come down every year since before I was born and my mom has been coming since she was a baby. Same hotel. The same week in August. Same room. As I write this, I am currently on the same blue and white lounge chair positioned on the balcony facing the ocean.
My entire family has grown up coming to this hotel. My grandparents were friends with the owner. My mom, her three brothers and all her cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and family friends would come down every summer for two weeks. The entire twenty room hotel was taken over by our family.
Now, my mom is friends with their son, who now owns the hotel. Our family, just a little smaller now, takes up three rooms. We do the same activities my mom did as a child. Crabbing, going to the beach and walking the same boardwalk, losing at the same claw machines, and eating at the same restaurants.
The past two years, I have missed the annual vacation due to work conflicts, but this year I had the opportunity to come down again and nothing has changed. Often people say things haven't changed, but I mean they literally haven't changed a bit. Two whole years and I can literally walk the streets blindfolded and be able to make it to my favorite pizza spot on the boardwalk.
So, clearly, my family doesn't vacation like most and I used to dislike it. But as the oldest "kid" currently in our family group, I never realized how much I craved the idea of pure tradition.
It is one thing to return to the same place each year for vacation, but it is another level to see a place untouched by the struggle for modernity. The bedroom I stayed in had the same patterned bedspread since I was ten years old. It is not my first choice of pattern, but it is a nice homage to the years and years that I have been here.
It seems like this place is free from the outside pressures to do more, be bigger, and keep up with the other summer vacation spots. There aren't any special perks like other resorts. You don't get room service or a bellhop to take your belongings to the room. My hotel doesn't even have an elevator, but it is pretty rare to find a place where you can count on things being the same.