A. and I had looked forward to getting away this past long weekend.  Our offices were closed this past Good Friday, and I took off today for some well-deserved renewal and restoration along the not so distant South Jersey shore (but far enough from New York City) along Galloway's Bay.  We are blessed to be creating our own family traditions.  Last we were at Seaview was for Thanksgiving holiday a few months after my Dad died, and we stayed in Smithville with Mom last Easter.  We were pleasantly surprised by our AAA and A.'s Stockton alumnus discounts which made our stay at Seaview (where Princess Grace Kelly celebrated her sweet sixteen) in addition to Easter brunch in Seaview's main dining room so worthwhile.  While we savored a bit of everything, my personal favorite was the clam risotto along with multiple mimosas. 

Before arriving at Seaview late Friday afternoon, A. nostalgically walked through the pine barrens of Stockton College's campus which boasts a newly constructed state-of-the-art student center.  "An environment for excellence" and home of the ospreys, Stockton's serene surroundings, including Lake Fred, provided a most restful start to our weekend.  Friday night, we enjoyed a mellow dinner at Seaview's in-house pub. 

The local Shea's Cafe just down the road featured a lovely family brunch atmosphere, and owner Lou enamored us with his neighborly and inviting persona along with his wife Wendy's culinary and no formal training skills.  How wonderful it is to sit and relax at a place where the owners know the folks who walk in and out and ask the crowd to sing happy birthday to those celebrating that day!  The highlight of our weekend was Holy Saturday.  We attended a two-and-a-half-hour Easter Vigil that began with an outdoor bonfire, which made us even more thankful for the next morning's brunch festivities.  And we managed to get in more than one visit with more than one Easter bunny throughout the entire weekend, all of whom seemed to be hopping around Smithville and Galloway.  

We look forward to sharing our family traditions with our unmatched child as we continue to await her/his arrival. 

Back at home before back to work tomorrow, the pier is my backyard sanctuary where I can walk along the bay, say nothing, and be in Spirit's presence.

May you experience renewal and restoration 
as Spring's tides wash away winter's writhings.  
May you rise and shine like the glorious sun 
which emerges from the limitless wild blue.