For the last leg of our trip Erin and I were shown all around New Jersey by our friends Shawn and Stephanie. We started on Friday by packing their car with camping gear and heading down to Cape May on the southern tip of the state. We started off with a picnic at the lighthouse and a walk around the coastal marshes for some bird watching. We continued with a walk along the beach looking for "Cape May Diamonds", pieces of glass that had been worn smooth by sand and tides. After a while we sought out our campground and set up our tents before heading back into the city. There we strolled the streets before having one of our best dinners at "Bank Street" with a marvelous array of seafood including soft-shell crab and a delicious ceviche. Before long we returned to our campground to get some sleep.
The next day we packed up camp and headed back into town. We had a delicious breakfast at the Mad Batter before spending some time out on the beach. It was nice to lay around a bit with the sound of the waves in the background. Next we strolled through the local "Strawberry Festival" which actually looked more like the town had a large yard sale since there were only two stalls that had any strawberries. With that we left the sleepy town with its Victorian style houses stopping just briefly for ice cream in the next town over before heading back to Shawn and Stephanie's house. After getting cleaned up we went out to meet some of their friends at a good, inexpensive Mexican food place called Cinco de Mayo. It was so filling that we felt the urge to walk some of it off as we made our way to a martini bar. It was very nice getting to know the friends Alicia and Byron over dinner and drinks.
On Sunday we slept in before driving with Stephanie up to Harrimon National Park in New York for some hiking. While the trails were oftentimes difficult to understand (giving us a longer walk than intended) and a rain storm drenched us in the middle of our hike, the countryside was gorgeous and we had a wonderful time. Getting back in time to get cleaned up we went out to dinner at another fancy restaurant that Stephanie used to work at. The food was very good and we were feeling very satisfied.
Monday morning we got up early as Stephanie drove us to the airport. We are very thankful to her and Shawn for the wonderful hospitality they provided us (just as we were thankful for the hospitality that Kevin and Amy showed us in Baltimore). It was a great weekend and a great end to fantastic trip. As we returned to Denver we were also thankful for Erin's mom who picked us up. It allowed us to visit our friends Pete and Leah who were in Denver preparing for their own trip. As they head out to Europe for a few weeks we're happy for them, but we're also very glad to be back in our own home and sleep in our own bed.