Friday Five (Bethany Beach)

This crazy busy week flew by and I haven’t yet had a chance to recap my recent vacation to Bethany Beach. The weather was mediocre, but the company was fabulous and we had a great time doing your typical beachy activities. Below are my five favorites:

Bethany Beach

  1. Beach time – playing paddle ball, building sand castles, venturing into the waves, playing with baby nephew. Whenever the sun was shining, we were posted up in the sand outside our condo.
  2. Ice Cream – my first trip to Dumser’s which is apparently an Ocean City institution. I had banana ice cream topped with peanut butter and was pretty much in heaven.
  3. Coffee – morning walks for coffee were necessary. Walked to Dunkin’ twice for my fave iced coffee and one morning walked into town and went to the Artful Bean where I got a delicious iced caramel machiato and a breakfast sammy with egg, provolone, zucchini, onion, red peppers and spinach on seven grain bread.
  4. Mini Golf – in my husband’s family a trip to the beach is not complete without some Old Pro miniature golf. We checked out the dinosaur course and placed some wagers (losers buy winners ice cream at the aforementioned Dumser’s). Two hole in ones led me to victory.
  5. Good food – our beach routine involved making sandwiches in the condo for lunch and post-beach wine and snacks cocktail hour before heading out to a nice dinner. We went to three great restaurants: Off the Hook, Nantucket and Blue Coast. I think Blue Coast was the clear winner of the three, but there was some debate. Stand out dishes: Scallops with cheesy grits and corn at OTH, quahog clam chowdah at Nantucket and cod with lobster creamed corn at Blue Coast (and the lobster mac and cheese and the tuna sashimi appetizer and the calamari and yes it was all good).

And with that trip, my summer officially comes to a close. What are your favorite beach activities? 

Linking up with Heather for Friday Faves.

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Best Month of the Year!

Rabbit rabbit! Happy September everyone! September has always been my absolute favorite month of the year and it’s no coincidence it’s my birthday month as well! There is so much awesome stuff happening this month that I am looking forward to. Here’s what’s on my schedy:

Weddings: Adam and I are going to two weddings over labor day weekend! One is in New Jersey and one is local here in Baltimore and it feels like it’s going to be a pretty epic weekend.

Fantasy Football: Jeanette and I are in a league with some of our friends and we had our draft this past weekend. Even though I did some research in advance, I feel like every draft ends up being frantic and stressful. The past few years our commish has organized an awesome bbq for the draft so we can all be together while we draft on our laptops. I’m also in a higher stakes league with Adam’s friends where we compete to get our name on a Sandwich Trophy just like this one…

sandwich trophy

Ravens 5k: I signed up for the Ravens 5k on September 9 and I’m excited for an after work run (much preferred to a morning race!) and celebrating afterward with Ravens alumni and mascots.

Beach: Heading to Bethany for a few days with Adam’s family. No vacay and minimal beach time all summer has me super pumped for this September getaway.

Renaissance Festival:  The Maryland Renaissance Festival is one of my favorite fall activities! Held in Crownsville (outside Annapolis) every weekend from now until October 25, tickets are $19 for the first couple of weekends and $24 a person after that. Yes, it’s kind of cheesy but it’s also really awesome. Performers (and some attendees!) dress in period costume and entertainment includes jousting, sword-swallowing, dancers and musicians. The food is also a highlight with everything from turkey legs to frozen bananas.

maryland renaissance festival joust

Federal Hill Main Street’s Sobo A Gogo: Despite it’s kooky name, this festival on September 20 promises live music, craft beer and local vendors.

Baltimore Book Festival: I’ve never attended the Book Festival before, but I’ve been seeing a lot about it and it looks really cool. There are a number of interesting panels, cooking demos, pop up yoga and performers – all held September 25-27 in the Inner Harbor.

South Bmore’s Best 2015: Got to support our ‘hood – can’t wait for this first-ever celebration of the best of South Baltimore! The $25 ticket gets you free food and drink from Sobo’s finest.

Birthday Dinner: I’m now taking recommendations for a good birthday dinner spot to celebrate the big 2-8! I’m tempted to go back to Wine Market, but I think I’d rather try somewhere new. Any ideas??

 

Weekend in Williamsburg

Happy Monday! It’s always so tough getting back into the work groove after a trip – even if it’s just one night out of town. I definitely had the Sunday night blues after an awesome weekend in Williamsburg.

Linking up with Katie for Marvelous Monday to recap my marvelous weekend.

Baltimore Harbor at Night

Backing it up to Friday night, Adam and I walked down the the harbor the the Summer Social in West Shore Park. We got a couple of drinks from Dooby’s and found a nice spot to sit and listen to New Romance, an 80’s cover band. The weather was perfect and we had a great time. The event posting said there would be food trucks, but the only one in sight was pizza and we just weren’t feeling it. Instead we walked over to the Rusty Scupper and had some seafood at the bar. We had our rehearsal dinner at the Scupper back in March so it also brought back all sorts of fun wedding memories.

Welcome to VA

Saturday morning I woke up early and drove down to Williamsburg to visit my friend Sasha. It took around four hours and I was definitely ready to be out of the car by the time I arrived. Sasha and her husband, Dan, both went to college at William and Mary and after spending several years in San Diego they have returned to their old stomping grounds. Dan was out of town so Sasha and I got to enjoy a girls weekend! After dropping my stuff at their new house we picked up sandwiches at the Cheese Shop and headed to the “beach” on the James River. The Cheese Shop is a Williamsburg classic and they make the most amazing sandwiches – I had sliced chicken with provolone, mixed greens and house dressing on wheat. If you ever go, you definitely DEFINITELY want the house dressing.

Williamsburg Beach

The beach was beautiful and the water was warm enough to go in. We floated for a while near the shore and spent time catching up before we stopped home for a quick shower and headed back out to Williamsburg Winery. The winery grounds were beautiful and they were setting up for a wedding that evening. We did a tasting and bought a couple bottle for later. The James River White and Midsummer Night’s White were my favorites.

Williamsburg Winery

The rest of the evening was spent hanging out, drink wine and watching crappy but great movies. The next morning we got breakfast to go at Aromas and ate outside in the Colonial area. We both got poached eggs with cheesy grits and ham. So delicious and definitely enough for leftovers.

Williamsburg Aromas Williamsburg Poached Egg and Grits

After breakfast I hit the road because I had to meet Adam and the rest of his family at an engagement party back in Maryland (congrats Stephen and Elyse!!!). It was a short visit but I had such a great time catching up with one of my best friends from Middle School!

Beach Day!

Itching for the feeling of sand beneath our toes and the sound of waves crashing on the beach, Adam and I woke up bright and early Saturday morning for a day trip to Rehoboth Beach. We were over the Bay Bridge before 7:30am and after a quick stop for coffee and breakfast we made it to the beach by 10am. Rehoboth has a public beach where visitors can park for just $10 all day so that is where we set up shop. We had minimal supplies – two beach chairs, towels, a boogie board, sunscreen, a book and frozen water bottles which was all that we needed for a fantastic day!

Beach

For lunch we walked to the boardwalk and ducked inside a fairly empty Mediterranean place for gyro salads. Pro tip: friends and I discovered Semra’s Mediterranean last year and it has air conditioning, clean bathrooms and fast, refreshing food. We try to avoid the typical beach fare – pizza, french fries etc. because who wants to be weighed down by heavy, greasy food while in a bathing suit? Not this girl! Before we walked back down the beach we popped into the Coffee House for my favorite iced chai.

Maybe I’m just a wuss, but I think August is the best time to be at Rehoboth (and Bethany/Ocean City/Dewey etc) because the water is finally warm enough to go in! It was also the day of a big sand castle contest so we checked out all the amazing sand creations.

Proposal Sand Castle Sand Castle Minions Sand Castle Greek Sand Castle

People were so creative! I loved the minions and the proposal. After another few hours enjoying the beach we changed clothes (in our car in the parking lot) and drove to Rehoboth’s main drag for dinner. There were a ton of cars cruising around looking for parking but we lucked into a spot and grabbed seats at the bar at Pig and Fish. They have a daily happy hour so we ordered quickly ordered crab dip and a couple beers. I mentioned last week that I love wit beers and the Ommegang Witte really hit the spot after a long day in the sun. The crab dip in bread bowl was warm and gooey and amazing. We followed it up by splitting the happy hour fish tacos and a seafood salad sandwich. Because obviously we needed ALL the seafood.

Ommegang Beer

Crab Dip

Seafood Sammy

After dinner we walked around, split some ice cream (salted caramel) and piled back into the car for the drive home. Two and a half hours later we walked in the house exhausted and a little sandy, but very happy from our beach day. Yes, it was a lot of driving, but it was definitely doable and with most beach hotels having 3 night minimums in the summer it was certainly a more affordable option.

What’s the farthest you would drive for a day at the beach? 

Have you been to Rehoboth?

Summer Weekend Getaways

Mondays after a long weekend are rough. We all know it. What makes me feel a little better is planning some more summer fun. I love Baltimore, but sometimes it’s nice to get out of the city for a change of scene. Since vacation days are in short supply, I usually try to go on a couple weekend getaways rather than a full on summer trip. Luckily, Baltimore’s conveniently located with a number of fantastic destinations 1-3 hours away.

Day Trips – at around one hour from Baltimore, these locations are great for a day trip.

sandy point

1. Sandy Point State Park – or as we affectionately call it, fake beach. This sandy, rocky outcrop at the foot of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is not a beach but it’s a decent beach substitute – especially since it’s less than 40 minutes from Baltimore. Bring your towel, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a day soaking up the sun and taking a dip in the bay. Cost is $5 a person for Maryland residents. Make a full day of it by stopping for dinner and drinks in Annapolis or a Bowie Baysox game before heading home.

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2. DC – This is an obvious one, yes, but it’s surprising how infrequently Baltimoreans make it down to DC. If you’re going to make the drive, you should try to pack in as much fun as you can. On Memorial Day weekend we did a DC day and started with a couple hours of kayaking on the Anacostia River outside Nationals Park followed by drinks at the Fair Grounds before heading to the baseball game. If baseball isn’t for you, you can also kayak in Georgetown and spend time shopping and dining in one of DC’s poshest neighborhoods. Or, check out the museums on the National Mall, hit up Spike Mendelson’s Good Stuff Eatery for lunch and have dinner at Jose Andres’ Jaleo. The possibilities are endless!

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3. Wineries – You can find many great wineries within 1-2 hours from Baltimore. We like to make a day out of it and aim to get to the winery around 12pm, do a tasting and buy a couple of bottles to drink. Everyone brings some food to share – baguette, cheeses, sliced meats, hummus and crackers – and we picnic while sipping our wine and taking in the beautiful scenery. Most tastings are $10-15 and usually wineries let you bring your own food to eat outside on the property. Hit up Breaux Vineyards and the nearby Maggie Malick Wine Caves, Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, or Black Ankle Vineyards among many others.

Overnights – these places are a little further away but perfect for a weekend visit. If you’re traveling North of the city note that both Wawa (yay) and tolls (boo) are plentiful – depending on your route you can pay as much as $30 round trip in tolls.

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1. St. Michael’s – St. Michael’s is across the Bay Bridge, abut an hour and a half from Baltimore. This quiet little town on the water is gorgeous and is absolutely perfect for a relaxing weekend away from the city. Start with steamed blue crabs and a piña colada at the admittedly touristy Crab Claw before walking down Talbot Street and visiting the local shops. If you feel like splurging, stay at the Inn at Perry Cabin where they filmed Wedding Crashers, but for more affordable options try Harbourtowne or St. Michael’s Harbor Inn – you can sometimes find discounted rooms on Groupon or LivingSocial. There are also a number of local rentals on VRBO that are a short drive from the town – we stayed in one that had kayaks and stand up paddle boards to keep us entertained. St. Michael’s also has a winery and brewery so stop in for a tasting.

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2. Philadelphia – I lived in Philly in the summer of 2013 for an internship and spent quite a few weekends doing the easy two hour drive to Baltimore. Philly has a lot more to offer than cheese steaks (though definitely get one from Jim’s while you’re there). There’s a ton of history including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, great museums and some seriously good eats (and many places are BYOB). Check out Reading Terminal Market, an historic covered Farmers’ Market with countless vendors and tasty treats including the best hot, fresh doughnuts from the Pennsylvania Dutch. Take a walk through Old City and Rittenhouse Square and for brunch hit up Sabrina’s or Parc. If you’re looking for a more unusual dining experience, try Cibo Ristorante. Formerly Walnut Street Supper Club, Cibo has continued the “supper club” concept and the waitstaff at Cibo entertain the crowd with show tunes throughout the night.We were very impressed with the quality of the singers and had a great time!

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3. Atlantic City – Ooooh AC. If you’re looking for somewhere a little more lively for your summer getaway, then look no further. I’ve done quite a few weekends in AC over the years and always had a blast. In our younger days we would pack 12 people into one hotel room, but now that we’re just young(ish) we definitely prioritize bed space and so we look for discounted rooms on Jetsetter and daily deal sites. Friday and Saturday nights are considerably more expensive so save money by going midweek if that’s an option for you. I recently stayed at Harrah’s and loved it – the casino has a lot of dining options and a great pool (pictured above). Three evenings a week, the pool becomes a night club with drinking and dancing, and if you’re feeling it – a late night swim. You can also take a walk along the boardwalk and play carnival games (there’s a free shuttle form Harrah’s or take a limo since they are as prevalent as cabs and not much more expensive). On another recent trip we stayed at the Taj and went to the nightclub Mixx at the Borgata. I’d recommend doing some research in advance and planning where you’ll eat and go out since some parts of AC are a little run down and if you’re with a large group many restaurants require a fixed price menu.

What trips do you have planned for the summer?

Are there any other good summer getaways that we missed?