Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What I did on my summer vacation

I just returned from vacation, and it was everything a person could want: beach, family, great food, and gorgeous weather. The house was situated in a nearly ideal location—at the end of a fairly secluded stretch of Virginia Beach called Chicks Beach. While sitting on the balcony, we oohed and ahed over the playing dolphins and jumping fish. So what if the house cozied up to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge? The price was right; and, with the windows closed, the trucks barreling by blended in nicely with the pounding surf.

Just a week earlier, Hurricane Irene had left her mark. In that area, she’d removed tons of sand but left the houses relatively unscathed. While vacationing, we witnessed Tropical Storm Katia leave her own stamp. At the beginning of the week, the waves gently lapped our toes; at the end, the high tide raged over much of the sand. With the churned-up activity at sea, each day introduced new sea creatures to the beach, both dead and alive. Twenty-one horse shell crabs, belly-up, covered a reasonably short stretch of beach. The next day revealed potato sponges—also probably dead, but who’d know? Large ghost crabs scurried sideways in hunt of food.

The entire area was a culinary paradise. After sampling the Seafood Mac and Cheese at HK on the Bay, I felt like kissing the chef. Being able to walk there and dine outside were such awesome experiences that we returned a second time. But even better, not a day went by without discovering yet another delightful eatery: the Sugar Plum Bakery, Chill Ice Cream Shoppe, the 15th Street Raw Bar, AW Shucks, Sandbridge Island Restaurant, the Public House, and Sirena Cucina Italiana.

We ended up the week at Virginia Beach with a kayaking trip on the Back Bay near Sandbridge. Just how cool is that?

But the fun didn’t end there. On the return trip, we visited Monticello to learn more about our amazing president, Thomas Jefferson. Afterwards, we stopped at a surprisingly charming eatery, the Pomegranate Restaurant, situated in the delightfully named town of Troutville, VA.

There was one tiny hitch to the entire vacation. As a huge fan of Living Social and its ilk, I opted to buy advanced tickets to a comedy club. Remembering my experience 35 years earlier at such a club, I anticipated a fun way to celebrate my daughter’s birthday.

Stop right there.

Thirty-five  years?!

Before we went, there was much discussion about whether I knew what I was getting into. My kids weren’t convinced. Nevertheless, my husband, son, daughter, her boyfriend, and I headed off with hope in our hearts. Oops! While three out of four of the entertainers left us laughing, the fourth regaled us with the most horrifyingly revolting, repetitively raunchy, unfunny drivel imaginable. Booing was discouraged by the 400 pound mountain of a bouncer. Walking out on the so-called comedian wasn’t  possible either; not only were we packed in like sardines, but I feared becoming a target if I tried. So I sat there stoically and hoped the end would come quickly.

Everyone knows that laughter’s good for the soul. But his idea of comedy can’t possibly be healthy for him, despite the fact that he’s probably laughing all the way to the bank.

I’ll take Gilligan’s Island any day. Especially since it involves a beach and lots of coconut drinks.

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