We traveled last week to St. George Island, FL, for a week long vacation with my family. I’ve been going to St. George Island since I was a baby, so while I may be a bit biased, I think I can objectively say that it is my favorite beach. It is all beach houses and small condos (no high-rises), which makes the whole atmosphere more relaxed and the beach less crowded than so many of the other more popular beaches along the Gulf Coast.
It was our first vacation with Evelyn, which was an adjustment–figuring out how to keep her on a relative schedule, the entire getting us down to the beach routine, someone in the family having to stay at the beach house with her during naps. By the end of the week I felt like I was getting used to it, but on the first night (when Evelyn was up for an hour because a thunderstorm woke her up and then she realized she didn’t know where she was), I told Gerrit, “I think as parents we don’t really get vacations anymore. Just trips.”
But despite that feeling, plenty of it felt relaxing. I read a book. I sat on our screened in porch a lot. I sat on the beach a fair amount of time. We ate dinner overlooking the ocean. We did a bit of shopping in Apalachilcola (and I found a place with hazelnut gelato for the first time since Italy!). We played in the ocean and saw dolphins almost every day (some of them quite close). We watched fireworks for the 4th of July along the beach. We drove around the island and looked at houses (one of my parents’ favorite activities: trying to remember and find all of the beach houses we’ve stayed in in years past).
I wish I had some recommendations for you and “travel advice”, but the truth is that we ate most of our meals at home and spent most of our days at the house and at the beach.
But let’t talk about eating/cooking on vacation. We ate out for lunch one day and out for dinner one night. Other than that, we cooked out meals at the beach house, which I had a lot of fun planning ahead of time so that we would have minimum stress. So here are the basics of what we did:
1) I made mushroom lasagna ahead of time for our first night there. I froze it and then let it thaw on the top of the cooler in the car and then on the counter once we got there. Then I stuck it in the oven and headed down with my family to the beach for a bit and dinner was ready when we got back.
2) We had buttermilk brined grilled chicken on our second night there, and since it is better the longer it stays in the brine, I prepped it all before we left and let it sit for two days and we grilled it there. (To go with it, my mom did some corn on the cob, and we baked frozen dinner rolls.)
3) My mom made another baked pasta dish ahead of time for one of our other nights. So another meal where basically we just had to throw a pan in the oven and dinner was ready when we came up from the beach. (And we sauteed some zucchini to go with it.)
4) We brought steaks for one night and ate fish that my dad, my brother, and Gerrit had caught on a deep sea fishing voyage they went on one day. (Our sides: baked potatoes and roasted broccoli)
5) Because my family’s problem is always too much food, we had various leftovers for dinner one night.
4) My parents made hamburger patties ahead of time and put them in the freezer and we grilled them on 4th of July. (My mom made a slaw, and we put some frozen sweet potato fries in the oven.)
What about you? How do you like to eat on vacation?