Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Mi Casa es Su Casa
After my day of quiet and solitude at Southern Seas, I spent a different kind of day with a new set of friends who treated me like family. Margaret and Andrew Winiarczyk own and run the Breakaway Inn and Guest House along with Margaret’s sprightly, fashionable mother Michelle and three very lazy cats, Frosty, Goober and Mimi.
The Breakaway Inn and Guest House is located about 300 yards from the beach, which takes it off “romance row” on El Mar Drive. But that’s just fine. The Breakaway Inn does “break away” from the row because the owners live on the premises. They would be completely justified in putting a sign on their front door that reads “welcome to our home” because it feels like home.
Romancing the Mango
Save for sleeping in my cozy room and taking an evening dip in the pool, I spent most of my time at the Breakaway Inn with Margaret, Andrew and two other couples in the main courtyard by the barbecue. We lazed the hours away talking about everything under the sun and later, the moon.
One couple was from Vancouver, the other from Berlin; each couple has stayed at the property every year for nearly a decade. That’s an impressive number of repeat visits for a boutique property that has been open for 14 years.
One of the benefits of staying in small lodgings with equipped kitchens is the opportunity to share food with friends. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is a village that attracts friendly visitors who bring their own brand of hospitality. An impromptu potluck happened and they insisted on sharing their meal with me.
The couple from Vancouver made their version of a sushi roll with sockeye salmon they had caught in Canada. The Berlin couple shared boiled shrimp and homemade tzatziki. Wine flowed just as easily as the conversation.
I took a little tour of the property and discovered that Andrew was growing herbs, greens and vegetables in raised beds in a narrow alleyway. The garden plantings include mint, parsley, dill, lettuce and even green onion.
And then Margaret offered me a jar of homemade mango jam from a large tree behind the building. I acted like a giggly child, as if I could believe in Santa Claus again.
I have been on press trips to some of the world’s most luxurious five-star properties. Five-course gourmet dinners lasting several hours with multiple sommeliers at my service is an experience I can scratch off my bucket list.
Yet this simple mango jam tops any swag from the world’s finest. Take your Ritz-Carlton turndown service pillow chocolates any day. I’ll keep this jam!
The jam is perfect because it’s not overly sweet and how could it be? It would upstage the heart of the woman who made it with love.
I went to bed somewhat begrudging the fact that I’d have to pack up and leave the next morning. I said farewell knowing that from now on, every time I visit Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, I will stop by and say hello to Margaret, Andrew, Michelle and three very lazy cats.
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Disclosure: this travel experience was supported by The Lodging Association of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. All opinions my own.