There are small shifts from year to year, variations that are traditions in themselves: We alternate who gets first pick of the bedrooms, which duo makes the expedition to the Food Lion to buy a car-load of groceries, which family hosts the mid-week covered dish supper, who cooks what and when. The first night we always pick up pizza from the place down the road. At some point all the women convene at The Top Dog for a “long ladies lunch,” followed by a stop at the Pea Island Gallery. There are trips to pick up more beer, wine, chips, bread and cream cheese (a top five of Things We Always Run Out Of), a wild goose chase or two in search of some hard-to-find ingredient for dinner. Inevitably someone will need to drive to the far-away state-run liquor store to re-up. One day will probably be consumed by rain.

There is a short list of things we could do that we haven’t done before, that we talk about doing while knowing we probably will not do them.

-At Vela, Eryn Loeb returns to the shores of North Carolina, juxtaposing the subtle changes to the landscape with the familiarity of her family’s routine.

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Photo: James Jordan