But the answer is obvious:
These five families constitute a gang called The Usual Suspects. We were friends before we had kids and before some of us were married. We've been cooking, camping, skiing, and hanging together for over a decade. We've now launched The Usual Suspects Next Generation. Our kids have known each other since the cradle, and even though they all go to different schools and have new friends there, they have an ease and camaraderie that matches ours.
And the beach was nice too. The fog didn't lift the entire time we were there, but we weren't stopped from our usual fun. Husband and his old pal went mountain biking and found some sun while the rest of us had picnicked on the beach and explored tidepools at low tide with the kids.
On the way home, we stopped for some wine tasting in the Paso Robles area—fun because they have such a different climate and therefore different wines than we have in our area. I tasted everything with turkey in mind. My mind is cranking away on Thanksgiving plans (I'm hoping we can skirt a family obligation and have dinner at our house with friends), and we bought a couple bottles that should go well with this meal. That's if we aren't eating squirrel. More on that later.