When school started last week it had the depressing effect of abruptly ending my summer. The weather is still warm (unbearably so today!) but my mindset has shifted into more of a work-mode – Drat!
I want to sit here for a few hours and recollect this most wonderful Summer and talk about some of the highlights (great and small) via the eye of my ever-ready camera!
These are the moments in my life that are no longer lost on me. (and to think all it took was several decades of blindness!). This will be my third annual installment about our trip to Cape May Beach in New Jersey for a week with our friends, and every year a couple of gem moments stand out.
This year, it was my disbelief at how much the kids had grown up since we first began this ritual only three years ago!
Three years in my life has bestowed my face and body with more “character” (my kind way of saying I have a few more wrinkles and feel a little creakier), but my kids and their friend Marie-Lyse, blossomed from children into teenagers and grew a collective 5 feet!!
Going from children to teenagers comes with obvious changes, but as far as these three friends, and siblings were concerned, all bets were off when it came to hanging out together on the beach; the usual crab hunting,
and bucket and spade action were the top priority.
Suddenly being cool (or trying to be cool) wasn’t important anymore.
Our routine was pretty much the same; late morning breakfast,
followed by the 3 minute trek to our spot on the beach and then, home for cocktails and a lavish dinner and late night chat, with maybe a walk on the beach.
One of the reasons it is imperative for people to leave their homes for a few weeks during the year is to give them a break. When you separate or “break” away from your house you feel suddenly free. Why is this?
For me, it is simple: when I am supposedly relaxing at home, I still find myself cleaning or shopping for dinner and God know what else. I cannot sit still, always finding things to do. But, when I am stranded in a pretty cool house by the beach there is nothing to distract me, no laundry ( I lie, there is the pile of sandy towels to attend to each evening!), no running here or there, no anything.
I end up being busy thinking up a million different ways to have fun: invent new cocktails, explore the lighthouse a quarter-mile away, collect pebbles on the rock beach, dig holes in the sand (actually it was Dave who decided to dig holes – yes, a grown-up!).
And that was all we did really. There was no real objective and I began to feel like what my kids must feel like when there is no school. It is no problem for them to drop everything and be “in the moment” as they say. It takes me a little bit longer to shake off the guilt of being idle, but after three years of being stranded in Cape May for a week, I have finally gotten the hang of it.
So for a week, I sat in my deck chair reading or dreaming about dinner, while I watched the kids have the time of their lives.
And no one was more oblivious to the world around them than when Calder, Ide and Marie-Lyse were playing on the beach or in the ocean together.
While I watched them I knew I was looking at something special, and so found it easy to stop thinking about the world and all my problems, and instead be amazed by their faces as they appeared and disappeared in the water.
And then of course, there was the food…and it was STELLAR!
We packed wonderful lunches every day with cold drinks and ate whenever we felt like it.
And the thing that would revive us each evening (and spur me on to make dinner), was a refreshing Cape May Cocktail (Cape Maytini!).
After an outdoor shower followed by a cocktail it was very easy to mill around the kitchen and get dinner ready together.
One night we had Asian, the next night French, and the next a Fish Fry, depending on who was doing the cooking.
One of the meals that I most remember was the night Celine cooked a boatload of fresh sole fish.
Before going to the beach one morning, myself and Celine headed to The Lobster House with the intention of buying a few dozen crabs for dinner. When we got there and saw a pile of freshly caught sole, we both instantly thought, “Fish Fry!”
While Celine fried the fish, I made a rice and veggie medley.
Dave Chopped lemons (I know, a real chef in the making!)
and then Celine made a fantastic Romaine and Mozzarella salad.
The whole thing was completely amazing and we managed to eat 4 lbs of fish between us!
Some mornings I treated us to some yummy pastries from the cafe five minutes walk from our house.
One day we treated ourselves to brunch at The Red Store, a fantastic little local restaurant (and the same place I got the wonderful pastries)
The Red Store is this great little restaurant run by Lucas Manteca and Deanna Ebner, who focus on locally sourced food and support local artisans like beekeepers who supply their little restaurant shop with honey,
and all sorts of other locally grown products.
They also have a star pastry chef, Michel Atelier who made the mouth-watering pastries we ate most mornings.
It is a laid back place where you can bring your own bottle of wine if you so choose (darn, forgot the champagne for mimosas – next year!)
I had a lovely Quiche with a great garden salad, while others of us tried some of the omelets.
Next year we plan on having dinner one night ( I’ll let you know how it is!).
And there it is, another Cape May trip has come and gone. We played on the beach,
took time with friends,
played strenuous sports (!)
And dug a hole big enough to put a chair into and eat your lunch in private!
All in all, a trip worth remembering.