Over the years, I have grossly underestimated the importance of simply getting away. Now, getting away does not necessarily mean a long winded vacation, though I do have one planned. However, I rarely consider the importance of having a change of scenery that is close to home. And honestly, living in southern California, it is a shame I don’t take advantage of it more often. Luckily, I had a caring friend who was there to remind me that a vacation can mean more than an itinerary and a plane ticket.
This past weekend I had the good fortune to go out and spend a few days in Newport Beach. It was a much needed break from my usual surroundings, as the monotony of life can become relentless and can have a way of tearing a spirit down. Honestly, I did not realize how much I needed this, until it happened. It wasn’t just a change in surroundings that was needed, but it was the opportunity to interact with a fresh group of people in a new place that helped to really rejuvenate me.
I did not do much, but doing nothing somewhere else always feels like something, doesn’t it? To add to the weekend, a steadfast gloom of grey overcast and an approaching storm made any ideas of frolicking on the sandy shore nothing more but a dream. But there is something soothing and poetic about rainy days on the beach that I just love. So, without regard to weather, I put on a comfy outfit and went walking along the shore front path heading towards the boardwalk of Newport Beach.One of the best things about getting out is finding new places to eat! And I just so happened upon a quaint little sushi restaurant, Sakae Sushi. Decked out in decor I’m sure is meant to give an authentic Japanese feel, I could imagine the restaurants humble size feeling up in the evening hours with patrons new and old. Luckily I came after the lunch hour, but before the first call of those getting off from work for the weekend, so I had the place all to myself. Being a sushi enthusiast, I am always open to new interpretations to classics. So, I was thoroughly amused when I came across their dish known as The Pink Lady Roll; crab and avocado wrapped in strips of salmon and topped with red caviar, and it has absolutely no rice! This to me was a plus, because 1) I love raw salmon, 2) I love caviar 3) And without the rice, I did not feel overly stuffed. If I ever get to make my way down there again, I would gladly return to Sakae. The owners were even kind enough to give men a free miso soup to help combat the chill of the day.
Next, no day at the beach would be complete without a seafood dinner, and for me that means oysters! I enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Fly ‘N’ Fish Oyster Bar & Grill. A lovely establishment with a perfect view of the ocean. The warm, elegant décor gives the establishment a cozy feel without being a cliched ocean themed seafood restaurant, and the service was simply wonderful. Getting to enjoy half a dozen oysters, a taste of their clam chowder, and a friend shrimp plate with seasoned fries that were absolutely delicious, well, a girl really could not ask for a better evening dinner.Now, being a chillier than usual day, there weren’t exactly dozens of people swamping the area. If anything, there was just the locals about the town, and that’s what I enjoyed watching the most. There is something about beach residents that exudes a cheerfulness and a since that life is not nearly as serious as we may think it all to be. I observed children on bicycles riding along, watched dogs run with the owners along the water, and chatted with locales who seemed to be as pleasant as the day.One person even commented on how I seemed to be having a wonderful day based on the fact that I had been smiling ridiculously as I headed back down the walkway. I hadn’t even realized that my joy was so evident on my face. But even more, it made me realize that people are far more friendly then we normally assume. This means something coming from a city known for its residents not being the most approachable people in world. However, this could be attributed to the view, which could probably put anyone in the best of moods.
All in all, I’m thankful I allowed myself to take a small excursion outside of my immediate city and surroundings. It definitely reminded me to be more mindful of all there is to offer.
Can you think of an escape closer to home than you ever imagined? Where would you go even if only for a few days?
Until next time, may we all be sweetly inspired.
All photos taken by A. Reneé for Darling Afflatus, 2015.