Sunday, September 21, 2014

Beach 2014

So we got back from the beach yesterday evening (I wrote most of this on Saturday - posting today, though), unloaded a ton of stuff, showered, cleaned, got really tired, went to bed, and cleaned our house top to bottom today. Phew! It feels SO good to be all cleaned, unpacked, and relaxed in our new, beautiful,clean home.

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:

Sleep in.
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.
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


Playing Frisbee

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!

So Mark had their house dish - it was so bizarre and it totally worked. Grilled whole squid stuffed with plantains and farofa. Delicious! We also got a delicious black bean soup with garlic cream sauce, an appetizer plate of salgadinhos (savory treats like I used to get in cafes in Portugal), a special Brazilian drink, and a guava dessert. All amazing. Our waiter was really great and he brought the owner over to speak with us. She was so nice!

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


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.

More Frisbee

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!

Cute kids!

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

See Kate?

Scout watches

See Scout?


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.

Traditional Jake's dinner (and sitting at the table right next to us? Our Pittsburgh friends from the beach!) - of course first we got crab balls as well as TWO bowls of their phenomenal seafood bisque - best we've ever had ANYWHERE. Delicious sea scallops. Happy Mark!

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.


LMW said...

That sounds like a great, relaxing trip, especially the food, of course!

I totally feel your pain about the fleas. I remember about three or so years ago when my cat got them, even though he's an inside cat. It was horrifying!! We spent the day cleaning, treating the cat and washing all clothing and sheets and blankets that we had. The strange thing is that our dog never got them, just the cat. Our poor kitty was miserable and, frankly, so were we.

Siths and Jedis said...

That was a great vacation, except for the flea issue. Thanks again to you and daddy for playing this.

Jimmy said...

I had just concluded about a month ago that if I had the choice between a beach house or a cabin in the mountains, I'd go with cabin.

Then you posted this and I'm not sure anymore.

Sounds like a great vacation!

Emily Foley said...

It sounds so great, and I do love the navy blue and polka dots! So cute. The one thing I feel you're missing is a beach umbrella. You NEED one. Preferably with navy and white polka dots. :)

My sister recently came back from a cabin trip where they had discovered a bed bug on the wall (in the cabin). She FREAKED out and they left everything outside in bags and she washed each suitcase individually on the sanitize cycle. They never saw another one but man was she stressed about it for a few days. Bugs are the worst!

Also, I'm so hungry now! Dave is a seafood nut, he would go crazy on your vacation with all the seafood. I like moderation.

The Magic Violinist said...

So, do you like the beach? I couldn't tell.

So much fun! :) Just seeing the pictures makes me want to go back again. I loved reading there the most. And the food. And playing in the sand. And riding the waves. And watching "Sherlock." And--

Boquinha said...

LMW, it's terrible! I was an anxious mess. I was fine at the beach and out to eat, but at the beach house? A wreck! I was like a crazy person checking the bed in the middle of the night with the light on my phone, I was so paranoid. There was NO WAY we were bringing fleas back with us (and we didn't!). Grrr. Stupid fleas.

The beach and food were marvelous, though. Just beautiful and so relaxing.

You're welcome, Max! You're so sweet.

Jimmy, the beach! There's nothing like sitting on the beach. I say this a lot, but it's true - scientific studies show that there are positive ions at the beach. It's not just in our heads that it's relaxing and happy there. It's a fact! :P

Emily, I totally predicted that you'd say something about the navy blue and polka dots!! :) Glad you like it!

Bed bugs sound FREAKY. I don't blame her for freaking out. Whenever we stay anywhere, we always check the mattress edges (with gloves!) first thing. Any bad signs and we're out of there! Did they discover it as they left or when they got there?

Dave would LOVE the food out here. YUM.

Yes, Kate. Yes, I do.

I hear you on all of that!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a lot of fun! I actually live not too far from a beach, so my family goes there all the time. It's pretty cool. :)

Also, love how you packed for vacation! When I went to DC this summer I packed a TON of books and notebooks!

Boquinha said...

Yes, Nevillegirl, books are a must at the beach!

Kelly said...

Your family beach vacation looks like so much fun! You have a beautiful family. I miss you and love you lots, friend. Kelly