A Week At The Beach…Kinda

My favorite hideaway, The Breeze Inn

I came down to Tybee Island and our cottage here, The Breeze Inn, to write for a few days. I do that whenever I can sneak away from home and hide out. It’s not that I can’t write at home. I can. I do. But it’s different at Tybee. No housekeeping. I make my bed in the morning and rinse out my cereal bowl and spoon and the house is done. No laundry. I wear faded black yoga pants and sweats. Nobody wants to know what’s for dinner. ‘Cuz it’s just me. And I do what I want. And that’s how I roll down here. Mostly it’s either a rotisserie chicken picked up at the Publix on nearby Wilmington Island, or spaghetti. Why spaghetti? Because when I first started running away to write down here, I usually stayed at the sweet little Garner cottage owned by our friends Ron and Leuveda.

Garner Cottage–my favorite cottage other than The Breeze Inn

And the tiny apartment-sized stove there only has two burners. So. One burner for the pasta, and one burner for the marinara sauce. Sometimes I go all la-de-damn-da and throw some sauteed Italian sausage or some rotisserie chicken into my (right out of the jar) marinara sauce. Sometimes I add a healthy splash of whatever wine I happen to be sipping. Mostly I sip cheap chardonnay. I have a new favorite cheap wine as of this weekend. It’s called SKN–which stands for Screw Kappa Napa. I spotted the bottle on the shelf because SK are my agent’s initials. The typeface on the label even looks like the typeface on his letterhead. The wine, (not Stuart, he’s way pricier) goes for twelve bucks and some change at Publix, and the chardonnay and the cabernet are surprisingly good. Even Mr. Mary Kay who is somewhat of a wine snob likes the SK cab.

Screw Kappa Napa–the new Official House Wine at Breeze Inn Cottage

I got down here Tuesday and I fixed my spaghetti and chicken, and whirled up some smoothies in the blender for breakfast. And I managed to work out some twists in the manuscript of the new book, which I’m calling SUMMER RENTAL. My editor is calling it something else, but we’ll work that out later. I even managed to write a couple of new chapters. We had a little snafu with the printer, but after I called Mermaid Cottage’s IT guy, he came over and fiddled around and we got it fixed. On Friday Mr. Mary Kay flew in for a conjugal visit. Okay, maybe he also wanted to take his boat out, but that’s what I’m calling it. Friday night we went to dinner at our favorite spot on Tybee, The Sundae Cafe. Yummy as always. On Saturday, after dropping MMK at the marina, I met my friend Tacky Jacky for some junking. Jacky and I have been junking together for more than 30 years, and she sewed all the slipcovers and even the master bedroom curtains for The Breeze Inn. We’ve had some capers together, including the infamous incident where we ended up sleeping at the Metter Jail after a late-night car breakdown. But Saturday we just went gallivanting. Don’t you love that word? We hit a yard sale and I picked up some books for a quarter apiece for our little beach house library, and Jacky got a countertop rotisserie. Then we found ourselves an estate sale, and I bought a great looking console table for $75 that will work perfectly as a writing table/dressing table for the downstairs guest bedroom I’ve been re-doing. Then it was home to check off some items on our honey-do list. Because we rent out the house through Mermaid Cottages, we try to do maintenance stuff in the slower winter months. Tom cleaned out the owner’s closet and added shelves, while I put a couple coats of clear polyurethane on the master bathroom vanity, which is actually an antique dresser I picked up at Brimfield. I also gave our dining room table a coat of tung oil because it was looking kind of tired out. That night, we invited Jacky and her friend Martin, and our friends Jimmy and Susan for dinner. Susan is the madam at Seaside Sisters, where I have my little antique booth, and Jimmy is the owner of Seaside Sweets, the great candy store/gelato shop on Tybrisa. We always like to invite Jimmy to dinner because he brings us whatever new gelato flavor he’s experimenting with. For dinner, I decided to try a recipe from a new cookbook called PIONEER WOMAN COOKS. If you haven’t read Ree Drummond’s blog, PioneerWoman, you must. It’s an account of her transformation from stiletto heel-wearing big city chick to Oklahoma ranch wife–raising four children, cooking for her hunky hubby, whom she calls The Marlboro Man, and all things cattle ranch. The blog features her amazing photography, as does the cookbook, which is a real keeper. Saturday night we made her Penne ala Betsy, which is a shrimp in tomato cream sauce with penne pasta.

Pioneer Woman’s Shrimp Penne Pasta

And by we, I mean MMK. Of course, he had to kick it up a few notches by adding a can of of Rotel tomatoes with chiles, but it was a genius touch. While Tom cooked, I fluffed the house, including setting the table. We almost always invite friends to dinner when we’re at the beach, and I love to surprise our guests by not going with paper plates, but instead using china, pretty glasses and linen napkins, which I pick up on the cheap at estate sales, Homegoods, Tuesday Morning, ect.
Our dinner table setting

Jacky brought along her famous garlic-cheese spread and some good Italian bread, and Susan made an awesome salad. And Jimmy? He brought an amazing mascarpone gelato which we dolloped on top of my brownies and topped with hot fudge sauce. Aunt Bea! That was some good grub. Sunday morning, the weather finally cleared long enough for us to take a spin around the island on the two new/used beach cruisers we just bought from our friend Tim O’Neill at Tim’s Bikes. And then we headed home to Atlanta–in time for monsoon rains. Oh well, we’ll always have Tybee.

9 thoughts on “A Week At The Beach…Kinda”

  1. Mary Kay, this is my first comment to you! I love your books and when I found out you are a thrifting, flea market, yard saleing gal well that just made it kismet! Love your blog and I'm going to do a road trip to Tybee Island soon. I live near Atlanta and so it's very doable! I have read several of your posts about Seaside Sisters and they are on my list to visit. Always,
    Linda @ A La Carte

  2. I will look for the wine – being a fan of the cheap variety myself. If you like Pinot Grigio at all look for 3 Blind Moose. It is cheap and good! Sometimes I can find it at Kroger or Target (don't go to the fine wine rack at the wine store!)
    I would so love to be on Tybee Time about now.

  3. I'm so jealous! Our summer cottage is just that–a summer place. It's probably buried under two feet of snow right now (would have been more, but we had a thaw). At least I could live vicariously through your post. April's not THAT far way, is it? (Lie to me, will you please?)

  4. Finished up the last of the yummy pasta a few nights ago, still working on the gelato tub! Thanks again for a swell night with you both, Jacky and Martin. Getting ready for Tybee's next party, Mardi Gras and Tie the Knot – see you then!

  5. Darn, if I wasn't driving on my road trip across country, I would have loved to have been there to see you! I actually am hauling across country a variety wine I bought in California Trader Joes that they don't care back east to enjoy. And did you know that 2 Buck Chuck is actually 2 Bucks in CA? Apparently the further east it heads, the more expensive it becomes! See you in Feb!

  6. Just a note to say "hi" and that I love your books. Takes me back to when I visited Tybee on a regular basis. Now I live in IL and I have to PLAN to get there. Also, a good cheap wine is Barefoot Muscato. It has such good flavor and is less than $10. Cant beat that, huh? Keep writing books about Tybee so I can imagine being there when I have 4 inches of snow on the ground!!

  7. KKA aka KT,
    While checking availability at The Desoto for a girl week get away with my "BFF Robin from Atlanta", I veer off to the Tybee Visit web site. Having never been to Tybee, decided to see what's what and share found info. with BFF. While veering, see a pic of fellas who look surprisingly like M. Payne, M. Cline & T. Trocheck. Investigate. It's them!! They're at YOUR cottage!! I've found YOU too! The www has truly made our world teeny tiny. We're in Annapolis, and send our love & blessings for 2010 to you and the fam. Love, Cissy

  8. Mary Kay, Love your books! Can't wait for the next book, when will it be out? Live in Arizona, and looking forward to a visit to Tybee Island! Business woman, single, and loving it! What a great way to spend a quite evening than a Mary Kay book!

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