We made it to Seagrove in 7 hours and 43 minutes.  One take of gas in the Accord (god bless Honda!), lots of patience and a little creativity and we were there – or so we thought.  Turns out Seaside is not Seagrove – and there really doesn’t seem to be an official “line” between the two – just one long strip of beach highway and not a lot of well marked side roads, so it took us a while and a few stops for questions to find the right place.  But before we knew it, we were on the beach!

Actually, not before we knew it – more like after a quick change, loading up with beach chairs and towels, sunscreen and bottled water, and a hike across 30A and down a quarter mile sandy path through the scrub oak, straight down a 4 story sand dune and we were on the beach – late afternoon, temperature 85 degrees thanks to a pop up thunderstorm, and it was just us and ten thousand of our not-so-nearest and dearest.  This was, after all, the beginning of the long July 4th holiday week.  The beach looked like the entire northernmost part of the US of A had emptied down onto the sugary sand beach.

The water really was pretty. And it was quite clear, thanks to the jelly fish infestation.  An occasional hardy soul would venture in about thigh high, then start that dancing – kind of a fast jive-type motion – back to shore, reassuring everyone on dry ground that they were in just the right place. 

We were sharing a house with the groom’s family, so we did a little sun worshipping, a little wedding thinking, then headed back up the hill, through the scrub oaks, and back across 30A to the house, beach accoutrements in tow.  Our dedicated mission was to Rescue the Rosemary from Birmingham, which the groom’s father had personally harvested for the food tables at the after rehearsal dinner the next night.  Being a man, he’d chunked the foliage into a plastic garbage, then chunked the bag into the car trunk in 95 degree weather to bake for two days.  It took quite a bit of rehydrating in the bathtub, but the rosemary revived, and a congratulatory cocktail was enjoyed by all around the pool.

I’d kept my sanity for the final 100 two-lane miles down to Seaside fantasizing about an old-fashioned basket ‘o fried fresh gulf shrimp, complete with tartar and cocktail sauce, and partnered with a whole mess ‘o hushpuppies.  Not sauteed, not coconutted, not barbecued, not boiled, not sauced or scampied or stuffed or anything but good, old fashioned fresh fried shrimp, straight from the Gulf of Mexico.  And Hushpuppies.  Lots of ’em.

I’d spied this little place on the way in and figured it’d give it a shot.  AHA!  What do you know but this is truly the last place on earth (to my knowledge) that serves fresh fried shrimp right from the Gulf, and hushpuppies.  If you are insanely crazed like I was at the time and just want the shrimp and the pups, but no slaw or fries, they’ll even sell ’em to you “by the shrimp”!  And they are so absolutely wonderful!  Click the picture to go to their website.  There’s a menu and location information – and you can get the t-shirt, too.  These are clever folks.

I’m going to tip my hand here.  If the line is long (which it almost always is) and you’re really hungry, go to the front of the store, pick up a menu, get out your cell phone, call in an order (chances are good the person standing behind the counter two feet in front of you will answer), and step to the front of the line in 10 minutes to pick up your tasty dishes.  It’s air conditioned and there’s a little bench in the front shop where you can sit and wait.  They also sell iced tea (sweet and that other kind) by the gallon and a FABULOUS smoked chicken salad in the cooler in the front of the store.  I tried it all and I’m in love! (Yes, it’s not all about me.  Everyone else was in complete agreement when I got back to the house with my treasures).

I arrived back at the house just in time to welcome the groom with my fabulous food find and his wedding gift – some mighty fine cooking implements from Ikea.  Will, the groom, had learned to love cooking, so I found him some masculine and fabulous bowls, knives, and meat tenderizers.  As a consolation prize of sorts for the Bride, I tucked a few of these into the box just for her.  She’d seen them on the website and absolutely loved them (and they are quite handy – genuine heavy chrome so they’ll last a long time). 

By the time we got the groom into the limo with the groomsmen to head out for the Batchelor Bar Crawl, all were tired, so we retired for the night. 

Coming Tomorrow!  After RehearsalDinner Day!  The Groom’s Parents avoid meltdown, and a good time is had by all! (photos included).

 Please remember to Celebrate Something Everyday!