View as the tide heads out on Long Beach, Rockport, MA
Every summer for the past I-don't-know-how-many years my folks have rented a beach house in Rockport, MA on Long Beach. Well, they actually started on Pebble Beach and eventually scored a spot next to our best family friends, the Flynn's. Heck, I consider the Flynn's part of our family. That's how many great times we've had together over the years. I've been going to Long Beach since I was a wee lad and, for me, it's the best beach in the world. Sure, there are no palm trees, no exotic drinks, no scantily clad women (besides the one we saw walking the beach whom Dad and I agreed should never wear a two-piece again), and no blue-green warm water seething with sea life. Nope, just a long arching beach with soft sand and chilled waters backed by an elevated boardwalk overlooking it all. I'm not sure whether it's the sand, decent surf, or all of the great family memories that make this beach my favorite of all. It certainly isn't the cold water, that's for damn sure! Talk about shrinkage! Maybe it's the good beach folk, falling asleep in the bed on the front porch, or the fact that the beach quadruples in size at low tide, providing ample room for whiffle ball, bocce, and all sorts of fun. Wait a minute, who am I kidding? It's the beers, bourbon, lobsters and steamers!
Can't beat sleeping on the porch bed listening to the waves come crashing in
This year the annual lobster beach blast was extra special. It was Dad's 60th and Mum had conspired for a surprise party and invited friends to "roast" Dad. This was great for two reasons. The first was because it guaranteed we would have a great turnout and an even better time. The second was pure selfishness for me. You see, I've been grooming Dad into a bourbon connoisseur for a few years now - a trip to Kentucky for distillery tours, a subscription to The Bourbon Review, alerting him when I find a new bourbon, etc - and I knew that he had passed on enough education to his buddies for there to be some nice bourbon gifts as a result. These gifts would have to be shared, of course. Poor me! Wow, some of my favorites just happened to pop up - Eagle Rare, Wathen's, Pappy Van Winkle 23yr(!!), and the new Makers 46. Dad's only mistake was leaving the Makers 46 out on the table and not tucked away inside. It was gonzo within a few hours!
Big Ol' Bucket O' Bugs!
Dad's been sourcing our lobsters from Ken Porter at Roy Moore Lobster Co. in Rockport for years. This year we ended up with over 50 two pounders and about 18 pounds of steamers which were both a few more than we ordered without the charge for the overage. Great customer service, pricing, and flavor of the lobsters from Roy Moore's ensure repeat business each and every year. It also explains why they move over 100,000 pounds of ocean-fresh lobster each year (probably more since this was written in 2004 - a good read for more info on Roy Moore Lobster Co.). I must admit that this year's lobsters were the best I can ever remember them being. I started my methodical destruction of lobster with my favorite part, the claws, before working my way to the tail, a few legs, a few fins, and even a little lobster roe. The sweet meat dipped in butter tasted better and better with each bite. I was more than willing to polish off my cousin Sarah's claws too when she couldn't handle more than the tail. I still think it's funny when people in Miami try to tell me that spiny lobster found in Florida waters with no claws is better than New England lobster. That's just plain crazy talk.
Lobstah, lobstah bib, lobstah shirt! ~ Photo by cousin Ben Hodson
The steamers this year weren't up to par with years past. Their bellies were sandy and smaller than usual and kept coming separated from the rest of the clam, making a mess. No matter, lobsters and steamers are a dirty sport best enjoyed on a picnic bench with good friends and family. As usual, we had a few leftover lobsters that were chilled and then shelled the following morning by Dad who didn't leave much left in the shell. That promptly turned into a nice batch of lobster rolls that my Mum put together with butter-toasted flat-bottom buns, a minimal amount of mayo, and a touch of lemon juice to perk up the flavors. I like to add some dill flake onto mine too and managed to take down two of these bad boys shown below before leaving for the airport. Dad's suggestion to take one on the plane was considered but ultimately rejected because I knew I'd have inhaled that roll in the car.
Lobster leftovers = lobster rolls for lunch!
It was another awesome year at our annual Beach Blast, packed with a lot of flavor. This truly is my favorite vacation every year because I get to fully relax and just spend time with family and friends without a care in the world. I'm already looking forward to next year!
Navigating the Atlantic on my friend Ryan's SUP ~ photo by cousin Ben Hodson
Sunrise on Long Beach, Rockport, MA - July 2007