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What To Pack. Check. How To Vacation. Check.

July 1, 2014

Before heading out for vacation, there are checklists I follow. First, there is “How To Prepare Your cc sign_edited-1Home,” which may include unplugging appliances, locking windows and emptying food trash. Next is the “What to Pack” list such as bathing suit, sunblock, sweatshirt. But what about a checklist telling you “How To Enjoy Your Vacation”? I hadn’t heard of that either. But they exist.

During my annual beginning-of-summer drive from Manhattan to Cape Cod, where I spend July with my family, I decided to create a “Sand pail” list of fun things I want to do. This summer that includes: biking from Sandwich to Provincetown, painting an American flag with my niece and nephew’s hands (as stars) and feet (as stripes), and a barbeque campfire on the beach.

bbq spreadI wasn’t over the Bourne Bridge ten minutes when my sister invited me to a barbeque at Sandy Neck Beach. On arrival, the campfire was burning, friends were eating, and kids were digging holes in the sand. I collapsed into a beach chair and stared off at the sun slowly making its way to the water’s edge.

But I didn’t sit for long.bbq 2

“Come, eat!” said Iris, the hostess of this large gathering. As with most beach barbeques, easy is usually the goal – burgers, chips, cookies. But not for Iris. It was her husband’s 50th and she’d pulled out all the stops. Mexican by birth, Iris made tacos, the soft shells wrapped in tinfoil and warmed on the fire, along with swordfish, chicken, grilled pineapple, avocado and various salsas, each labeled (labeled!) on a nicely set table right on the sand. Look out Martha Stewart!

After dinner, enormous lanterns were lit and sent sailing up over the ocean and large skewers bbq 3appeared with even larger marshmallows. I was right there with the kids, huddled around the fire, thinking about waking that morning in the middle of the city surrounded by concrete, and now there I was at sunset surrounded by sand, water and friends.

We left after dark, using the light of our cell phones to locate shoes, bags and the path back to the parking lot. Sitting in my car, skylight open under the stars, I reached for my list and happily anticipated tackling the balance of it.



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  1. Joe F. permalink

    It doesn’t get any better that that ! I really envy you that time and place. When I as younger we had clam bakes up on the beach at Manomet. Great times.

  2. Deborah Golden permalink

    That sounds like an excellent start to July 2014. Quite surreal to travel part of a day leaving the land of concrete, dirty streets and the noise of sirens & traffic and arriving in the land of sun, wind, sand, water and the pleasurable noise of family, friends, seagulls & waves meeting the shore. Ahhh. I am almost there.

  3. Marilyn Solomon permalink

    Sounds like you had a lot of fun! Enjoy your time with your family & be well. Love

  4. Now THAT is the way to begin summer and vacation. I can almost smell the sea air :))

  5. Enjoy your vacay! Does Iris cater private parties? 🙂

  6. Eddie McGarry permalink

    Good Stuff!! Enjoy your vacation:)

    Sent from my iPhone

  7. Auntie M permalink

    There’s no place like home Dorothy! See you later in the month to celebrate 3 very special birthdays.

  8. richard aberson permalink

    Good friends and family,delicious food —-great day!

  9. french permalink

    I think that one thing for your list that would make your very old old teacher very happy would be to meet him for an ice cream cone some place some time.

  10. Kalliopi permalink

    Have a Great Time on the Cape with your family!!!! Happy 4th!!

  11. jim govoni permalink

    Thank you for a very nice article. It was really great meeting you, your sister has often mentioned you and now we have a face to go with the name. Iris is flattered for the kind words you have for her salsas and her organizational skills! And yes I do cater!

  12. Tracey Lundberg permalink

    Thanks for sharing this story, Felice. It’s amazing how a different location can make you feel different. I liked the way you wrote, “I collapsed into a beach chair and stared off at the sun slowly making its way to the water’s edge.” The pictures to illustrate your trip are also great!

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