Vacation Time...with kids, crabs & oysters!!
Jun. 27, 2012 3:21 pm
Updated: Jul. 5, 2012 4:32 am
Jon and I head out to the Eastern Shore every summer, specifically Chincoteague Island, Virginia. We've been going there since 1981 and have not missed many years, in fact some years we make it there twice - once in the summer and once in the winter.
Our kids went there almost every year of their lives while growing up and we have many, many happy memories of the Island and beach.
This year we went to the beach and took along our Mexican friends. The ones who run the Mexican Restaurant that we recently became owners of. Back in January, Federico told us he wanted to take his family on a vacation to the beach but had no idea where to
go, how to go, or what to do. So, we invited them along with us. Early last Thursday morning we met at their house and headed East. They have three kids, ages 5, 7 and 10, so we took one in our truck with the promise to the other two that they would have
their turn in our truck. Who would have ever guessed that a ride in our truck could mean so much to a kid? Every stop there was much arguing over who was going to ride with us!
We have a routine for this trip to Chincoteague and it always involves a stop in Cambridge, Maryland at Ocean Odyssey for some good steamed blue crabs for lunch. Our friends had never had them and couldn't wait to try them. They ordered their children meals
off the children's menu, but not much was eaten off those plates. When the waitress brought out the tray of steaming crabs they all wanted those instead! They all learned how to crack those crabs open and dig in for the tasty crab meat. I didn't count how
many they ate, but it was several and they loved every morsel! We assured them there would be more of those on the Island, as well as delicious oysters. Only Federico had ever had an oyster and he said he loved them; just the way we do - with fresh lemon
squeezed on them with a drop of hot sauce.
Once we arrived at the hotel, we quickly checked in and headed to the beach. I love sharing "my beach" with friends;especially when they've never been to a beach before. The look on those kids' faces was priceless! I will tell you right now - we spent quite
a few hours of every day on that beach. They had so much fun, and became pros at boogie boarding. It had been many years since I was at the beach with children and I forgot just how much sand could find it's way into everything!
Across from our hotel was a seafood place called Captain Zack's. We were pretty sure they'd have oysters - and oh did they! Jon and Federico went over and got 2 dozen oysters on the half shell and brought them back. At first nobody would try them. Then,
I showed Federico how to have a drunken oyster. That's where you drop an oyster in a shot glass, pour some hot sauce on him, fill the glass with vodka (or if you're Mexican it turns out it's Tequila), and drink it down. Suddenly Marisela decided to try one.
Then two. Then three. Then the kids wanted one as well. Then two. Then three. Which meant that Jon and Federico made another trip across the street for another two dozen oysters.
The next day we made a stop at the local seafood store and bought about 6 dozen oysters. They're much cheaper that way and we had brought our oyster knife along, as well as a large cooler since we knew we'd be bringing oysters home with us as always.
We spent our days playing on the beach and having a ton of fun. We even climbed the to the top of Assateague Lighthouse. Something our family had done years ago. Our friends and their kids loved it once we reached the top. The workers at the top had binoculars
to share as well as some interesting facts and stories. The kids made quick friends with them. These kids and their dad can walk into a room full of strangers and make friends within minutes; they are just super friendly, outgoing people.
One afternoon we decided to head to the local waterfront bar and sit with a drink and relax, enjoying the view. I "pinky-promised" the kids that if they behaved during the grown up funtime, then we'd take them to the park for some good old-fashioned kid funtime.
They sat down at a table with paper and crayons and were the best behaved kids you've ever seen. As we walked to the car, Yahir (the 7 year old) reminded me I had pinky-promised a trip to the park. They played for a couple hours and had a blast.
We made four trips to the Island Creamery - an ice cream parlor that makes the best ice cream on the Eastern Shore. Marsh Mud is my favorite, but after that I can't say - I like them all the same.
Our vacation ended way too soon and before we knew it we were packing the trucks to head back to Ohio. Our last stop on the Island was at the Seafood store to buy oysters. We bought 3 dozen and Federico bought 150 oysters! He wanted to share them with all
the guys at the restaurant.
This morning I got up - did my laundry and headed to the restaurant to get the checkbook in order. While I was working I could smell the delicious aroma of homemade waffle cones being made by the girl in the ice cream shop that is owned by the building owner
we rent from, so I decided my lunch would be a coconut almond joy ice cream cone in a waffle cone. But, while I was still working in the office, I suddenly heard my name being called out from the kitchen. So, I got up and went out to see what was going on.
The oysters had come out of the cooler and were being sampled! Federico opened one up with his screwdriver for me and I squeezed some lime on it with a few drops of hot sauce and popped it in my mouth. As it slid down my throat, I closed my eyes and imagined
the sound of the gulls screeching overhead and the smell of the salt air and pretended I was back at the Beach!
At the top Of Assateague Lighthouse