Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Back From Spring Break!

The Matthews Family is just back from Spring Break, which we spent for the third year in a row in beautiful Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, at the Disney resort in Shelter Cove.

Allow me to say thank goodness for the Disney Vacation Club - After resisting temptation for many years, we finally bought a membership in Disney's time share program three years ago - mostly because Disney was selling my radio station, and I wanted to join while I could still get an employee discount.

The timing of the purchase was even more fortuitous than I had planned, because it now allows me to continue to vacation with my family, even after the elimination of my job. We had a great time in Hilton Head, and it was nice to enjoy a deluxe resort without having to worry so much about how much everything cost. It also didn't hurt that gas was about two bucks a gallon!

Just a few random thoughts about our trip...

It's incredible to me how much congestion there is on I-95. We managed to make pretty good time during our drive, but we still experienced several slowdowns caused by the sheer volume of traffic - even in the middle of nowhere! I-95 is still just two lanes in each direction for the most part all the way from Petersburg, VA through the state of South Carolina, and since most of its users are merely passing through, there's little incentive for the states to pony up the dough to expand the lanes. Perhaps a little stimulus $$$ can do the trick?

Speaking of $$$ - when I die, I want to be resurrected as a TV chef. We took a drive over to Savannah, Georgia, just so Robin could check out "Lady and Sons", the restaurant owned by Food Network star Paula Deen. Paula Deen is a chef who firmly believes that any recipe - whether it be Jello or Spaghetti and Meatballs - can be made better by adding a stick of butter. And God knows America loves its butter! The restaurant is a golden butter gold mine!

Here's the normal routine for getting into "Lady and Sons" for lunch. You need to line up outside the restaurant at around 7:30 or 8 am. Starting at 9:15 or so, a hostess comes out and starts taking reservations, and seating starts at 11 am. Lunch and dinner typically sell out every day, and the adjacent gift shop is packed with people, too.... especially when one of Paula's sons comes in to pose for pictures and to sign autographs, which one of them did while we were there.

We did not have to do any of that early-morning stuff to get in. We were able to use another method to reserve our spot. I won't go into details, but frankly - we lied to get in the door. Once we were seated, we enjoyed our lunch very much. Most people get the southern buffet - For 14 bucks, you get all of the Fried Chicken, black-eyed peas, butter beans, green beans, mashed potatoes and mac & cheese that you can eat, washed down with syrup-like southern sweet tea. It was all delicious and reasonably priced. But trust me. If you ever have the chance to wait all day to eat at Paula Deen's buffet - it's NOT worth the trouble!

We had fun just hanging out at the resort, which is really kind of like a summer camp for families. They have lots of activities... Robin made a pillow and tie-dyed a t-shirt. Spencer made a shark tooth necklace. We went to a campfire, complete with camp songs and s'mores. And we spent a glorious spring day sitting by the pool, where the kids swam, Robin crocheted, and I honed my word skills with the New York Times crosswords. We also attended a pool party, where Spencer (with some help from Dad) serenaded the crowd with a raucous karaoke of "Sweet Caroline".

On the way home, after sleep-driving from Petersburg to Fredericksburg, Virginia, I finally pulled off of I-95 for a big cup of coffee. Sleep-driving is scary stuff in a 20/20 hindsight kind of way - especially when you are doing it at around 80 miles an hour! I simply don't remember much about driving that distance... Thankfully, it was after midnight, and there were not many cars on the road. Slapping myself to stay awake could only take me so far, so when I saw an exit sign for Wawa, I surrendered to my body's cry for caffeine. I LOVE Wawa! If you've never been to one, just think of a 7-11 that's three times the size with three times the selection and cheaper prices. I wish we had them around here in the Maryland suburbs!

Now that we're home, it's back to the grind - and to the welcome rhythms of everyday life. I did not blog during vacation this year, despite the fact that I had a laptop with me. I just found, pretty quickly, that doing routine stuff, like blogging, was going to make my vacation more routine.

I'm happy to be back!

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