Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How To Cook A Family Getaway

I have fond memories of spending childhood vacations with my extended family at Burt Lake in Northern Michigan. We didn't get to see our cousins much, they lived in Iran, then Germany until they were in high school and college. But we had a week together every summer and enjoyed the freedom to roam while feeling safe. Each family had their own cabin but dinners were spent in the "big cabin" where my grandparents stayed with my unmarried aunt. It's something I've always wanted to repeat with our kids.

I think we may have found just the spot at Port Royal, in Port Aransas on Mustang Island. With three families from North Texas, one from Michigan, plus a grandma, we numbered 15 and had rented four 1,300 square foot, 2Bed/2Bath condo's on the beach. Being "off season" the room rates were very reasonable, about $130 per night, but the weather was very "in season" with daytime temps in the mid-80's. We had a fully decked out kitchen, the only thing we needed for Thanksgiving was a big roasting pan. And the resort had 5 pools and 6 hot tubs, the pools weren't heated so we wussy adults purchased floaties and dipped our toes in - the kids jumped right in like it was warm. The beach was a short walk over the dunes on a boardwalk, and every day we went down to see what was newly deposited.

Food wise - well everything down there revolves around the gulf, so most places feature a "Catch of the Day" directly from the ocean. A majority of the group (not me) went fishing one day, and while 18 fish (and one stingray) were caught, thankfully none were brought back to cook (I don't mind the catching, but I can't take the smell). With a full kitchen in each condo, we really didn't eat out much, instead opting for a dine-around at each others' pads. But for those who don't want to cook, the resort had a full service restaurant, and the town had many restaurants to choose from.

We saw pelicans feasting on fish churned up by dolphins in the bay, diving down over and over again in a frenzy. BIG birding area - one day I saw an osprey take off from one of the tidal pools with a wiggling lunch in his talons. Fisherman swarmed the many piers in the area, and equipment was easily rented by the day at several locations. There was a golf club on the island, about 10 minutes down the road, and Corpus was only a 20 minute drive south, the girls HAD to go see a movie that had just been released.

Between our families, we have three boys all heading off to college next year, but all agreed to come back down for Thanksgiving if we do it again.

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