It’s been almost a week since returning from my vacation on Long Beach Island (LBI), NJ. I gotta say that I fell in love with that place. It was an absolutely beautiful week filled with relaxation, fun times, blue and sunny skies, and star-filled nights. I took a little break from life. This meant no work, no checking email, no TV/news/internet, and no food blogging. I hardly even looked at my iPhone all week (this was surprisingly easy to do and I did not miss it. Hmmmm.).
I firmly believe that it is good for your health and well-being to take an occasional break from work, technology, the news, and social media. Americans do not take (or get) enough vacation time. We really do need it and we function better at work and in life when we take some time off. Once in a while, you gotta get back to the basics, relax and rejuvenate, spend time with family and friends, and chill out. I feel very lucky to have the means and opportunity to do that.
I spent the week with John and his family and we had such a wonderful time. Lots of laughs and good times. This was my first trip to LBI. But, they have been going there for years and years, since John was a kid. That place is a real gem. It has it all: roaring ocean on one side, serene bay on the other side. And you can walk from ocean to bay in a matter of minutes. There’s good food, shopping, and fun things for kids, like a little amusement park and miniature golf.
We climbed 217 steps to the top of a lighthouse that’s been around since 1859. I even had my first “bumper cars” experience (finally!). It was a nice combination of chilling out, going on fun little adventures, and enjoying the beautiful beach.
We stayed in a lovely duplex apartment which was just a short 1-block walk to the ocean. We could throw on our bathing suits and be sitting at the beach a few minutes later. We could even hear the waves crashing with the windows open at night.
And then there was the food. We had a scrumptious seafood dinner to celebrate John’s birthday. Boy, did we enjoy it. It was some of the freshest and most flavorful seafood I’ve ever had. If you ever visit LBI, check out Mud City Crab House. Highly recommended. The oysters melted in your mouth, the mussels dipped in garlic butter were incredible, the lobster and king crab legs were sweet and rich.
And it was nice to have some good NY/NJ-style pizza. You just can’t get pizza that good outside of the NY/NJ area. And to say the low-sugar diet went out the window would be a complete understatement. Geez Louise. Donuts, cake, cookies, oh my! Hey, I was on vacation! I enjoyed every bite. 😉
There was one little baking-related mishap! The oven there was pretty old and hard to figure out. I made chocolate cake for John’s birthday (I even tried out the recipe in advance to make sure it would be the best chocolate cake ever). I didn’t realize that the oven was on broil instead of bake. And, well, the cake got a little, um, toasty! Haha! It wasn’t so funny at the time as I thought I ruined the cake. But, as it turns out, that cake is really hardy. In the end, it still came out delicious. Phew! That will definitely continue to be my go-to recipe for chocolate cake.
It was truly a beautiful week. The ocean was pretty rough but surprisingly warm. One day, I took a loooong walk on the beach and lost myself in the peaceful beauty of it all. And at nighttime, we were treated to a sky full of stars. You don’t get to see that many stars when you’re in a big city, like DC. So, I just loved it. And we had the most perfect weather you could ask for. Each day was better than the last. Sunny, blue skies, no humidity, temps in the low 80’s. Ahhhh, perfection.
So, there you go. That was a much-needed break from life. And I am very thankful to John for sharing the LBI experience with me and for making it all happen. I had a wonderful time with him and his family. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer vacation.
And, I will admit that I neglected my blog for a while. I blame it on pre-vacation chaos, vacation bliss and escape, and then post-vacation adjustment to getting back to reality. But, I’m back now with even more energy and determination than before. In the coming weeks, you will find more recipes and more posts about eating real food and food politics. Stay tuned!