I can’t believe it is already the end of February. This has been one long winter, and apparently, it’s not done yet. As I am writing this, Maine is predicting another “large” snowstorm by the end of the week. I love snow and all the winter sports. In fact, I get a bit giddy with each snowfall. However, this winter has kicked my butt. Darkness, frigid cold, and ice everywhere I walked. This empty-nester needs some warmth and sunshine!
The beauty of being an empty nester is that you can pick up and go. I’m talking pure freedom. No figuring out the logistics of family travel. Remember the days of planning and packing as if you were going on a trip around the world – only to take another non-descript family getaway? Unlike a “trip,” a getaway is when you go somewhere, relax and unwind. “Trip” is where you go somewhere and still have to clock in as responsible parents. Getaways are spontaneous and fun!
When you’re an empty nester, travel is a breeze. You can pack all of your belongings in a carry on which allows you to get right off that plane and CARRY ON! You’re no longer responsible for managing everyone’s travel arrangements, feeding your flock breakfast, lunch, dinner, and continually doling out cash to just make it to the end of the trip. You can savor your morning coffee in silence, eat where and when you want, and go with the flow. Coffee and meals anytime? That’s a vacation in itself!
We decided that it was time to plan a quick escape from chilly Maine and defrost for a few days in sunny Palm Beach. Within an hour, plane tickets were booked, and we were on our way down South. I have lived in Florida for the past 18 years and truth be told, I am not a huge Florida fan.
However, a getaway to Florida is right up my alley. The timing was perfect. It was right before February vacation and the craziness had not begun. It was just the two of us, trying to catch the much-needed rays of sunshine. From the moment I stepped off the plane and felt the warmth and humidity hit my face, I was able to clear my mind. My mornings were spent looking out on the ocean and watching the sunrise. Reading, sleeping, listening to music – all to quiet my mind. Our four-day vacation was the perfect amount of time to shed our layers, rehydrate our wintery bodies and warm our souls so that we could face the remaining months of winter.
When in Florida, we always make it a point to treat ourselves to stone crabs. Stone crabs are to Florida what lobster is to Maine. They are a delicacy and are meant to be enjoyed and savored. I love eating stone crabs with their iconic mustard sauce. The sauce is a mustard/mayonnaise concoction that balances the sweetness of the crab with the spiciness of the sauce. Pure nirvana!
Stone crabs are unique in that they are sustainable. When their claws are harvested, they just grow a new one. It usually takes a couple of years, but it will happen. Stone crab season runs from October to May. The claws range in size from medium to colossal and the shells are extremely hard. They can be messy but oh so delicious and outrageously expensive. Joe’s Stone Crab is the quintessential spot in Miami to dine.
For those who choose not to remortgage their nest for stone crabs, there is a much more affordable option – opt for take-out… My favorite spot in Palm Beach County to pick up is Outclaws. They’re located in an industrial park in Northern Palm Beach and are well worth the trip. Outclaws sells all things “Florida fish” including gigantic king crab legs, cooked shrimp, and spiny lobster tails. Remember, you are not buying for the entire family, just for your empty nest. That’s a bargain in itself! The perfect end to a stone crab feast is a tangy and delicious key lime pie that they just happen to have in their freezer case.