Avalon has long conjured images for me of dashing medieval knights with drawn swords, rough beards and jeweled armor but, I was finally able to put that image to rest after this weekend.
In addition to being the legendary paradise where King Arthur's sword was forged, Avalon is a petite beach town in New Jersey. It's a paradise in its own right with local restaurants, women's boutiques, pancake houses and beachy furniture shops. Everything is walkable, including access to the beach.
Avalon was the perfect location for my cousin La's bachelorette weekend and we stayed at the beautiful home that she and her sister, Kate purchased together a few years ago. There's so much to do in Avalon for a big group of girls at a Bachelorette Party!
If you want to stay there too, it's available for rent!
Avalon is about an hour's drive from Philadelphia and an easy nonstop, 6 hour flight from Los Angeles. Tine picked me up at 5:30am <yes, I'm nominating her for sister of the year award> in Dede's olive green Mini-Cooper and kicked off our trip to the shore.
Quick stops included Wawa for coffee and Dollar Tree for gift bags and balloons - we were so giddy with excitement that we even asked the checkout guy how much the balloons were. Everything is still $1, in case you were curious.
Kate set up a picturesque champagne buffet for the bride-to-be with streamers, fun cups and plenty of white wine.
In preparation for the massive quantity of weekend snacks, Kate and I even built this IKEA IVAR shelf together! We had some serious quality time - catching up on life, nonprofit management, the construction business, our husbandz, moving to Los Angeles, her sweet daughter Nolan's affinity for Saturday morning donuts and why is it so befuddling to build IKEA furniture! After trial, error and a whole lot of patience, we completed the project and it's lookin' great for Summer 2017.
On Saturday morning, we took Island Aerobics with Carol Reitter Elia, which was one of the best fitness classes I've ever taken. It was challenging, engaging, and targeted muscles I've used, maybe never. Carol is 51 years old and PACKED with energy. It's impossible to leave her class without feeling inspired. And sore. So sore. For days. But worth it.
You know it's good when the class uses drumsticks
La and I walked home from class together and she told me the story of how her fiancé, Taylor proposed! After moving furniture all morning, he surprised her in front of the restaurant, Tortilla Flats, the name of the restaurant where they met in New York.
My cousin Lindsay got engaged here too on the beach so Avalon seems like theeeeeeeee place for my cousins to get engaged.
Later in the day, we took a stretch limo over to Willow Creek Winery in nearby Cape May and enjoyed a farm and vineyard tour before a brief tasting. It was perfectly low key for the La key bride.
Our tour guide told us that the trade winds are the reason grapes grow so well in this area, although the pinot noir grapes need to be removed from the vine immediately or they will spoil. The owner even have has coops out back that they call "Rooster Rehab" where former cockfighting roosters can live the rest of their days in peace. We learned about the sensitive terroir, the lavender and artichoke gardens and the art classes they host throughout the year in their studio.
Luckily the rain held out during our tour!
Tine was an excellent wingwoman for the tasting!
Avalon was the ideal setting for a perfectly la-key bachelorette with 14 of her closest girlfriends and cousins. We laughed through 50 Shades Darker, ate ice cream sundaes, watched La open lingerie and guess the gifter, and relaxed in our comfiest clothes.
I'm grateful to have such fun family who I'd fly across the country for!
To all those who adventure unabashedly,