Virginia Beach in the Off Season
Way back in March, Zach was invited by Endless Vacation magazine to write a feature about Virginia Beach in the Autumn.
So in the earliest days of spring, we hopped in a car and went to sample all that Virginia Beach had to offer. It was a jam-packed/meal-packed weekend as we ran from one activity -- kayaking! indoor skydiving! climbing through treetops in an adventure park! -- to another.
Virginia Beach rolled out the red carpet, but we had one experience that's really stayed with us: a visit to Pleasure House Oysters.
Here's the scene:
It's mid-afternoon on a Sunday, and the sun is starting to lower in the sky. It's one of those early days of spring -- sunny but still cold -- that indicates longer, warmer days are coming. We meet the owner of Pleasure House, Chris, on a dock. He outfits us with waders (very flattering, as you can see from the photo above), then we all climb on the boat and head out to Chris' farm.
What happened next was one of those experiences that we'll never forget, and have thought of since every time we've had an oyster.
We get off the boat into ankle-deep water. Chris walks into deeper water and starts hauling oyster-filled cages out of the water. He begins to open the cages, showing us what's inside and explaining how he goes about farming oysters -- his process, the challenges.
Then it's time to eat.
Chris produces a simple champagne mignonette that he made at home, and then he starts popping open oysters for us to sample. Some were tiny, some very large. Incredibly, we opened at least five oysters to find crabs living inside -- a fertilized crab egg will float its way into an oyster and become trapped, and the crab lives its entire lifetime inside the oyster. We ate the little squiggling crabs right along with the oyster itself. Here's a photo:
Standing there in the water, eating these delicious oysters was an incredible experience. If you can make it to Virginia Beach, Pleasure House Oyster offers tasting tours. More about that, and Zach's full article -- Virginia Beach in the Autumn -- is available online.
And he also wrote a piece about The Art of Eating an Oyster, which you might like as well.
We'll leave you with this footage of Zach in the early stages of learning to indoor skydive, over on Instagram.
Like eating a live crab that's been living inside an oyster, the experience is not for the faint of heart.