Last weekend was one of the best I've had in a long time. Perhaps our lack of travel through 2020 heightened the experience. Perhaps Sarah's house on the Chesapeake Bay is pure magic.
It seems everyone is traveling this July, desperate to make up for lost time. An escape to Virginia's River Realm means you needn't worry about price gouging on car rentals or crowded airports. Sun and sand await you, and it's only a short drive away. Here's how to do a weekend at the Chesapeake Bay, the right way.
Rise and Shine
I've never been one to meditate, but not for a lack of trying. Make a point to sleep in and have a quiet cup of coffee by the water each morning. It really sets the tone for the day. And if you plan on day drinking, something I consider an Olympic sport that one must train for (I wouldn't even score a bronze), a good caffeine buzz will give you a head start.
Beat the heat with slushie cocktails
Ice-blended drinks keep you cool in the heat, and my last post gave a recipe for a watermelon mint slushie. I trotted out a tray of these frothy, fizzy drinks to my sunbathing pals, and two revelations occured. Sarah realized these drinks would be even better with a kick, and recommended a dash of cayenne pepper. My revelation was the name for this new cocktail: Watermelon Sugar High.
Taste of the town
Local fishermen rise at dawn to catch the freshest seafood from the Bay, and who are we to deny their purpose? Get out there and order the seafood! Whether you go upscale with Oysters Rockefeller, or grab a fried shrimp basket, it's going to be fresh! If you're feeling spritely, you can rent a boat (or take your own) and dock it at a waterfront restaurant while dining. It's the ultimate in luxury.
Another ideal time to get a taste of the town? A giant, shameless breakfast, which must include pancakes or French toast. Especially if you happpen to have a hangover, or on a rainy day, where you needn't worry about how you will stuff yourself into a bikini after a plate of biscuits and gravy. You will sleep off this breakfast (and your hangover) while the rain runs its course.
Old Bay the right way
My husband has a theory that salt air makes you hungrier, and food taste better. I don't know if he's right, but I do know our crew is preternturally hungry after a day in the water. Get a big bushel of crabs and spend hours around the table, catching up with friends as your hands become one with Old Bay seasoning and melted butter. Round out the dinner with summer classics, like buttered corn on the cob and sliced watermelon.
Mark the occasion
Take a moment to reflect - last year at this time a real vacation was almost unheard of. Look at you now, hugging friends and family you've missed, exploring new places; it's a celebration. Whether you're bringing a host gift to someone who has invited you to their home, or are on a group outing, commemorate the occasion! Bring a basket or bag of goodies to heighten the excitement and let them know you're happy to see them. Ladles and Linens is chock full of small gifts and genius kitchen gadgets that would make a vibrant display, from delicious shrubs to hammered copper bowls.
So get out there. Play Marco Polo, get lost in a great book (or trashy novel) and don't forget the sunblock.