Happy Birthday, Marcie

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Yup, Happy Birthday to me … and what a birthday it was and continues to be … I tend to celebrate the entire month of November. We started the morning with the Captain singing Happy Birthday. I know that should have been enough, but I’m a high-maintenance woman and I wanted more.

We’d reserved a room in a classy hotel on the beachfront at Virginia Beach. This time of year, the beach is empty, the town is empty, especially mid-week, and we were hoping to have the place pretty to ourselves … exactly the way we like it.

It’s been cold and raw here in Chesapeake, but today the temperature soared to near 60F and the sun was shining. Virginia Beach is less than a 30-minute drive away and in no time, we were comfortably ensconced in a king suite, watching the ocean waves roll onto the beach.

 A lone sailboat skimmed along the horizon.

A lone sailboat skimmed along the horizon.

We rarely exchange “gifts” any more. Instead, we share experiences and make memories. We bundled up and walked the beach, shuffling through the sand, dodging the waves that rhythmically lapped the shore. I dipped my hand into the gray, bleak Atlantic … just as cold as it looked. Seagulls scattered as we approached. A lone sailboat skimmed along the coast, tossed by the choppy sea. We figured it was a cold ride.

 A surfer catches the last of the season's waves.

A surfer catches the last of the season's waves.

We wandered along the Boardwalk that was overcrowded and steamy during the summer months, and now blissfully vacant and expansive. A few folks walked their dogs, while others, braced against the brisk ocean wind, moved determinedly towards some unknown destination. We watched as a few hardy surfers clad in wetsuits tried to catch the last of the season's waves.

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We’d done a little homework in advance (of course, we did!), sussing out a place for my birthday dinner. My criteria included 1) close walking proximity to the hotel, so we could drink a cocktail or two and/or indulge in a bottle of wine without having to drive; 2) quiet ambiance, unique atmosphere; and 3) expansive fresh seafood offerings … and delightfully, decadent desserts. Tautog’s appeared to fit the bill.

 Tautogs was a fine place for a birthday dinner!

Tautogs was a fine place for a birthday dinner!

Housed in a 1920s vintage beach cottage, Tautogs is only a couple blocks from the hotel. It was crowded for a mid-week night and louder than we’d anticipated, but still we found everything we could have imagined for a romantic birthday celebration. It’s the company that counts. We lingered over cocktails, chatting comfortably and amiably as good friends do. We ordered leisurely … an appetizer of sherry-laced she-crab soup. Our entrees were exquisite … Coquille St. Jacques for me, stuffed flounder baked in parchment for David. And dessert? I hate to admit it, but there was no more room at the inn … I took a raincheck … November’s not over.

Satisfied in body and spirit, we walked back to the hotel, arm in arm, shivering a bit in the cold, dark evening, the ocean breeze biting at our faces. This is my idea of a fine birthday celebration. It really doesn’t get much better, except ...

Oh, I forgot to mention … just before leaving the boatyard earlier today, the UPS man delivered an envelope containing a contract for the sale of Nine of Cups and a deposit check. Oh, my! Happy Birthday, Marcie!