Friday, September 2, 2011

Wild Horses, Wild Women

This summer I went to an epic bachelorette party, or as they say in epic "hen" party. It is a new tradition for a woman to be thrown a raging party by friends before marriage compared to its compliment, the "stag" party.   While the latter has been around for centuries in its common form, the idea for women to go out and get plastered as one last hurrah has really only become common since the 1960's. 

This particular party was no bar hopping hose down.   Nope.  The bride to be, my cousin, brought 11 of her closest gals to a sea island where she spent much of her childhood exploring life.  That is Sarah above showing me how she can peel a shrimp in two moves.   I prided myself as a three stage peeler, but growing up on an island as the daughter of a ship captain...well lets just say the girl knows her way around seafood.

As family in the restaurant business, I volunteered to be in charge of food and beverage...the duty of a bridesmaid called.  I did this without much thought to what it would entail, you see Cumberland Island is mostly National Park.  You have to get there by boat, cars are allowed only to the handful of people that live there, and there is no grocery or liquor store to restock if the cupboard runs dry. 

Chef and I set to work listing all that would be needed.  There would be two breakfasts, two lunches, and one dinner to be prepared on site.  I asked the bride to be what her favorite foods were for each meal and a menu took form.  As did a cocktail line up.  Not hitting a bar scene had no bearing on the debauchery we had planned.   Beer, Wine, Tequilla, Vodka, Gin, and Goslings Rum for the bachelorette's favorite beverage the Dark and Stormy (captains daughter classic) were boxed with appropriate mixers and readied for the boat ride.  

The day before we set off we began stockpiling boxes and coolers in our living room for the voyage.  A repair man came to our house to fix something and asked what it was all for.  I told him "camping" not wanting to explain that we rented a house on an isolated island...yada yada yada.  He looked at me like I was a capricious lunatic. 

One of the other bridesmaids was helping us with this endeavor and when it came time to load our little fishing boat she doubted it would run with such a load.  Oh, but run it did.  We cracked open some beers for the ride and Sarah, her sister/maid of honor, and two ginger bridesmaids cast off with Chef as our captain.  He got us to the island safely, did his Sherpa duty, and then left us to our business.

I had a game plan, and each meal went wonderfully.  Breakfast happened spontaneously as we dragged ourselves out of bed.  We had two fabulous picnic lunches.  One at Plum Orchard, a grand abandoned home perched on a field scattered with wild horses.  There we dined on a variety of gorgeous cheeses shipped from California, by a bridesmaid that was unable to attend.  Another lunch on the beach with a variety of salads brought by the bachelorette's sister in laws.  We had two dinners on the island.  The first meal we made at our little cottage.  The menu:  boiled shrimp, Sarah's father's grouper with special sauce,  grits, and mixed green salad.  Chef had taken the grits out of the package, and without internet we had no idea the proper way to cook them.  Luckily, a southern sister in law swooped in and gave us a lesson. 

The last night we had dinner at the Greyfield Inn.  Every Christmas Eve, Sarah's family comes to the inn for dinner, and she wanted to share a taste of her family tradition with us.  It was a gorgeous meal.

After dinner, we had a lingerie party, did shots and went skinny dipping in shark infested waters.  Who needs a table top bar dance when you have man-eating fish, rip tides, and tequila to make your last hurrah wild and crazy?   Tipsy girls being circled by large predators...just like any run of the mill bachelorette party bar scene right?  Wrong.  This bachelorette party was extraordinary, just like the lady it honored.

 (Sarah on the right, with her sister Molly...beauties!)

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