So to extend our beach trip a little bit, I thought I'd relax after all that work and write about our week. I love the beach. LOVE. You can't help but feel happy, relaxed, and at ease there. No one is in a bad mood there. Everyone's chill.
That being said, vacations are a TON of work (the prep, the packing - I hate packing!, the getting there and getting back, the unpacking, the cleaning) and they can be expensive, too. But I love the beach, so where's a transporter when you want one?
We visited Delaware for a beautiful week at the beach. We've been going there every year in a row for 5 years so far, plus we went with friends a few years before that streak as well. We're becoming pros at knowing the ins and outs of spending time there.
The weather can be cooler or warmer at this time of year. Generally, though, it's beautiful. We got great weather this year!
We love our off-season beach trips for several reasons: they're cheaper; it's less crowded for traffic and parking; the weather is beautiful; parking is free; restaurants have deals enticing locals back after tourist seasons; shops offer discounts because it's after summer; beach rentals are plentiful and far less expensive; we can take our dog on the beach all day; the beach is essentially ours. I mean, sure there are others there, but it's so NOT crowded. Lots of space between everyone . . . friendly people . . . beautiful weather . . . dogs . . . sandy beach . . . dolphins . . . it's lovely.
We have certain traditions there - candy shops we like, restaurants we love, go karts we ride. Oh, and it's all tax-free shopping down there, by the way. Mostly, our day-to-day vacationing goes like this:
Leisurely eat breakfast and get ready.
Mark packs us delicious lunches using food we buy at Trader Joe's on the way there.
Get to beach late morning.
Eat lunch/snacks there (food always tastes better at the beach), read books, play in sand, read more, play in waves, listen to music, sit and think, read more, stare at beautiful ocean, take pictures, see dolphins, read, walk on beach, collect sea shells, play frisbee, sit and talk, relax . . . you get the idea.
ALL DAY LONG.
Then around dinner time, we reluctantly decide to pack up our stuff and go back to our beach house to change for dinner.
We pick an always-fantastic restaurant for dinner and eat great meals.
We walk around the boardwalk shops - candy shops, book shops, souvenir shops, fudge shops, t-shirt shops, popcorn shops, taffy shops, ice cream shops, etc. and get some kind of dessert to enjoy while we browse.
Back to the beach house for games and/or movies.
Get to bed whenever and sleep in again.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
So relaxing. So delicious. So beautiful.
Day 1 - Sunday
Drove down. Listened to "Hoot" (book on tape) and music. Stopped at Trader Joe's. Arrived. Explored beach house. Ate at Grotto's. Enjoyed a sunset walk on the beach. Saw dolphins swimming in pods. Back to the house to watch Sherlock.
|This is how we pack entertainment for the week - games, movies, books|
|White sausage pizza, beach fries, and birch beer - tradition!|
|Sunset at Dewey Beach|
Day 2 - Monday
Tea and cinnamon crumpets for breakfast (no kidding!). Beach, beach, beach! Read, relaxed, enjoyed. Collected sea shells. Mark and the kids dug a hole. Walked around bookstore. Dinner at Lula Brazil - a new restaurant that had just opened two weeks prior, but that already had such amazing reviews, we couldn't resist. It was INCREDIBLE. Candy shop for taffy. Movies at home.
|Our view - so beautiful!|
|The sky - GORGEOUS!|
|My beautiful girl|
|My fun-loving boy|
|Our spot :)|
|Playing Frisbee with the cute little boy we got to know all week|
|Middle Grade section of our beach bookstore|
|Young Adult section of our beach bookstore|
|Walking around the beach shops|
|The kids had AMAZING Brazilian-style burgers with DELICIOUS Yucca Fries. I had feijoada with grilled halibut. Incredible!|
Day 3 - Tuesday
Beach. Warm day. Frisbee, read, ate. Mark and Max made the hole bigger. Mark and I went for a 2-mile walk on the beach with Scout. Claws for shellfish. Coldstone for ice cream. Strolled around candy shops.
|Our happy doggie! She loves to sit in the sand, but also occasionally steals our seats.|
|Love, love, LOVE having my feet in the sand. And foot snuggling. :)|
|Me and my honey|
|Reading at the beach - aaaaaah!|
|Scout and my shadow|
|I LOVE THE BEACH!|
|Mark made Boba Fett. There's my shadow again.|
|This guy was SO fun to watch - he was on a surfboard and attached to that parasail, and he did such awesome tricks.|
|Playing with the seagulls|
|Traditional shellfish dinner at Claws - eating on the patio|
|She got surf. He got turf. Also? Great sides. Hush puppies. Dirty rice. Corn on the cob. Garlic mashed. And we all shared a bowl of creamy crab bisque beforehand. We all share everything. It's more fun that way and we all get to try lots of stuff.|
|A huge bucket of crabs! Mark works hard for us every year cracking delicious blue crabs complete with drawn butter.|
|Ice cream on the boardwalk|
Day 4 - Wednesday
Beach. Read, ate, listened to music. Mark and Max dug another hole. So fun to animal and people watch at the beach. We made friends all week with a family from Pittsburgh who was also there for the week. We were near each other on the beach every day. We didn't take many pictures this day - we simply enjoyed the beach. Greek for dinner - fantastic place! One of our favorites this trip. Truffles for dessert from a candy shop. More taffy. Got some t-shirts. Finished Sherlock.
|Gyro platter after sharing dolmas and a falafel appetizer with hummus and tzatziki.|
|Gyro - DELICIOUS shaved meat, as it should be!|
|Grilled lamb entree platter with rice and tzatziki and naan and a skewer of shrimp, all made with middle eastern spices!|
|Mousaka - Turkish style - served with Naan, rice, and tzatziki sauce|
Day 5 - Thursday
Stopped at some shops (got another gyro for the beach and all shared it as part of our lunch). Beach. Family pictures. Played frisbee. Read. Saw sea turtles (dead) :( wash up on shore. Rode waves. Skimboarded. Played tag. Saw more dolphins (lots!). Read. We're always so reluctant to leave the beach when it gets closer to going home. We played with our friends from Pittsburgh (Max especially makes friends anywhere we go - he talks to anyone and is friendly to all). Walked the shops a bit on the boardwalk. Jake's for dinner. Starbuck's for salted caramel hot cocoa and frozen hot chocolate. Back to beach house to play 221B Baker Street game.
|Scout was especially feisty this trip.|
|Love this picture|
|This one, too!|
|Mark bought me this cute, navy blue vintage swimsuit (I love the vintage ones!).|
|She's so cute!!|
|Playing Frisbee with our Pittsburgh friends|
|Scout keeping watch|
|Frisbee with friends|
|This is a picture of the beach to the right of our seats - not crowded.|
|This is a picture of the beach to the left of our seats - very, very not crowded. Very, very chill.|
|Braving the waves|
|Timing the waves|
|Me and my Scout|
|Mark took this candid of me simply relaxing at the beach - aaaahhhh.|
|Me and my kids!|
|My cute husband, cute kids, and cute dog!|
|Love this picture of us!|
|Love these guys! They were in SUCH goofy moods.|
|Mark took this cool panoramic shot. Not sure why it's not bigger on here.|
|She blinked. Soft-shell crabs and the best-ever sweet potato fries.|
|Jambalaya. "Please don't post this anywhere," he asked, but I couldn't resist - Hilarious and cute face!|
|Rockfish in incredible Sherry sauce.|
Day 6 - Friday
Pack and leave. Laundry at laundromat (we had a bit of a flea issue with poor Scout - apparently fleas have been bad down there this summer - so we talked to our vet, a vet there, used at least 6 different methods, and washed EVERYTHING there AND here before entering our house - I can be a bit obsessive and compulsive about stuff like that - we made sure NO fleas came back with us (successfully, I might add - not a one - believe me, we've checked obsessively!) - UGH, so stressful - we had that issue a couple of years ago, too - bad flea summer then, too - I think it's the mild summers that do it). Go karts. Lunch at Chipotle. Trader Joe's for more food. Get home. Mark even ran into the clinic, soon after we got home, to see a patient who is also a friend of ours. More unpacking. More laundry. More cleaning (see? Vacations are work!). Got to bed exhausted. Woke up and finished cleaning everything. And now I sit and write. (Okay, wrote a bunch and then stopped to go on a double date with friends to see the new Woody Allen movie - so good, by the way - and then home to hang out and talk until the wee hours). So, NOW I post.
The beach is healing, restorative, and relaxing. I love, love, love it. Such a wonderful family vacation (minus the stupid, stressful flea thing). We do love spending time together. And something I've noticed for some time now is that we all work REALLY well together. Everyone pitches in and we get a lot done together. It's nice. I love my family. And I love hanging out at the beach with them.