We drove about 12 hours south last week, desperately searching for spring. Luckily, we found evidence that we will, eventually, be released from winter’s tight hold. Grass turned greener by the mile. We could have eaten our dinner in Brentwood, Tennessee, comfortably out-of-doors. Trees in Alabama sparkled with vivid young leaves. Purple wisteria blooms clung to anything they could — tree trunks, fences, the sides of old buildings.
Here, my favorite part… ocean.
Our place, called The Crescent, was right on the beach. Temps were in the 70’s the first couple of days, gradually declining throughout the remainder of the week, but still nice enough to shed the winter coats and dip our toes (bravely) into the lapping waves on our walks. This was our first trip to Destin (or, more technically, Miramar Beach). Other vacationers in the vicinity were mainly Midwestern or Southern families — not too many college students, most of whom likely traveled much farther south to ensure warmer weather and plenty of compatriots. So, our stretch of beach was fairly quiet — perfect for tossing balls back and forth and building castles.
Or daydreaming about what it would be like to live in the pristine planned community of Seaside, Florida? Here, we drooled over the menus posted on a line-up of vintage Airstream campers-turned-food trucks, watched kids playing soccer in the colonial-looking schoolyard, peered down the narrow cobbled streets separating rows of immaculate and gorgeous homes, and considered numerous appealing tomes in the vibrant Sundog Books shop. Here’s the book I chose. I’m sure you’re not surprised. The title, the book jacket, the subject — all right after my heart.A big part of our vacations is always food. We try to only eat at locally-owned, non-chain restaurants, so that we really get to know an area better, and we love trying new things. Our kids are pretty familiar with Asian cuisine and like most of what they’ve tried, but we’re always looking to Shane for chopstick tips. Here (above), we were at Basmati’s.
Contents of the vacation freezer: Yes, we are four greedy little pigs.
Since they were missing a few track practices at home, we made the kids start a few days with jogs down the road to a little cafe. Finn will be happy to tell you all about BadAss Cafe — if only because he relishes the rare opportunity to use foul language! Coincidentally, my cousin Brian, his wife Ann, and their great kids were also spending their spring break in Destin, so we got together one afternoon/evening. (And also enjoyed another evening with my brother Adam & his girlfriend, Kaitlyn, who were in nearby Panama City for a few days!) Who wears short shorts? Our little guy was joking around, but when he noticed I had my camera at hand, he quickly tried to unroll them — but barely could. “They’re stuck! They’re stuck!” he shouted.
The last couple days of our vacation were stormy — winds blowing, lightning flashing, waves crashing, and red warning flags waving. We played games, watched a couple of movies (including “Divergent” at a theater), read, soaked in hot tubs when we could. Our view changed a little bit, but it echoed the voice in my heart, always so sad to part ways with the ocean for an unknown number of days or years.
We’ll be back. Soon, I hope!