Some kind of recreational activity

Coffee as recreational activity: Virginia Beach in the snow, January 31,2014

Coffee as recreational activity: Virginia Beach in the snow, January 31,2014

“It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.”Dave Barry

I know people who have a genuine medical need for coffee, and I’m not one of them.  I have a genuine medical need for tea, but I do sometimes engage in coffee as a recreational activity, especially if I can get eggs and hash browns with it.

Recently southeastern Virginia, where our York home is located, got a rare heavy snowfall,   Under the circumstances, we did what anyone would do: we went to the beach.  Seriously, the roads were pretty clear, and I was up for breakfast at the Belvedere again; it was a rare opportunity to see Virginia Beach covered with snow, and we didn’t even have to wait for the table with the best view.  So rest easy, Dave: I did not keep anyone in dire circumstances waiting for their coffee.

If anything, breakfast at the Belvedere is MORE fun in the snow, especially with delicious hot coffee and a cozy booth with a great 180 degree view.  Apparently lots of people share our enthusiasm for snow-covered beaches, because I snapped many photos of joggers, bikers and indulgent canines walking their human companions through the powdery white stuff.  The waves kept crashing as always, totally unimpressed with the temperatures, and the sun perked everything up.

So coffee as a recreational activity is perfectly suitable for the beach, especially when it snows!

One year ago today:

Firesides on winter evenings


  1. HarryS

    Thanks for the Joy!

    • You’re welcome! 🙂 Thanks for being here.

  2. You probably know that I am one with a medical need. However, I don’t believe I’m so “bad off” that I can’t wait my turn! 🙂 Isn’t Dave Barry the funniest!

    • Yes, I just love Dave Barry. Anytime you want quick, instant laughs, just go to his blog and read the questions and comments he posts above the outrageous news stories sent to him by his alert readers. I think he might be the funniest American in history. I am not making that up!

  3. Ann

    I’ve never seen snow at the beach. Love the idea of indulgent canines walking their human companions!
    The snow was here, it was pretty for a day and it’s gone…hooray!

    • Ann, you could just see it in those dogs’ faces and movements…”I don’t get it; I’ve done my business, why are we still out here? (Sniff, sniff) Nothing to see here! Let’s move along! BTW can’t you tell it’s COLD????” I don’t think I had ever seen snow on a beach before, either; it’s quite a sight. I’m glad you had some of the “pretty for a day and then gone” – that sounds like my kind of snow!!! I’m wondering how long our grimy drifts will hang around in Alexandria. In York it all disappeared pretty quickly.

  4. Jack

    My cup of Dunkin Donuts Dark Roast coffee and I cozy up together every morning about 500 AM for a little quiet and reflection, some reading, thinking, thanking and just generally being still. It isn’t an obsession the way Solitude or Lava Cap Chardonnay used to be about 10 years ago, haven’t found myself yet hiding the empty DDDR k-cups from my wife, but it’s a buzzworthy pleasurable sensory experience. No need for an intervention just yet, but you’ve got me thinking…

    And in my FRUGALITY, I’m thinking that $0.70 is a lot to pay for a silly cup of coffee (x 2/day x about 300 days/year = thinking too much).

    • Jack, you just hit on the main reason I don’t use a Keurig one-cup coffee machine; it’s tempting since I rarely drink more than a cup at a time, and Jeff doesn’t touch it. But I am just too doggone cheap frugal to pay for K-cups, and the packaging seems wasteful too. So I make do with my little Melitta one-cup brew cone and it’s as easy as pie, no cleanup and as a bonus I can pre-mix my cocoa in the bottom of the cup before the coffee brews. I don’t know how much it ends up costing but I get the filters for one or two cents apiece, and the coffee is way, way less than 70 cents per cup. Coffee lovers tell me this handy little gizmo makes pretty good coffee, although I wouldn’t know the difference!

  5. Jenelle

    That is a few favorite quote, haha!

    I wanted to go to breakfast at that place when you posted a pic in the summertime, but now I really must put that on my list. How cool is that view! Julia, you look so comfy cozy in that booth, the food looks (and probably tastes amazing) and the scenery is beautifully relaxing. Snow on the beach fascinates this CA girl. Thank you for this wonderful post today. I’m inspired to eat a hearty breakfast with coffee before church. I’m off to do so…. 🙂

    • Jenelle, I hope you had a wonderful breakfast today. Be sure to let me know when you plan to come to Virginia Beach! As much fun as it is to come in the snow, it might be better to come in spring or fall. I’m not sure when we might see snow there again. Not too far from the Belvedere you can have the unusual opportunity to view a lighthouse from a nearby lighthouse. There are lots of interesting things to see around here, and spring or fall are less crowded and hot – more like CA weather!

      • Jenelle

        Julia, I will definitely let you know when I go to the east coast! It’s been a long dream of mine to go in the fall. Sigh. I know someone who is planning on taking a 2 week train tour starting up in Maine and going down and I’m trying not to be jealous. I am kind of love with lighthouses so, yeah, I need to get over there. Btw– my breakfast was delicious and perfect for a Sunday morning. It’s rare that I get all those yummy flavors so I appreciated today even more. Oh, and when I found a potato I freaked out! Homemade hash browns 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • Hee-hee, hash browns are the best, aren’t they!!! If you love lighthouses you definitely should do the east coast trip, but going by car would be even better for a lighthouse fan. Maine has some gorgeous ones. The thing I like about the East Coast is that the cities and places to see feel closer together than they are on the west coast. I guess it’s just more populated or something. The downside is that it mostly lacks the wild, breathtaking beauty of the west coast (cliffs, crashing surf, gorgeous blue water etc.), but it has a beauty of its own, and parts of it are stunning. Going in the fall would be ideal although it’s really hard to time the leaves. We missed the peak colors when we went to Nova Scotia in mid September, but it was still really pretty and not as crowded or expensive as it would have been in summertime.

  6. What an incredible view! I love the way the table presses right up to the window. The beach and snow, all wrapped into one. I’m a tea drinker myself; Mike drinks coffee. I could smell coffee all day, but just never acquired the taste. I do love going out for breakfast, though, and if the hash browns are good, I’m golden.

    By the way, what does the tiny blue sign say?

    • Yes, Alys, they call that the “honeymoon” table since there’s a seat on just one side. They apparently didn’t have room to put a whole booth so they wisely decided to take advantage of the fabulous view anyway. The little blue sign says “Booths for two or more persons. Thank you for not smoking.” This place is so tiny — literally smaller than some people’s kitchens! — that they save the booths (all four or five of them) for parties of two or more, and have stools along the counter facing the kitchen for people who are there by themselves. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind place.

      • It sounds wonderful. Thanks for all the additional details. I’m picturing a wonderfully cozy place, fresh out of a novel. I wish I could think of the name of the book right now, but if it comes to me, I’ll be sure to share.

        • Of course I don’t have fancy tastes in restaurants, but I do love little places that are unique. I used to love Pasta Pomodoro in North Beach (San Francisco) for that same reason. I am sad that they are closed now. We went there when we went back for a visit several years ago, but it has closed since then. BTW speaking of unique places…have you ever been to the oceanfront Taco Bell in Pacifica? We loved that too! Definitely the only Taco Bell with an ocean view that I know of!

          • We still have two Pasta Pomodoro restaurants in San Jose. You’re in luck if you come for a visit.

            I’ve never heard of the oceanfront Taco Bell! I’m so glad you shared. I’ll have to make a point of finding it…perhaps one day this summer. That is so funny. Thanks for sharing, Julia.

            • Yes, I certainly hope that Taco Bell never closes. It’s definitely the best one I know of. The original one, the very first one built, is right on the ocean in Laguna Beach, but you can’t see the beach from the restaurant. We went there back in the 60’s and I thought it was the best food I’d ever eaten. Little did I know it would someday be a family favorite chain we would continue to eat at for many years. Decades later I took the boys back there and the town had grown up around it so much that I couldn’t find it at first; in the beginning, it was on a stretch of highway with nothing much around except the sand and surf! My how things change.

              I will have to head for Pasta Pomodoro if we get back to the west coast. The one in North Beach used to fix the most wonderful Polenta (even back during the days when hardly anyone had ever heard of it) but the one in Vallejo didn’t have it on their menu at all, so I always looked forward to North Beach. Of course, I never met an Italian restaurant I didn’t love 🙂 as there are so many fabulous choices.

              • Interesting to read that the menus are varied. I guess different tastes for different regions makes sense.

                • They were mostly the same, but I always noticed the polenta being left off because that was what I always ordered. I think it was considered an appetizer, although I have seen it as a main course elsewhere. I figured the North Beach location must have had it “by popular demand.” WOW was it good. Some sort of fresh herbs on the top – I never knew exactly what, but I wish I had thought to ask.

  7. Hey, I think I sat in that same spot with you a few years back! 🙂 Like you, I have a medical need for tea; I pass on coffee, unless it’s coffee-flavored something or other, such as my favorite mocha chip frappaccino at Starbucks.

    • Yes, that’s exactly what I think of as “coffee as a recreational activity!” Apparently Dave Barry thinks the same thing. 🙂 I don’t remember where all we went when you were there with me, but I do know we strolled all up and down the boardwalk after eating the picnic Jeff packed for us. I have a photo of you with Neptune somewhere, I think, and probably more than one of my collection of pictures of you taking pictures were made that day!

  8. KJ

    Ha! Mine is a medical need, but this sounds beautiful either way.

    • Maybe coffee shops should do a triage like hospitals and clinics do! It’s a beautiful place for either type of coffee drinker, or even those who don’t drink it at all (like Alys, I prefer the smell of coffee to the taste of it!) Here’s a cartoon you might identify with! Thanks for being here and have an energetic day!

  9. Raynard

    Julia I was actually thinking about driving down to Virginia Beach with my wife and dogs. When the weather breaks it might be one of our first Smokey and The Bandit/Cannonball runs. Hope you got the picture of the valentines day cake I baked.I also have a short video on YouTube. I now have to eat the Edible Arriangment fruit basket my wife gave me for valentines day Be blessed both you and Jeff and have a good day

    • Raynard, my niece sent us an Edible Arrangement for Thanksgiving a couple of years ago and it was beautiful. Almost too beautiful to eat — but not quite! 🙂 There are lots of fun things to see in Virginia Beach. If you are retired military there are some great places to stay, Ft. Story and Dam Neck are both very nice and right on the beach in much less crowded locations. The Belvedere is located about halfway between the two if you want to have coffee there. If you do I should come take your photo there at that same table and post it on the blog! Someone is going to think they are paying me but they have no idea I am even blogging about it. I did get the cake photo – Thanks! I sent you a question about it via email.

  10. I like coffee best with a cake donut with chocolate frosting but I don’t have to have it. I do instant since Stephen doesn’t like it but I have a coffee maker (it was a wedding gift 30 + years ago) that I pull out when there is someone here who is in medical need. 🙂 What a lovely booth. Can’t wait to go there with you and I would have had to see the beach with snow. What fun.

    • Amy, we need to plan a quick beach trip sometime even if it’s in the middle of the week, but you could come down most any weekend since we’re usually at York. We watched the movie you loaned us tonight and really liked it. Did I ever make coffee for you with my Melitta filter cup? You should try it in case you like it better than instant – it isn’t much more trouble. Remind me next time you come over and see what you think.

      • Isn’t that a sweet little film. I hate to admit it but I know I would be the crabby lady who goes home. I WANT to be the one who loves it but I know hmmmmm no, not in me. I will try the coffee next time we get together. We keep saying we will come down one weekend and interrupt your time down there but somehow the weekends come and go and we are still in Manassas. 🙂 This spring I will make it a priority to come to York county. Love ya.

        • Amy I think you and I would both be the Judy Dench character. That’s who you remind me of. Yes, the weekends do come and go far too quickly, don’t they? It is beyond amazing to me that we’ve had our place here in Alexandria for nearly four years!!! At the time Jeff was considering coming to Bolling, I told him “three years will be gone before you know it.” That’s originally how long we thought we’d be here. Little did we know! But aside from Jeff’s cancer and Matt’s heart problems and Pasha’s death (lots of BIG, GIANT asides) I have really loved these years. Jeff and I were talking about how amazing it is to us that somehow, even with all that has happened the past 18 months, we still have MANY happy memories from those months. “There will be showers of blessings, this is the promise of love” – I miss singing that old hymn!

  11. Sam

    Love that view and especially the snow on the beach. The Lemon Ricotta pancakes that you mentioned in your last blog and photo of the Belvedere sounded so appealing that I found a recipe online and they have become one of our favorite meals….even on these cold evenings, we have enjoyed breakfast for dinner. Thanks for sharing the lovely view and as well as mention of the pancakes!! Sounds like a place we would enjoy.

    • Sam, my mother used to make breakfast for dinner sometimes and I always loved it, especially after she got a waffle iron! Sometimes I like to go to a restaurant that has breakfast all day and order it for dinner. Cracker Barrel (my favorite) does that, but I usually end up going for cornbread and vegetables! If you are ever near Virginia beach you will have to pop over to the Belvedere and ask for the “honeymoon table.” Thanks for being here!

  12. Sheila

    Julia, although I don’t recall snow when Bill and I lived 4 blocks from that area in 1969 we spent many hours on that beach. We brought our first baby, Ashley, home from Portsmouth Naval Hospital in March, 1970, to 33rd Street. It goes without saying, I love the blog! 🙂

    • Sheila, I had forgotten about your living in that area. The Belvedere was probably there back then. Have you seen the huge and beautiful new hospital at Portsmouth? I’m so glad you like the blog! We have discovered so many common threads here.

  13. Julia, love the picture! and coffee, my favorite drink. a must have in the mornings as I make breakfast. 🙂

    • Merry, as mentioned, my favorite thing about coffee is the smell, but I’m getting more fond of it the older I get! 🙂 I kind of got used to drinking it all those weeks Jeff was in the hospital this past year. I pretty much lived on it since they had it available for staff and families all the time, and even had chocolate milk I could put in it.

  14. Beth

    Coffee is a hotly debated subject in my family. According to my mom, my coffee is little more than scared water. I like to ease into morning and not shock my senses with a jolt of bitter tasting muck, which is why I usually begin with a cup of tea 🙂

    • Beth, the appeal of drinking coffee (as opposed to smelling it or flavoring ice cream with it) has always eluded Jeff and me. I started drinking it for survival mostly – I’ve been a sleepyhead all my life and at my age, I need a jump-start! But I still have to spike it with chocolate to drink it. I like to put a few spoons of Ovaltine in the mug (or for a real treat, Ghiradelli hot cocoa mix 🙂 ) and then use lots of milk in it. It ends up being mostly hot chocolate with coffee in it, but I’m moving gradually toward coffee with cocoa. Do you ever go to Trader Joe’s? They have hot coffee available free for shoppers, and theirs is the best I’ve ever tasted. They have organic agave syrup for sweetener, and real, fresh cream (not nondairy junk), and a variety of really good brews. It’s the closest I come to being a coffee fan, but I’ll probably always prefer tea.

  15. I thought I recognized that view ! You look so fresh and pretty with your hair tied back. Before I started reading I was surprised to see the snow. It makes me laugh that people get a thrill out of it when you live in a place it seldom happens. I suppose I ‘might’ miss it if we didn’t get ANY. Although no one would admit to that this year. I think they’re still getting a blizzard in New Brunswick today, those poor guys.

    I just love breakfast out or if Mr B makes it. My Aunty just bought me breakfast yesterday morning. We almost always have the French Toast with fruit. This particular place called Cora’s gives you giant helpings of freshly sliced banana, strawberry, grapes, watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe on top. It’s a mountain of yumminess and of course there’s lots of coffee.

    I was admiring the Sandcastle out the window and when I went to the summer link it’s the same castle, LOL I guess it’s a permanent one.

    • Thanks K, I hardly ever wear my hair down, it’s usually back and/or in a snood. I usually don’t post “bad hair day” photos (which for me is six days a week, hee-hee) but I wanted to make an exception for the Belvedere since it’s such a casual “come as you are” type place. I know how funny it must seem to you to get excited about snow! Sort of like our sons always felt about people who got excited about the beach, HO HUM, what’s the big deal? 🙂

      Breakfast is probably my very favorite meal to eat out. Cora’s sounds PERFECT. I never, ever tire of fruit, all kinds. I usually get at least 80% of my “fruit and vegetable group” servings from fruit! Yes, that’s a permanent sand castle; I guess it’s meant to be an inspiration to the kids on the beach – “Try and top THIS one!”

      • We saw a guy in San Diego out in front of the Del Coronado making fantastic sand castles. I think the hotel might hire him but we also left a small gratuity because he was really friendly and loved what he was doing. Happiness is contagious and I thought that was worthy of a tip. We loved the snorkel beach in Maui. I took a video and have watched it many times.

        • Jeff and I have said for decades that we were going to go to Coronado and spend a couple of days sometime. The military used to have a very nice place to stay there, I don’t know whether they still do. Hey it’s funny you mention the sand sculptor – my post tomorrow features a man who was doing rock balancing in San Francisco and people were leaving him gratuities for the same reason, of course nobody was paying him, he was just doing it for fun. I could never tire of beaches! I hope you are able to enjoy many more trips to Maui or anywhere else there are nice ocean views — we even have a few out here! 😀 Not Hawaii by any means, but still pretty nice.

  16. PS, Dave Barry cracked me up as always

    • I just love Dave Barry. I think he has done more for the mental health of the world than an army of psychologists or psychiatrists. Laughter really is the best medicine and he has provided us with so much of it.

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