License to Chill

Girl’s Weekend in the Keys is sacred.

The Welcome Cocktail- a Beach House Cosmo.

It’s an event that has been going on since for at least 18 years, since before I was married to hubby #2. It started at my sister Kelley’s condo in Key Largo and was originally just the two of us, wanting to take a break from our lives. It progressed to inviting our friend Susie and then Kelley’s friend (now mine) Peggy from Tallahassee. The party moved from the condo to Kelley’s home in Tavernier several years ago.

The normal turn of events is: Arrive Friday afternoon, blow it out Friday night (aka drink too much), recuperate Saturday and leave on Sunday. On one of our first Girl’s Weekends, we decided to become a Female Detective Agency (a la Charlie’s Angels), until we found out what was actually entailed. Our goal? Bust cheating husbands. On another Friday night blow out, we booked flights to Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands, to set Susie up with someone Kelley knew, only to wake up the next morning, regretting our drunk dialing decision. We still had fun, at Girl’s Weekend and Saint Thomas.

Girl’s Weekend is a chance to catch up on all the events that have transpired from the year before. Yes, there are Zoom Happy Hours, phone calls, texts and e-mails but nothing can replace one-on-one time that is face-to-face with another human being. During the time we’ve been together we’ve dealt with: Break-Ups, Marriages, Selling Businesses, Starting Businesses, Retirement, Weddings, Health Scares, Surgeries, Becoming Grandmothers and Kid’s Issues- large and small.

We normally talk ourselves silly until the wee hours of the morning, trying to solve the world’s (and each other’s) problems. The one constant is that we all look forward to this little oasis carved out each year to spend together. I enjoyed it so much, I recently started my own Girl’s Weekend in the Keys at my condo in Key Largo.

Girl’s Weekend is also a License to Chill.

There are no kids, husbands, pets or grandchildren to cater to. There are cocktails, wine, snacks, relaxed dining, paddleboard rides, neighborhood walks, playing Head’s Up, dominos, card games, reading, hanging out in the hammock, watching Chick Flicks, going out on the boat or shopping at Shell World; these are all activities we’ve enjoyed over the years at Girl’s Weekend. There was also the time we went out on Kelley’s boat and pulled Stone Crab traps to harvest their claws, a traumatic experience for me (not to mention the stone crabs!). We boiled them and ate them for dinner.

Last year, 2020, was the first year ever we didn’t have a Girl’s Weekend. Thanks Covid! But this year it resumed, albeit a calmer and gentler version. Kelley made an Ina Garten recipe for Lobster Cobb Salad and I made Ina’s frozen Key Lime Pie for our Friday night Dinner, which Ina said was her “all-time favorite Summer” lunch. Peggy had brought other salads (quinoa and orzo with garbanzo beans), which we added to the mix with Challah bread, for a very chill (and chilled) first meal for Girl’s Weekend. And, for the first time, we didn’t blow it out Friday night!

There is always a Welcome Cocktail, thanks to Peggy, our resident mixologist. This year she experimented with three different cocktail ideas before settling on The Beach House Cosmo, a delicious and refreshing drink that is reminiscent of Pink Lemonade, but with a kick. It was a little sweet for me, so I added some La Croix sparkling water, to make it like a Pink Sparkling Lemonade- even better! We used to have little plastic men in Speedos (called Drinking Buddies) that I’d bought as drink markers for our cocktails, but Kelley’s granddaughter Grace played with them and they disappeared, so this year, no little men. Another first. Bye Chad!

Our plan Saturday was to take Kelley’s boat (Playin’ Too) out early for a picnic at Alligator Reef and get back in time for the U.M. game at 12. When we were almost to Alligator Reef, the engine started making a buzzing noise. We stopped and after numerous calls to husbands and sons, decided to try to idle back home. Alas, right before the Sandbar, the engine quit and wouldn’t turn over. We called a boat towing service and waited. We ate delicious Muffaletta sandwiches (NYT Food recipe) Kelley had made, munched on cold watermelon slices and drank Coors Light as we waited.

The high school aged boy who came to tow us said:

Now, just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

Nelson with Boat Tow USA.

As we arrived home, a neighbor on a nearby dock said:

How’d you kill a Yamaha? I thought they were indestructable.

A**hole neighbor.

Kelley’s next door neighbors were out of town and had told her she could use their pool while they were away. After our Tow of Shame, she wanted to take a dip in the pool and rinse off the salt water, but the OTHER next door neighbors (a couple) were already firmly ensconced in the inviting blue water. They stayed there ALL DAY. Kelley’s neighbors had told them they could use the pool too, but they were being kinda greedy. We watched U.M. and U.F. lose, went to dinner at Lazy Days and came home to watch the best Chick Flic ever- Bridesmaids.

Lazy Days.

So, the next morning, we staked our claim at the neighbor’s pool early, putting towels down around 9 a.m. We entered later in the morning and when Kelley offered to bring us Beach House Cosmos (there was still some left in the pitcher) we said “Why not?” There was nothing left to do but float in the pool, drink our welcome cocktail and relax. And that is what Girl’s Weekend is all about!

Beach House Cosmos

Recipe by The Beach House CookbookCourse: CocktailCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking timeminutes




  • 4 cups prepared limeade

  • 2 cups Vodka

  • 1 cup cranberry juice (we used light)

  • 1/2 cup of Triple Sec

  • 12 slices fresh lime

  • La Croix, Key Lime flavor


  • Mix all ingredients in a pitcher. Place in refrigerator and let chill 2 to 3 hours.
  • Pour mixture into in Martini glasses 3/4 full.
  • Top with La Croix (or other sparkling water) and garnish with a lime slice.

Up Next: Boat Food

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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