Seafood Festival: 2015

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Every year around this time, for as long as I can remember, I’ve always headed up to Hampton Beach with my family for the annual end-of-the-Summer Seafood Festival. Since my dad passed away a few years ago, I’ve been making the drive with my mom and my cousin Paige (and occasionally with other relatives who were around and wanted to come, too-) for a carefree day of shopping, eating, skee-ball, and strolling the surf before the water gets too cold.

This past Saturday, the three of us got a bright and early start in an attempt to beat traffic (it kind of worked!) and find a decent parking spot (and that sort of worked, too!) before the mid-afternoon crowds descended upon the boardwalk and made it almost impossible to move around and get in and out of the area.

The head start gave us the advantage of being able to do some thorough browsing of the sales racks without bumping elbows with other people over and over- and I found some incredible bargains!

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I’ve always really liked the look of varsity jackets, especially in the Fall over boot cut jeans and a chunky knit sweater- so when I saw this really nice quality jacket (with a stitched Hampton Beach patch)  for only $10 (!!!!)– I knew I had to snatch it up. I’m so excited to rock this in the coming weeks. I love it!

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I found a couple of really cute, comfortable pieces for work, too. The grey-ish dress above, with fancy-looking embroidery and dark brown decorative buttons- was marked down to $13. I’m going to be layering it over black tights, and maybe over a black turtleneck on colder days since it hangs a little loosely on me.

The black and white skirt, marked down to $8- is made of lightweight material and will also be worn over black tights (and probably paired with a sweater, too.) I like the way it sways with every step I take. It’s fun.

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I took it easy on accessories this year, opting to skip purchasing any jewelry and picking up this $13 bag, instead. I love the size, which accommodates all of my stuff- and I love the colors. I typically carry deeper-toned bags in the Fall/Winter- like dark browns, navy blues, and hunter greens- but the orange, blue, and pink stripes on this bag are a beautiful combination. I’ll be using this to brighten up my “Colder Months” looks!

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Finally, I visited the booth for my favorite all-natural soap company, Scentastics, and treated myself to three bars- one of each of their newer fragrances. I love how soft and clean these bars make my skin feel- and they all smell amazing. My favorite of the bunch is ‘Woodstock’, which has a touch of patchouli in it (but it isn’t overpowering.)

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Of course, a seafood festival doesn’t live up to it’s name if there’s no actual seafood- so prior to leaving Hampton for the evening- we stopped to enjoy some incredible crab cakes and a fresh fish dinner on an outdoor patio right across from the ocean. Everything was delicious, and our server was a sweetheart (and kudos to her for staying calm and composed even though the place was packed!)

As the sun began to sat- my mom, Paige, and I made one final stop before we started for home- a more secluded part of the beach where we watched the waves roll in from the rocks, paid tribute to my dad in our own special way, and wrote silly messages in the sand. It was the perfect way to end what was a really, really nice day.

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“We’re gonna’ need a bigger boat.”

The 2014 Seafood Fest Mini-Haul.

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Every September, as is tradition (and typically at my mother’s insistence,) her, myself, my cousin, and any other relatives that have an afternoon to kill- meet at her house, pile into one vehicle- and head up to Hampton Beach for their annual Seafood Festival for a day or two. The festival is exactly what it sounds like: a huge three-day gathering along the boardwalk where Hampton’s best restaurants cook up and serve their most delectable dishes and local vendors come to push their end-of-the-season merchandise- usually marked ridiculously low- during a weekend-long sidewalk sale before the beachfront shops board up and close for the Winter.

Although the whole thing is almost always crowded and parking can be downright nightmarish at times- the food is nothing short of incredible and some of the bargains and steals you can find on a wide variety of goods make the trip worth it. In past years, I’ve found so many brilliantly priced pieces of clothing and accessories that have long since become cherished staples in my wardrobe.

My family and I headed up this past Sunday (in two cars this time!) to do a little shopping and sampling. Naturally, we ate our fair share of lobster, crabs, and clams- and my cousin and I couldn’t resist getting in some quality skee-ball and pinball at one of the local arcades- but we took plenty of time to walk from booth to booth, table to table- and pick up some necessities (and some, not so much a necessity,) too.

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Whenever I go to the Seafood Festival, I make a point to stop by the Scentastics booth. I’ve been a longtime fan of their all-natural soaps and body oils- which are total lifesavers in the winter since they cleanse and condition my skin- leaving it soft, smooth, and lightly fragranced. I stocked up on five soaps this year for the upcoming colder months (after I run out of my pumpkin-scented body washes,) all of which smell heavenly. The company, based out of Vermont- has a wide array of other products available on their website, too- such as air fresheners, chap sticks, hand/body creams, candles, etc- but if you have sensitive skin- they are definitely worth checking out!

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Although I saw quite a few dresses and tops I was tempted to buy, I kept my purchases to a minimum this year- opting to budget instead of splurge. Apart from the soap, the only other things I picked up on the boardwalk are the two necklaces pictured above- one, a cross to add to my growing collection- and the other, a cow skull, which caught my eye and piqued my interest (I love unusual jewelry!)

Crowds and parking aside, I did have a nice time at the festival this year. I’m sure I’ll be heading back next September for the 2015 one, too.