Regular readers will remember that we head to the beach twice a year to celebrate Bailey’s birthday — and give him too a chance of a mini-vacation.
This past weekend was our spring foray.
It seems like wherever we’ve been in the last ten years since we got him (LA, Hawaii, Paris, Boston, NY, Seattle, Vancouver, Wisconsin, SF), there always comes a point in the vacation that we really start to miss him and wish he was there with us.
Beach vacations on the Oregon coast are a nod to the fact that Bailey is a valued member of our family, and that we want to fete him and relax with him somewhere other than our house.
So we make the scenic, 1 1/2 hour car trip to the coast
and for the last couple years, we’ve stayed at the same rental in Rockaway Beach for a weekend.
It’s not fancy but it’s light and lovely and right on the beach — which makes it ideal for views and letting Bailey run out on the sand anytime he wants.
Because we’ve been coming to this rental for years, I’ve learned which items make me happiest while away and I’ve made a master list of them all.
All I do now for each trip now is print up this list of items to pack, adding as necessary specific other items we might need that particular time (seasonal items, specific foods, etc.)
Now I’m aware that most people would be perfectly happy to simply cook and use whatever’s on hand for their dining pleasure — but I can’t roll that way.
I pack multiple tablecloths, linens, silverware, favorite pots, cast-iron skillets, platters, plates, kitchen knives and utensils, and even plants and throw blankets. All of this for as short as a 36 hour trip.
To me it’s worth it to wake up to great coffee in the perfect mug and be surrounded by my favorite things.
Or to enjoy a homecooked dinner made in my trusty pans and be surrounded by favorite platters and table top (yes, all of that you see here came from Portland to Rockaway).
Nutty, yes, but it’s what I love so why not?
This weekend I added to our collection a few new items I picked up on the coast, like these enormous enamelware mugs I’d bought at a little shop in Rockaway called Little White Church Antiques.
Aren’t they cute?
And we had these new glass flutes for the special drinks for our kids — like Orangina or Jarito.
I picked up these flutes (still in their original packaging) at the Goodwill in Tillamook and we used them all weekend long.
I also brought with me some of my favorite Easter decorations, like this marble signage/decoration.
And these assorted chicks, bunnies and eggs for hiding in the house early Sunday morning.
And because it looked particularly spring-y, this bunting from HEMA in Paris came with us for the first time, too.
Now that Bailey’s getting up there in years so he doesn’t really run on the beach anymore, but he enjoys walking around, sniffing the air, chasing after the occasional bird or checking out new driftwood.
Or a particularly pretty sunset.
And sometimes it’s enough for him to just sit in the warm sand and accept a back rub or a snuggle.
And, as always, beach vacations are all about pleasure.
Like eating amazing meals.
Shrimp usually shows up in some forms, as it’s one of my favorite foods.
This past weekend I made a Meyer Lemon Scampi, and it was so delicious spooned atop rice.
Another night we had flat-iron steak, smashed Yukon Gold potatoes and roasted corn.
In between great meals there was lots of playing on the sand, playing football.
And flying kites.
And checking out the sand
to see what the tide had brought in.
As you can see, beach weekends are are all about luxe meals,
movie nights (this time, My Cousin Vinny, La La Land),
and wildly indulgent desserts.
Usually I make up a batch of something sweet (like these ginger cookies)
but this time we worked our way through Blizzards from Dairy Queen (there’s a branch in Garibaldi, just 7 minutes away).
One last favorite beach detail.
I spend a lot of time to make sure that Bailey is at least as well as fed as all of us.
He gets extra eggs and sausage in the morning, mini-treats throughout the day, and then some kind of steak or salmon dinner at night.
We always save him an ear of roasted corn for him and it’s so cute to see him nibble on the ears of corn; we either hold it for him and he works on the cob or he rolls it around the kitchen floor, trying to get every last kernel on his own.
And I have a ritual for the very last meal I serve him each time there; it’s a meal with a view.
I start by making him something extra special; this time, Easter morning, it was a mini-sausage and cheddar omelet plus one wonky Easter bunny pancake.
I then bring this last meal up to a rock on the edge of the cliff overlooking the beach.
It’s just on the edge of our yard and every time he scarfs the food down and then stares out at the beach for a few minutes, like he’s memorizing the view.
It’s our little ritual, and I’m not sure who enjoys it more, him or me.
So here’s to Bailey — and all you pet owners (past and present) out there who understand how valuable and essential a role your little four-legged creature plays in your life.
They continually provide us with unconditional love and a reminder to enjoy simple pleasures.
Not just that, but no one– NO ONE!– photo bombs cuter.
Happy Belated Easter, peeps!