Going to Virginia Beach to stay with the Imrich's during 4th of July weekend has become a family tradition. Chris is one of Scott's best friends from Hawaii. They worked (and even lived at) at the Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Lab on Ala Moana Beach Park, near Waikiki Beach, as dolphin trainers. Yup, they really got to live the quintessential childhood dream.
|Scott and Hiapo (2003)|
VA Beach is so worth the extra 3.5 hours of gridlock traffic we endure (now with a toddler) from DC to Baylake Pines. Usually I holdout from snacking in the car so I can savor rt. 11 chips, a Dogfish beverage and a sandwich from my favorite deli, The Taste Unlimited
(conveniently located across the street from our spectacular accommodations at Chris' parents Barb and Jerry).
While sleeping steps from the beach is amazing, it's the hospitality and time with friends that keeps us counting down the days until the next trip.
After a long trip in the car it's so awesome to be greeted with warm hugs and fresh baked treats resting on kitchen counter. One of our favorites is Barb's addicting pumpkin bread recipe.
She is always cooking up a storm, trying out new recipes from the paper or pinterest, and we all happily indulge in a week of glorious gluttony. Not only is she an amazing cook, but she is also a retired children's librarian! Hello? What more could you ask for when vacationing with a toddler? The house is full of vintage Fischer Price toys, musical instruments, bubbles and little science projects like watching butterflies hatch from their chrysalis on the back deck. The finest cruiseships and 5-star resort kiddie clubs will never be able to top the outstanding 'childcare' at the Imrich's.
If you are looking for great recipes or activities to do with children, especially recommendations for children's books, you need to check out Barb's pinterest page
While the food is great at the house, there are several restaurants we love going to. The first restaurant I ever went to in Virginia Beach is Bubba's Seafood Restaurant and Crabhouse and it remains one of my favorites. I crave their blackened Rockfish! My new favorite restaurant is HK on the Bay, a locals hangout in Chic's Beach. My go-to entree is Dan Walker's (HK Top Chef winner) Tri Tip Chimichurri Sirloin served with a side of Lobster Mac 'n Cheese. (Here is a phenomenal lobster mac 'n cheese recipe
you can make at home).
|Seafood Pot Pie, HK on the Bay|
As for breakfast, I was never much of a scone lover until Barb brought some home from Flour Child Bakery. OMG they are to die for! Morgie thinks so too!
|Morgan Devouring a scone from Flour Child Bakery|
And last but not least, the Leaping Lizard and Cafe (featured on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on the Food Network channel) has become another one of our favorite lunch-time spots that specializes in fresh, locally grown ingredients.
|Seafood Penne, Leaping Lizard and Cafe|
If you are into antiquing the Leaping Lizard also has an antique shop but my favorite spot is Tin Soldiers Forgotten Treasures.
|Shopping with Morgan (2012), Tin Soldiers Forgotten Treasures|
And while the food and shopping are great, let's not forget the beach! Baylake Pines has its own private residential beach on the Chesapeake Bay. It is so close to the house that we can walk back and forth several times a day to take a break from the sun. One of the "boys'" favorite past times is crabbing with the kayak then and taking their bounty home to cook on the grill.
|Scott's First Catch of the Day|
And there is no better spot to watch the fireworks! Can you think of anything better to do while your waiting for the much anticipated show than take a dip in the bay? Morgan can't.
A huge thank you to the Imrich Family! We can't wait for next year :)
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