Vacation During COVID Times

We’ve all gone stir crazy, to varying degrees, during these challenging times. I am fortunate to have been able to get in a vacation and get the family away in a safe manner, and I hope you can do so as well. Here’s a bit about our trip!! We had to cancel so many things over the last several months and decided to splurge on a great big house with a private pool right on the beach in the Outer Banks. It was everything.

The house was very well cleaned, fully furnished, equipped with everything we needed except the food, and absolutely perfect. We rented through Surf or Sound Realty in Salvo, NC and we able to get this great pet friendly house, High Seas. There are several other similar properties and we were lucky that somehow this one was available on just a month’s notice.

There is decking a plenty, facing both the ocean and the sound.

Ahhh, the pool. Probably my favorite part of the house. Everyone probably spent more time in the pool than anywhere else!! It was beautiful, cool, and the realty company even came by mid-week for a cleaning.

The small wading pool was perfect for sitting in with a day drink while the kids played in the bigger pool. Definitely no shortage of lounge chairs here! We enjoyed our morning coffee on the top deck gazing at the ocean with my pup!

Ok, so of course there was PLENTY of amazing beach cooking. We stayed in or brought in all our meals to keep things safe. The inside of the house was also really great – comfortable, plenty of room, and plenty of things to do. So I’ll go through the house before getting to the food! The only drawback was that we had two couples and there was one master bedroom on the top floor that was significantly bigger (mainly the bathroom) than the others, so we did have to flip for that one. The bedrooms all had their own bathrooms, and outnumbered the people, so the kids enjoyed getting to pick their rooms and bathrooms! The website for the house on has a bunch of pics of the house, so I wont duplicate those here. The master bath was really nice – a big jacuzzi tub (big enough for two) and the shower was a double!

Five other bedrooms had king beds and their own baths, though the shower/baths were small (curious about that since the actual bathroom space was so big, it could have accommodated more). The two bedrooms with bunks and doubles shared a nice big bathroom.

There were also loads of great of game/entertainment options inside, when we weren’t in the pool, on the beach, or cooking up great dishes in the kitchen. A theater room with a big TV and two rows of super comfy recliners, a pool table and a small kitchen downstairs, ping pong, and plenty of games.

When it was time for all the cooking and eating, we had a great big kitchen and plenty of dining space to spread out.

And the nice big family room had a surround sound system that was great for folks waiting on dinner to hang close by, plus a cute little sunset watch spot! What an incredible house – easily can accommodate over a dozen people, we were so spoiled that it was only seven of us!

Ok, so now for the great eats!!! We had excellent take-out from Waterman’s Bar and Grill – best ribs!!! And I repurposed the leftovers for my now famous BBQ pork nachos!!

There were two gas grills and a charcoal grill, we used the gas grill one night for some delicious sirloin burgers with red wine and truffle mushrooms. SO succulent!

And now for my beach specialty…SHRIMP!!! Every time I make my fried shrimp, it’s different. Different breader, seasonings, whatever I’ve got or find around the house, and somehow they always come out great!! We got big, fresh, peeled and deveined shrimp from Austin’s Seafood South. We also got some nice fresh tuna and some squid rings, so those were great additions to our dinners as well!!

This dish was a simple cornmeal breading on the shrimp after an egg wash, we seared the tuna and drizzled with truffle oil, and made a side salad of watermelon, cucumber, spinach and feta with a drizzle of a blackberry barbecue sauce. Fabulous!!

Shrimp fry night included the fried shrimp, fried calamari, and roasted corn with fresh lime. MMMM!!! For simple fried shrimp, here’s the way I do it: soak the shrimp in a wet batter of eggs, a little milk, and a little beer with a little salt and pepper. Measurements all depend on how much you’re making. For about 2.5 points of shrimp, two eggs, a quarter cup of milk and a quarter cup of beer should be good. Adjust accordingly – this isn’t an exact science. Then I coat the shrimp in the dry mix (here’s where it can vary). One night I just had cornmeal, the next night I used a seafood breader and a little cornmeal, both times adding some additional seasonings like Old Bay, Vivian Howard’s Birds and Beasts Rub, and CharCrust.

Since this much volume means you have to fry in batches, it’s best to keep things warm in the oven.

So summing up the food situation, make lots and lots of fried shrimp, get your fresh seafood from Austin’s, get your ribs from Watermans, and eat well while vacationing!!! I cannot stress enough how relaxing this trip was while still staying safe…and now for the beach and my perfect beach doggy!!! This is why my family started coming down to the Outer Banks in the 80s – because we could bring our dogs and let them run on the beach! This is her happy place!

And don’t forget to watch the sunset over the sound every night you can see it. There’s something about watching the sunset that just puts a perfect, peaceful cap on a perfect day. Ahh, smiling now thinking back to my perfect beach vacation!! I hope you get to spend some happy family time in a totally relaxing environment during these otherwise stressful times.

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