A few days ago I had a socially distant staycation at The Caribbean Motel in Wildwood, NJ. Since the pandemic has put all of my travel plans on the back burner for the remainder of the year (RIP Paris), I wanted to try and make the most of the summer and plan some local adventures. I am originally from the South Jersey area, so I grew up going to the Jersey Shore every summer. I hadn’t been to Wildwood since I was very young, so I was excited to go back and check out all the 1950’s design and architecture it has to offer.
The Caribbean Motel was built in 1957. The current owners, Carolyn and George, purchased it back in 2004, and they’ve done an amazing job of updating the property while still preserving the atomic era design. There is a pool and shuffleboard court which guests can use. Both have been recently updated, but still pay homage to the property’s original amenities. The rooms were also clean and modern, but still hold on to the best parts of the past. During the day they play ’60s music outside by the pool. The speaker system is also hooked up in the rooms, so you can blast some retro tunes inside and really get in the mood. Carolyn told me the faux wood paneling is also original from the ’50s which they discovered accidentally while remodeling. I also loved the original 1950’s pink fixtures in the bathroom as well.
This was the first time staying in a hotel since the pandemic really hit, so although I was excited, I was also a bit hesitant. I read some articles about whether or not it was safe to stay in a hotel before the trip. Since health experts agree the most common way Covid-19 is transmitted is from person to person, the biggest risk staying in a hotel poses is the other guests you would encounter, say while checking in at the lobby or riding in an elevator. The Caribbean did a great job making sure people were socially distant. Upon checking in, only 1 person/family was allowed in the office at one time, and both Carolyn (who checked me in) and I wore masks while she got me situated. The keys were old school, but she assured me that they were all wiped down and sanitized between guests. As you can imagine, due to the pandemic, the motel capacity was a lot less than a typical summer. Since there was only a few other guests, there was plenty of room to spread out at the pool area. One day my sister and I even had the whole area to ourselves. They also limited how many people went in the actual pool at one time. They had soap and hand sanitizer readily available in the pool, office and other common areas. Our room was super clean as well when we arrived, but I did bring a bottle of Clorox wipes and sanitized the room myself just to be safe.
Overall, we had a great stay at The Caribbean and I can’t wait to come back again. If you’d like to learn more about the motel or book a stay, check out their website here.
*The Caribbean was kind enough to comp my room in exchange for this blog post and photos, but all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.
Although NYC is still on lockdown and the Coronavirus has certainly not disappeared, it feels like we're slowly closing the chapter on COVID-19 (for now anyway). I think I'm feeling this shift for a few reasons. Although the threat of the virus is still very real, the number of cases, hospital admissions and deaths have all significantly dropped in my area. I think it's also due to the fact that people are trying to reclaim as much normalcy as they can, especially now that Memorial Day has passed and summer is officially here. And most importantly, with the Black Lives Matter protests that have irrupted in the last week, it feels like Coronavirus has taken a back seat in comparison.
This time period will undoubtedly go down in history for many reasons, but it was definitely a time for personal growth and reflection as well. In some ways, quarantine felt like a time I'd want to erase from my memory forever, but I think it's important to document what you learned and felt, so I wanted to commemorate it with a blog post:
favorite TV shows + movies I watched:
favorite quarantine activity: TikTok
I downloaded TikTok over the summer, but I really didn't "get it". I thought it was for high schoolers, and I really couldn't imagine what kinds of videos I could create on there. Since I had more time during quarantine, I finally spent more time on the app and I understood it more. It's been fun to experiment with, and there are honestly some hilarious videos on there, which provided some much needed laughs during this dark time. I know a lot of people on Instagram said they felt like they had no energy to be creative during the pandemic, but for me, creating for social media was a great distraction.
something I accomplished:
Although I gave myself permission to not be productive 100% off the time while in quarantine, I did use this time to finally do a few things I had been putting off for months. One of those things on my to-do list was to design merchandise. I have been thinking about designing my own t-shirts, tote bags, pins, etc for a while now, and I finally got around to it. It took a few weeks for the samples to arrive, but they finally did last week, so I've started photographing them so I can post about them soon. I'm really excited to finally see my ideas come to life.
something I learned:
Pre-quarantine, I was constantly on the go, especially on weekends. I am someone who always aims to make the most out of life. I never want to feel like I missed out on something or that I let time or an opportunity pass me by, so my weekends are rarely spent at home just relaxing and watching Netflix. When quarantine first hit, I couldn't imagine sitting home for the ENTIRE weekend, and now here we are, 12 weeks later, every weekend spent at home.
At first, thinking about having to stay home and not being able to go out to a restaurant or museum or vintage store made me feel claustrophobic, but when it came down to it, I actually didn't hate being home as much as I thought I would. Most of this is probably due to the fact that everyone I know was at home, so I couldn't have FOMO. However, I also realized I didn't actually hate cooking or relaxing at home, like I had previously proclaimed. In reality, I had been avoiding being in my own apartment because my current roommate and her boyfriend were constantly there, acting as if it was their own apartment. She's since moved out and now having a taste at living alone, I realize how much happier and relaxed it would make me, so figuring out how to make this happen is a goal I'm currently trying to work on.
some photos I'm proud of:
Taking photos while restricted to my apartment or my mom's house was challenging, but I managed to take a few photos that I'm proud of. Here are a few of my favorites: