Last week we had our fantastic beach vacation and we were lucky enough to get a really good rate at the Residence Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront (thanks in part to the millions of points my husband gets from staying at a Marriott). A huge bonus to staying here was that the rooms come with small kitchens – so we could bring and make our own food! This may sound like kind of a pffffft thing to do on a vacation, but we don’t eat fast food, we all try to eat whole and natural foods that remember where they came from, I’m a vegetarian and I try to follow an Ayurvedic diet as much as possible. So, this was going to be a huge deal for us. Not only did it mean that our tummies would be a whole bunch happier, but we would keep a lot of extra money in our pockets from not eating out every single meal.
We live in a small, remote city so the excitement that not only I but the kids had about getting to shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s was almost equal to the excitement of going to the beach. Actually we did half our drive to the beach and ended up in Charlottesville where we went into vacation mode by having lunch at the Whole Foods there. I got to dance through their buffet and the kids gorged on sushi and pizza. When we got to the beach the first stop we made was at the Whole Foods there. Normally I prefer to buy fruits and vegetables whole and then cut and prepare them right before we eat. But this time I took advantage of their wonderful selection of prepared produce. This way we could still eat fresh food, but I didn’t have to spend the time to prep everything (plus I wasn’t sure what we would have in our kitchen – found out when we got there that they had a stove but no oven which could have made some things interesting to say the least!)
I love Marriott Hotels – I’ve always had good experiences at every one I’ve stayed at. This one was no exception. Every single room is ocean front. It’s a relatively small hotel, offers free breakfast (which made the kids unbelievably happy and I had my stewed apple and buckwheat in my room), was very clean and the staff was incredibly friendly. Add to that the fact that we could do our eating there and it made for 3 very happy vacationers.
The kids had fun helping choose what they wanted to eat.
Fresh berries, guacamole, and OMG – have you tried the mango-pineapple salsa? It’s to die for! I make mango salsa at home and this stuff is awesome!
A huge selection of pre-cut veggies and I also bought a veggie platter. I’d just put it out every time we came back into the room and the kids crashed in front of the TV. I was really impressed with how much they ate, and I had to refill it a few times.
Even pre-sliced cheese for their afternoon cheese and crackers.
We saved HUNDREDS of dollars by doing this, had really happy tummies, and it was really not much work at all. The kids were really happy about the food they were eating and never once asked to eat out. We were there 6 days with all the signs for food around and every time they were hungry they asked to go back to the room to eat the food we had brought. It totally changed the way I vacation with them.
It also allowed us to go out for dessert feeling guilt free (because we were on vacation after all)
Actually, Whole Foods helped with one of our desserts as well:
Strawberries and whipped cream – oh yeah!!!
In case you can’t tell, Whole Foods is my absolute favourite place to shop. I always liken it to skipping through a Disney movie – I always expect the woodland creatures to dance out and join me in a song. It is a happy place! My kids share my love for this place, so the three of us got a lot of enjoyment out of being able to make such good food choices!