One of the things many of us missed for more than a year as we dealt with the pandemic was getting together with large groups of family and friends.  For many reasons it was virtually impossible to do so without going through a list of precautions that would simply put a damper on the festivities.  Now that we can return to these type of gatherings it’s another reminder of what we truly missed.

Take for example a birthday party for a one-year old which my grandson Carter was deprived of last June not that he noticed.  When my son Brandon was one back in the summer of 1986 we threw a heck of a backyard party, complete with a clown who will always be remembered for arriving in full costume while driving a red Trans Am. By the way Brandon was miserable that very hot July day as he was teething and spent most of the party crying, sleeping or being held.  He didn’t have any fun.

My point sort of is that by losing out on a first birthday party that he wouldn’t really enjoy Carter’s big one took place on Saturday for his second birthday and it turned out to spectacular.  Brandon and his wife Jill (who has the same June 7th birthday as Carter) moved into their first home in Waldwick (Bergen County) in the fall and this was a chance for them to have their inaugural outdoor party in what is a huge backyard.  It was like a big fun zone for the 70 adults and children with games and things to do for everyone and the weather was ideal.  Carter was running around having a great time and especially loved it when the Good Humor Ice Cream Truck made a scheduled stop…I forgot how good a chocolate éclair tasted.


What I did remember though was that I’m pretty good at “beer pong” and along with my partner we polished off both my son and daughter.  That was a nice feeling as was being together with so many family members and friends to celebrate a happy occasion.

The Williams Family celebrating Carter's 2nd birthday

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.