What To Pack. Check. How To Vacation. Check.
Before heading out for vacation, there are checklists I follow. First, there is “How To Prepare Your Home,” 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.
I 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.
“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 appeared 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.