An annual tradition - Christmas at the beach. What more need be said!
About 10 years ago (maybe longer), my husband left his job working for a big company to work for himself. Big move, especially at Christmas time. But if anyone could make it a successful change, it'd be my husband. He's amazing (no bias). And it was a positive move - less travel, makes his own hours, and answers to himself. It was also, conveniently, just after I'd finished law school. Guess who his 1st employee was? So win, win. Except . . . December means Christmas. Christmas mean a party. As in 'Company' party. We always looked forward to a night out, just the two of us without kids, getting dressed up and celebrating the holiday over a fancy dinner. Leaving to start his own business meant no more 'Company' party. Bummer. But wait. His business was a company. So why not include all the perks, including a party. And there it was - the first Annual Technical Business Development (TBD) Christmas Party. Invited guests? TBD's only two employees - the boss and the House Counsel.
The first few years, our Party was held at the London Grill. A very nice restaurant in the lower level of the Benson Hotel. Gorgeously decorated for Christmas, with hundreds of poinsettias lining the grand staircase leading down to the restaurants. And fabulous food. It was so fun to get all dolled up and have a gourmet meal with my main squeeze. Well, it didn't last. The sudden popularity off food carts, meant less business people eating lunch in finer restaurants. The London Grill closed its doors, and we started looking for where to hold our oh so important annual party. Tried a couple other restaurants, but none were as fun as our debut venue. One year we even took it up a notch, spending the night at the Timberline Lodge. Beautiful setting to celebrate the holiday, but still not THE place. What to do, what to do?!
Here's where knitting plays a roll. During my weekly knitting group (with seven wonderful knitting friends), I mentioned our holiday party venue dilemma. Mary Ann told me about a lovely Inn on the coast - the Stephanie Inn. OK, we could give it a try. What's to lose, right? Well, it was perfection! An easy 90 minute drive to Cannon Beach. A beautifully decorated, very quaint yet luxurious Inn overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A fabulous, gourmet dinner (and breakfast the next morning). We found it!
This year marked the fourth trip to the coast for our annual Christmas party. We've bumped it up to two nights. Year two was marked by a snow storm. Very cool to have a snowy trip to the beach. Last year was actually unseaonably warm, so we got to walk hand in hand along the beach. This past weekend was trip number four, and we got to storm watch. Lots of strong wind, which made the waves incredible - we get a dormer room with a fireplace and deck looking out over the ocean. Apparently, some people make it a point of heading to the beach when a storm's in the forecast. After being there for one, I get it. The town is pretty sleepy in the winter, with many of the restaurants closed several days of the week. But Cannon Beach (and nearby Astoria) is home to several great craft breweries. And Jay and I love a good brewpub. So lets see - beautiful Inn with fantastic, over the top Christmas decorations, a phenomenal view with crashing waves, seagulls, a fireplace, delicious food, time alone with my husband, and beer. The only thing missing is needles and yarn. Oh yes, almost forgot. 90 minutes each way in the car, 45 minutes to Astoria and back for beer, and many hours of doing nothing but staring at the crashing coastline. That means lots and lots and lots of time to knit. Merry Christmas to me!