We have never spent a vacation in one place, other than the long weekend we took to the Bahamas when I was pregnant with Grace and quite content to just sit and lounge by the pool. We long to explore, to discover off the beaten path places, funky antique shops, local restaurants, book stores and the like. We always vow to use the highway as little as possible and get lost as often as possible!
After three days in Disney we were ready to head out on the second part of our Florida trip. Since we wanted to hit the beach while it was still warm and the sun was still shining, we did travel via highway north an hour. As soon as we dropped our bags in the room, we threw on our flip flops and headed out to the beach.
Soft sand. Palm trees. Pelicans. Perfection. It was not until we strolled hand in hand down the beach did we really start to relax. It was just so beautiful. We began our hunt for sea shells and sea glass but came up empty.
We did discover the coolest pier we have ever seen. Local fisherman lined the sides with their lines cast into the water waiting for a bite. They were eager to talk and share they stories about the “big catch” they have had from this pier. As we were talking one of the fishermen did get a big catch, at least to us! This juvenile bonnethead shark was caught and released. This was especially important to Lilah who spent an entire year immersed in her Destination Imagination Project bringing awareness to the horrors of the shark finning industry. We breathed a sigh of relief when he recovered from his initial shock and swam away out of sight into deeper water.
And oh, the pelicans. I fell in love. We have plenty of seagulls of many different varieties in Connecticut, but these huge proud birds are so unusual to this northerner. When they flew in large number in a single line, they reminded me of the opening scenes of Jurassic Park when the pterodactyl fly over the open fields.
Bordering St. Augustine Beach is Anastasia State Park. We drove here searching for a more remote beach to find treasure. No treasure to put in our pocket, but we were given one to tuck away in our memory...a glorious sunset.
We drove 20 minutes south to Marineland Beach again in search of treasures for our pocket and came up empty. But we were given the treasure of a coastline that reminded me a bit of Maine, rocky and rugged.
I have wonderful treasures that may not be made of shell or glass but are just as valuable. I treasure this time together as a family, walking in the sand hand in hand, sharing time and love and togetherness.