You can’t go home again. Really? Sure you can. Especially if it’s a big deal birthday party for someone you love.


Backing it up a bit, this is where we grew up. My brothers, my sister and I. The south shore of Long Island, Freeport, NY. The little strip of land bordering Woodcleft Canal is now called The Nautical Mile. When we lived here it was just a place we rode our bicycles. Back in the day, there were a few dive-bar eateries here and there. Otto’s might be the only one remaining. It was a long time ago and this area was hit hard by hurricane Sandy. I was happy to see most of the town brought back from that disaster.


Seems to be all about big fancy boats with big fancy engines now. My husband likes to quip that he has had many a work involved fishing expedition sailing out of this canal only to wind up fishing off the coast of New Jersey…. ironically, where we actually live.


The photos above were the back-drop scenery from the balcony of Vue or E B Elliotts. My brother in law loves the water, comes from Long Island as well and will take any chance he can get to be out on his boat. When it came to choosing a venue to surprise his wife, this was the only choice.


Was my sister surprised? I’d say by the look on her face and the tears running down her cheeks that she was shocked. It was no easy feat to get family and friends to drive to Long Island on a Sunday afternoon. Beach traffic alone can make the faint of heart want to stay close to their backyard kiddie pools.


For my sister, my Irish twin, it was a no-brainer. The ride across the bridges, both Outer and Verrazano, was blessedly traffic-free with the going. Not so much coming home. (As an aside, I have to wonder why someone doesn’t develop a ferry system from Atlantic Highlands to Freeport. Seriously!? You’d make a fortune!)

But, it was a birthday party which meant good food and lots of cheerful drinking and catching up with old friends. The Bloody Mary’s were nice and spicy. I took notice though that this might be one of the only bars I have found in recent history to still make a Pina Colada slushie. Why did they ever go out of style?


The food was surprisingly good. The restaurant brought their A-game to this affair. My option of shrimp and clams over bucatini turned out to be a briny bright spot in a bowl. Tender, sweet (as in not overcooked) clams and shrimp were served in a perfect, light wine touched sauce. A spoonful of red pepper flakes didn’t hurt the integrity of the dish either. My only gripe was the choice of pasta. Bucatini is hard to wrap around a fork when cooked to proper al dente consistency. It tends to flop around like a live fire hose. Making the effort of getting forkful into mouth a little difficult. Linguine would be more suitable, but maybe not as much fun to eat.


Salmon served on a bed of lobster risotto was the choice of many. It was the risotto that appealed I was told. The salmon was fresh, not over cooked, and also good. Seafood is always iffy when served banquet style. Getting all of the plates out quickly, yet making sure that none winds up overcooked is not that easy. The kitchen did a magnificent job.


In the end, it’s all about the birthday cake though. This one, a marble cake with overly sweet icing was all the better because it had my sisters name on it. Happy Birthday Lynnie. I can’t wait to see what the next part of our lives has in store for us.

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