I wish I would have kept track of how many Thanksgivings we have spent on the beach. It has to be close to 20.
For the most part, it has become an annual tradition with the Burlesons.
This year we loaded up the Jeep Patriot and drove to Perdido Key, Fla. We’d stayed there before but this was our first time at this condominium.
The holiday trips began in the 1990s and started in Orange Beach, Ala. They have also ventured to Gulf Shores, Ala., Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., and Destin, Fla.
My wife Pam picks the places, and this year ranks as one of the best.
It was sort of off the beaten path, secure and quiet. And it was on the fourth floor with a great beach view.
When we first started the Thanksgivings on the beach, there were very few folks around – except for elderly, retired couples escaping from the northern states to the warmer temperatures.
That has changed a bit. More people have caught on to the lure of the beaches in late November. But, thank goodness, there’s still no wait at restaurants.
As I’ve written here time and time again, one of the biggest attractions to the Gulf Coast for me is the seafood.
We tried a few different places this time around.
The highlight was the oysters on the half shell at The Original Point Restaurant. They were huge and some of the best ever. Pam, Emma, Erin and I shared a dozen. We should have gotten two dozen. I had mullet for my “real meal,” another good choice.
The first night, Tuesday of last week, we enjoyed The Islander Food Shack, just about a mile from the condo. It was probably one of the smallest places we’d ever dined but it was a great way to kick off the restaurant visits. I ordered grilled shrimp on a skewer and Pam ordered the fried. We swapped around a little of each other’s.
Thursday, we had our annual Thanksgiving meal in the condo while enjoying some football. We included the regulars – like turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and green bean casserole – but also added a touch of seafood, crab claws and peel-and-eat shrimp.
Andy and his girlfriend, Brooke, joined us Thursday night (after Thanksgiving with her family) and enjoyed plenty of leftovers.
Then our biggest meal of this year’s beach trip came late Friday afternoon. We returned to one of my favorites that Pam and I discovered a few years back, Mikee’s Seafood in Gulf Shores. We had to again start with oysters on the half shell. I finished with catfish stuffed with crab meat and shrimp.
Saturday, we watched the Iron Bowl and liked the result, Alabama over Auburn.
Another favorite of any beach trip is walking on the beach and particularly at night. We all enjoyed that together our last night there, Saturday.
And even though our kids are no longer kids, we still have to go to the family fun locations, like Adventure Islands. Pam hit the big jackpot this year, as far as tickets, and we racked up more than 4,000. It got us a Connect Four (we love board games) and other items. I did not have much luck with my favorites – the claw games.
The beach continues to bring our family wonderful Thanksgiving memories.