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NEW JERSEY

A huge shout out to Eric's awesome family for hosting us for just over a month combined, and thank everyone so much for showing us around all the wonderful areas you live in! It has been an amazing introduction to the North East, and a welcome homecoming for Eric. Our family time started after Washington D.C. When we arrived at Kathy and Kevin's place.

Kathy and Kevin live beach-side in a swanky condominium in Mommath Beach, New Jersey. It was wonderful to spend five days with them and to get a sense of life in that slice of the state. Eric grew up in New Jersey until he was about 12 years old, so he had many memories of beach days and family get-togethers by the coast. It was my first time visiting so I very much enjoyed listening to Kathy, Kevin, and Eric share stories associated with different areas while Kathy gave us the grand tour around town. We were also able to take a peek at Katie and Aarons new house in Rumson, which was drop dead gorgeous.

It gave some perspective on our life and direction to see how all the cousins were living their late 20's/30's, and we could see enjoying different aspects of every kind of lifestyle we came across during this family time. For us now, we couldn't imagine doing anything other than what we are doing, and it was nice to find reassurance with that.

However, it was also at Kathy's that we were hashing out a very big decision. Poor Kathy and Kevin listened to us talk ENDLESSLY about the pro's and con's regarding a teardrop trailer purchase. They both were wonderful listeners and really helped us see that purchasing a travel trailer is not the craziest idea in the world. Before we got to NJ we took a detour to Miller Trailer Sales in Pennsylvanian to tour the T@B and T@G trailers which were the main two types of upgrades we were looking at going forward. Eric will be writing up what we were looking for and why we chose the model we did in another blog post, so I'll save most of that for later.

A big thanks to Kathy and Kevin for giving us the time, space, and outside perspective on buying the trailer, because we are now very proud owners of the T@B by NuCamp. We drove back to Miller Trailer Sales one of the days and put our down payment on our soon to be new home so a few modifications could be done while we were in Hawaii. It was a blast to be able to come back to family and have two people besides ourselves to celebrate our first home purchase with.

We enjoyed cooking up meals in an actual kitchen and watching movies on an actual TV with Kevin as well. Our time here also allowed for us to visit with Grandpa Alberts, and attend a joint birthday party for the new additions to the Alberts family. Our last day we started with a delicious breakfast at the Kitchen Witch and headed on our way to Aunt Pat's.

Aunt Pat lives in Montclair, which is North West of Mommath Beach, along with her daughter's Elaina and Christina. I hadn't seen these Nachtigals since Elaina and Craig's never-gonna-beat-this-party-ever wedding back in 2014. Once again, it was great to get to know Eric's family outside of large gatherings.

During our time at Aunt Pat's we were able to take the bus into New York City and Eric and I walked around some new places and some old spots where we both had memories. We walked the High Line, Greenwich Village, Washington Square park, Wall street, World Trade Center Memorial, and Battery Park. It was nice to just reminisce with each other about our separate experiences in NYC, and of course, enjoy the people watching. I also had to get a bagel and lox which did not disappoint.

Luckily, Eric's folks were also in town while we stayed with Pat, so it was great to get an impromptu visit with them, and enjoy a big dinner out with the a bunch of the Nachtigal family.

Aunt Pat was so gracious to let us leave our belongings at her place, as well as letting our truck live in her driveway while we traveled to Hawaii. It was wonderful to know our 'home' was safe while we gallivanted on the beach, and I was so grateful to fly back to a warm bed and a home-cooked meal. This really made our Hawaii excursion possible, thanks Aunt Pat!

Our last stay in New Jersey was with Eric's Aunt Renie and Uncle Bob at their lake house on Beaver Lake. Aunt Renie and Uncle Bob also live out in California and have been a part of our journey since the beginning, seeing us off out in Alameda before our first drive home to Florida in 2017. It has been comforting seeing familiar faces on both coasts, and a delight to catch up with Renie and Bob since the last visit in California.

This lake house is beautiful. It is exactly what you would picture a vacation at the lake to be, decorated with lake life accessories and all the personal touches included in a house well loved. The porch was my favorite part, and Eric and I were able to enjoy a cup of coffee with the morning sun over the lake ever day. Renie and Bob invited us to the annual lake BBQ and gave us a boat tour of all the nooks and crannies around the lake. It was incredibly relaxing. Once again, seeing a different kind of life and reflecting on if it would be one we would like was refreshing. And we got ice cream 😉

Eric and I took out the kayaks a few times to fish and swim around the docks, which inspired us to look into kayaks for next year. I forgot how comfortable I am when paddling on the water, and we both love paddle camping, so another way to enjoy landscapes, besides hiking, would be great.

While we were watching the world cup game, I happen to notice a gorgeous bald eagle in a neighboring tree and had to attempt some photos. Thanks to the kayaks I was able to get pretty close!

All and all, New Jersey blew me away. I never would have thought this state to be as beautiful as it is, and I just adored getting to know all of Eric's family a bit better. It was wonderful to watch Eric walk down memory lane, and enjoy many places he frequented as a child.

Thanks again to everyone who hosted us, and invited us to share in your lives. Unquestionably, family has been the highlight of the East Coast.

11/10 would hang with Eric's family again.

Song: I can't play piano, pt 3 – John Benjamin

Click here to see the whole New Jersey album

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