I would like to travel more with our baby. I would also like to have staff. Instead, as I piled bags, diapers, toys, pack-‘n-play and other gear on the living room floor for my husband to pile in the trunk, I felt the familiar travel-with-infant drag. Why are we even bothering? I moaned. This is too much work, especially since we’ll no doubt spend half our time trying to contain our expressive little guy in the confines of a bed-and-breakfast at the Shore. A very fancy B&B at that, I realized, as we tooled down Ocean Avenue toward the Spring Lake Inn, and the beachfront mansions announced that we’d arrived at a part of the Shore as ritzy as it is quietly residential. But when we stepped onto the inn’s wide front porch (rockers waiting) and then into the elegant but welcoming first floor, I started to relax. It was peaceful and quiet, but far from stuffy.
By allowing kids but limiting them to a few discreetly positioned rooms in their circa-1888 mansion, Spring Lake owners Andy and Barbara Seaman maintain a rare equilibrium of restful and family-friendly. The inn, for instance, offers an exceptional breakfast — in a dining room with more than enough elbow room to feed your kid Cheerios. The recently renovated parlor has a clubby feel, but kids’ videos, too. But the biggest draw here — in summer as well as fall — is the wondrous simplicity of getting to the beach, just one block away. With beach tags, towels and chairs provided, you just grab and go, walking the well-kept sidewalks of what was once called the Irish Riviera.
As we pushed our (quiet!) little guy along the non-commercial boardwalk covering the town’s two-mile stretch of clean and quiet beach, it occurred to me that we were having ourselves a good day — but more to the point for any new parents, a fantastically easy one.