There's nothing like seeing the face of someone you love absolutely light up with joy. It's that look they give you, giant smiles and huge eyes, that says: "You did NOT! Is this REAL?!" This was my goal for Grace and I's weekend getaway to the coastal beauty of the Hamptons.
She loves good style.
We started our weekend adventure with a 2-hour train ride on the LIRR from the heart of Manhattan, bags in tow and in full athleisure wear. One of my favorite moments from the weekend is arriving at our Airbnb, changing into far more lovely attire, giggling and excited for the weekend. My girl loves her J.Crew and there's no place like Montauk for J.Crew.
She loves lobster rolls in the summertime.
One of Grace's favorite summertime classics is a good ol' lobster roll, with a side of crunchy potato chips and a glass of crisp rosé. As I scouted Google, bloggers, and Instagram, I stumbled upon Duryea's Lobster Deck. What a perfect way to start off the weekend! This would be the first surprise: a lunch out on the water, crisp white cloths flapping in the breeze shading us from the sun, and one of her favorite coastal summertime meals.
She loves cozy lil lighthouses.
From the early days of our friendship, I knew Grace loved lighthouses. During one of our early trips when I visited her in New York City, we spent a night riding bikes to a little red lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge. A weekend on the New England coast would not be complete without a trip to a lighthouse. This was surprise number two: a stroll along the sand dunes and misty beaches to the Montauk Lighthouse with its bold white and red colors against the blue sky and open seas.
She loves a damn good sunset.
No exaggeration: I planned this whole trip around sunset: the exact time sunset would happen, which spot we'd be at, and leaving enough time to get there in time for the sky to glow. Also no exaggeration: Grace beyond adores a beautiful sky of golds, dusty pinks, and purple hues. I wanted this third surprise to be perfect! Thus, I dove head first into the depths of Google, bloggers, Instagrammers, food and travel magazine articles, and scoured through many photos. The winner? Crow's Nest was the best spot: upscale while being relaxed and laid-back. This was the third surprise: a delicious crab pasta and cocktails dinner at the restaurant at the top of a the hill overlooking the sea, followed by a to-die-for sunset down at the beach with our toes in the sand and string lights that glittered as twilight fell. And man, the Painter of the skies really showed up for us that night.
She loves to love.
This last surprise was one I didn't see coming, but is so in line with who Grace is. She loves to love. And it was my turn to be surprised. We set 0 alarms, so I woke up at a ripe late morning time, looked around, and not a Grace in sight. By the time I made it down the stairs, there she was with a bright "Good morning! Breakfast is ready outside on the patio, whenever you're ready." She had biked out to pick up fresh muffins, bagels, orange juice, and prepped it all early this morning. To which my only reaction was, "You did NOT! Is this REAL?!" I was spoiled, loved, and blessed. She was the culprit behind my joy.
To bless is to know joy. And the time, effort, thought behind these acts of love are the true gifts. It is a powerful way to say:
"I see you. I know you. I will put in the effort to bless you."
To be blessed, on the receiving end, is to know that you were seen, known, and loved. You filled their mind and thoughts, and then their effort and actions to bless you - just as Grace had been thinking about and prepping for a lil breakfast surprise, woke up early, biked there and back in time before I woke up, and laid it out on the patio all ready before the moment I woke up.
The best part is that love multiplies as it is given unconditionally. It's the best vicious cycle EVER.