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It was only two days away from it all, but it was two days of fun, fascination and cherished little moments.

Unable to afford a few days chillaxing at the beach, my kiddos and I took a cue from my next-door neighbors who take day trips to the shore. They spend time on the Boardwalk watching the waves and people and perusing the shops.

For us, a day on the beach would mean heading home covered in sand and most likely some sunburn. How about an overnight trip instead? Spend a day at the beach and another day hitting some sights along the shore.

I hit up hotels.com to book a room at a bargain price. Searching the website proves interesting, especially when reading the reviews that could help make or break a decision to stay close to the beach or in a nearby town.

I chose an inn about 15 minutes outside Atlantic City. Indoor pool, complimentary breakfast and a refrigerator and microwave in the room were among the amenities included in a price that fell below $100. Most reviewers gave a rating of 3.5 or higher out of a possible five stars. It beat some of the two stars bestowed on accommodations available at the beach.

The kiddos, their dad and I set out for the seashore at 6 a.m. last Thursday and made beautiful timing, setting up in the sand by 10 a.m. We frolicked in the waves, played in the sand and enjoyed a lunch of subs and such that I packed the previous evening.

We checked into our hotel by mid-afternoon. While dad napped, the kids and I hit the hotel pool. (I resolve the fact that I gave birth to two merfolk!  Ha ha.)

We showered, changed and headed to the Absecon Lighthouse for an evening climb and a visit with a college friend who works there, followed by a late dinner. We crashed before midnight!

After a hearty breakfast and cordial checkout (staff was wonderful) the next day, we headed to Margate to visit Lucy, known as the world’s largest elephant who has overlooked the Atlantic for 134 years. Jumping in the car, we headed south to Cape May Point to climb the lighthouse there and to Sunset Beach to see what’s left of the concrete ship USS Atlantus and pick some colorful stones from the sand and a Cape May diamond or two (and we did find one!).

To end our trip, we traveled north again to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Boardwalk at Wildwood, staying to enjoy the Friday night fireworks.

Another night or two at the seashore would have been splendid, but we made the most of our brief trip. It was nice to get away and savor the seashore, even just for a little while. …