We had a really great time last week. This is actually the second year we’ve had a good vacation, so I think the karmic debt owed to us after the Great Vacation Disaster of 2006 has been settled at long last.
We rented a small cottage in Brewster, not far from where we got married, with just a short walk to the beach. The weather was perfect the whole time, raining only at night, and we never ran out of things to do with the kids: fishing at Nickerson State Park, mini-golf, checking the lobster traps on Grandpa P’s boat. And, of course, the beach.
Husband had fun building vast sandcastle compounds with serpentine waterways and canals. This is not the most elaborate one he made. The kids would then populate it with moon snails, hermit crabs, and little fish they found in the tidal pools. I particularly enjoyed the spectacle that would occur when we threw an empty snail shell into the hermit crab pool and they would squabble over the new real estate. As hermit crabs grow, they need bigger shells. Once one wins the epic battle for the trophy house of his dreams, he switches. Then, another shell becomes available and it’s chaos all over again. It was recycling at its most hilarious. Later, the tide would reclaim them all as it inched its way back in.
An oyster farm, only visible at low tide. It seemed like the folks at family-run Brewster Oyster were out there every day tending their charges. Oysters take about three years to reach market size. They sell locally to restaurants like the Brewster Fish House, a favorite spot where we got to have dinner one night without the kids.
This place only has about a dozen tables, but we try to come here every year despite the wait. Their lobster bisque is unlike any other: a little bit spicy, a little bit sweet, and chock full of meaty chunks of lobster instead of being puréed into oblivion. Now I’m spoiled forever. Thanks a lot, Brewster Fish House.
We caught frogs and polliwogs at Flax Pond at Nickerson. We did not eat them.
In Eastham, we noticed a sign for fresh-picked corn from Log Cabin Farm. Corn in Massachusetts in the second week of July? I don’t think so. I gave them the third degree despite my limited farm knowledge. They weren’t lying, though. Their farmer covers 15 acres of his corn with black plastic to create an outdoor greenhouse. The woman running the stand said they had corn on July 4th weekend.
So, of course, I had to buy some. What we didn’t eat that night, I stripped from the cob and made into a corn and bean salad to eat with grilled striper the next day.
The most successful meal of the vacation. The kids loved it just as much as the adults. Earlier that afternoon, I had made my way to Breakwater Fish & Lobster on what turned out to be only the second day of the commercial fishing season for striped bass. The woman at the counter winked at me and asked, “What took you so long?”
I wonder how long it will be before this post-vacation glow disappears?