For most intents and purposes, I am a city girl. I grew up in a city, went to college in a city, and moved to a new city with Matt to start my adult life. I’ve never owned a car. I like to have everything I need within walking distance. I like to have a short commute to work. I like to walk out my door and be assaulted by options – restaurants, stores, museums, and parks.
And yet, the country pulls at my heartstrings. When I was four, my parents bought a plot of land in Rangeley, Maine, a tiny town in the western central part of the state. They built a house and we started spending our summers there and long weekends in the fall and winter. I learned to ski and to sail. I hiked and swam. I spent hours outside reading, playing, picking wild berries, watching the stars from the dock on the lake.
Rangeley is my favorite place to spend the Fourth of July. My mom makes strawberry rhubarb pie. We drive the boat to town cove, drop the anchor, and swim and light sparklers while we wait for the sun to set and the fireworks to begin. It’s magical and quintessentially summer. This year, Matt and I aren’t going to Rangeley and I was feeling heartsick as the Fourth approached.
But, the weekend in the city ended up being pretty amazing. We had a great day of barbecuing with friends. We went to a ball game and we even made it out to the country to go tubing down the rivers of West Virginia. Still, I wanted to top the weekend off by bringing a little bit of Rangeley to DC.
Every summer without fail my dad got his fishing license and usually some new lures while he was at it, but we never really fished. We would try for an hour or so before we got bored and decided there were better ways to spend our time. If we wanted fish that badly we could just drive into town and buy some from the fish lady. One summer over Memorial Day weekend, my dad decided that we were going fishing with a guide. It was cold and rainy and windy and we were out on the lake for hours. We caught one middling fish. When we got back to shore, our guide gutted the fish over the rocks and told us how to prepare it. Fill the cavity with sliced onion and butter, salt and pepper it, wrap it in foil and throw it on the grill. Despite the torturous fishing adventure, this brook trout was the best fish I’ve ever eaten and was worth every second.
So, tonight in honor of that Rangeley fish, I grilled a whole red snapper, stuffed with onion and dill with a pat of butter on top. While the inspiration for the meal was partly my dad, it was also partly my best friend Jeremy, who surprised me with a grill basket earlier this week, just because I had mentioned that I wanted one. Plus, he and his wife shared an amazing crab leg and flank steak feast with us on Friday. With friends, food, and fun like this, I’ve discovered that magical summer glow will follow you wherever you take it.