food, travel

Beach Break at Rehoboth

The pop of the Prosecco cork meant my weekend break had begun.  With the restoration of my Virginia apartment finally finished, I was ready for an escape before driving back to face the continuing renovation of my parents’ house in Massachusetts.  So I drove about three hours to a friend’s part-time place at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and cheered immediately when I saw the wild azalea bushes blooming.

As my friend poured the Prosecco and put on Sinatra, I slipped into something more comfortable–sweats and my rose Tani tank top–and prepared our usual supper, a casual cheese and salumi board.  I prefer to bake something when I visit, but with all the watery turmoil of late, I simply packed a small cooler with a couple of goat cheeses, a couple of Mediterranean dips, and a carton of ripe red strawberries.  Rounding out my contributions, my friend had on hand some salty prosciutto, nutty asiago, and creamy ricotta from Touch of Italy, a nearby restaurant/salumeria where we’ve never had a bad bite.  The board itself is a simple slab of green marble, a remnant from when I had my parents’ house renovated two years ago, and we sit Japanese-style on the living room floor, plop strawberries into our wine glasses, and compare combinations.  Since I skip the crackers, I use meats and hard cheeses to hold dips and soft cheeses.  The prosciutto spread with ricotta and rolled with a stick of the mozzarella-like drunken goat was fabulous, with the cheeses bringing soft creaminess to the sharp saltiness of the meat.  We ate and drank our fill, cleaned up, and then fell asleep watching Westworld.

In the morning, I donned the coordinating cross-trainers and cross-body from my survival bag, and we set out on a five-mile beach walk.  It was a beautiful day.  The air was cool, but the sun was warm; the sand was hard, and the clouds were fluffy.  The white spray against the blue water mirrored the white clouds against the blue sky.  We walked part of the way back along the boardwalk, with its hotels and arcades and tourist shops.  The greasy aroma of fast food wafted through the air and carried me back through the years.

I’ve been coming to Rehoboth off and on since college in Washington, D.C., when a group first piled into a friend’s car for a day trip.  Since then, I’ve been dozens of times, making the place a fine escape between dealing with my double disasters.  Familiar enough not to be new travel, so I didn’t feel like I had to experience everything; foreign enough not to be home, so I wasn’t constantly confronted with what I ought to be doing.  The weekend was as much a mental break as a physical one.

Though I’m clearly in the minority, the prospect of being seen in a bathing suit does not make me want fast food, so we skipped the pizza and boardwalk fries.  For lunch, we went to Cooter Brown’s, a new modern rustic restaurant with a long copper bar, rough wooden tables, and an open steel ceiling.  We split half a dozen oysters grilled with Parmesan.  They were good and garlicky, though not as decadent as what we usually have in New Orleans.  For lunch, I opted for the chicken cobb, substituting grilled chicken for fried and regular ranch dressing for the spicy chipotle.  The salad was surprisingly small, but the chicken was well-seasoned and well-grilled, and the veggies were fresh.  My friend went for the whiskey dip sandwich.  The roasted brisket was full-flavored and delicious, and the accompanying house-made chips were thin and crispy.

After lunch, we stepped in to the Olive Orchard Tasting Room and sampled some fresh-tasting and true-smelling oils and vinegars.  Though I am obsessed with quality olive oils, I think my favorite taste was the Apricot White Balsamic, but I didn’t have recipe in mind, so we left without buying any.  Then we walked across to Yesterday’s Fun, a vintage game store, where my friend smiled at the Scooby Doo action set, and I recalled different yesterdays playing Risk and Settlers of Catan.

But our real shopping was at Tanger Seaside.  Since I can’t claim I don’t have many clothes, I try to limit my shopping to the outlets when I need something.  And I was in the market for some comfortable dresses for BlogHer17 in Orlando later this week.  I started at Banana Republic; I wasn’t excited about their dresses, though I did note that the tee-shirts were on sale.  Next I went to J. Crew and scored two cute cotton dresses; I bought them a size up so that I could layer them with tee-shirts in the daytime.  But J. Crew’s tees cost three times the price of Banana Republic’s, which are my favorite anyway.  So I hoofed back to BR and bought three.  It’s probably just as well that didn’t leave me enough time to stop in at Calvin Klein, where I usually stock up on jeans, before meeting my friend at the Gap, where I remembered that I could use some more ankle socks and snagged two packages on sale.  And it was all tax-free!

The outlet center lies across the road from Touch of Italy, and we stopped in to replenish the prosciutto and add some pistachio mortadella, all for roughly the cost of one of my new dresses.  Next door to Touch of Italy sits Outlet Liquors, an enormous and well-stocked packie.  We usually go for sparkling wines with our cheese boards, but as I’ve been besotted with Picpouls since our trip to Newport, we decided to try another, for roughly the cost of one of my new tee-shirts.

After this far from stressful day, I put my sweats and tank top back on, and we stretched out on the gigantic corduroy recliners in my friend’s living room and read.  Around 6:00, my friend poured the Picpoul and queued up some Elvis, while I put together the cheese board, balancing the mortadella and prosciutto and supplementing the drunken goat with a “sober” goat.  Perhaps inspired by Yesterday’s Fun, we played a few hands of Mille Bournes between supper and TV.  Then in the mood for something lighter than Westworld before heading back to the real world of greater Washington, we caught up on Veep.

The beach is a state of mind.

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