We’re a couple of days back from our annual fall Rosemary Beach trip with Jon’s side of the family, and miraculously, the laundry is done and the suitcases unpacked.
The drive to Rosemary is always long and even longer coming home, but the time there never fails to delight. This year, Lina seemed to remember the house and the beach and fell immediately into her favorite beach pastime of digging in the sand with gusto. We saw a lot of new confidence in Corin this year, as he charged into sizable surf without fear and logged some pretty impressive bodyboard runs. The waves robbed him of his prized goggles late on our last day, which a thorough search did not discover. Some other lucky kid is probably getting good use of them as I write, though I prefer to imagine them as entertainment for the dolphins.
These days, I find myself deeply valuing any opportunity to unplug, read a good book and spend time with people I love. Add sand, surf and sunsets, and no question, my soul benefited. Of course, we couldn’t ignore our concern for northern California as it burned or so many other places where people are suffering. There are endless, giant worries in the world, and it can begin to feel like I carry them all with me every day. I am learning to leave them with God and let Him show me what my responsibilities are. And for a brief few days, I am so grateful we were able to lay aside our stresses and just be together in a truly lovely place. The memories will last a lifetime.
I have just a few pictures from our last day at the beach, and then it’s time to get back into full-swing daily life. Our last day was spent at Grayton Beach State Park, a lovely and relatively quiet spot a few miles west of Rosemary Beach on 30A. It was nice to enjoy the beach with a backdrop of natural sand dunes rather than the usual beachside development. The biting flies were our least favorite feature, but those seemed to be present pretty much everywhere.
The kids were more than ready for an early bedtime. They slept soundly under Mimi and Grandpa’s care while we closed out our vacation grown-up style. We hung with Justin and Katie on the moonlit beach, watching distant fireworks displays at Panama City Beach and Destin, and indulged in late-night dessert at the local tapas and chocolate restaurant. That night, with my toes dug deep into cool sand, watching a shooting star as the waves lapped the shore, I wondered why we don’t live closer to the beach. (Then I remembered all those Florida summers of my childhood and was immediately cured.)
Now we’re back to everyday life, but a little richer with memories. The leaves are starting to turn here at home, and there is much to look forward to about fall in Tennessee. It might just be time to bake something with pumpkin.
While the poor east coast of Florida is getting hammered by ill-tempered Matthew, here on the panhandle, we’re still soaking up the sun in near-perfect weather. Doesn’t seem fair, but we’ll take it, and live in denial that tomorrow is our last day of vacation.
Day two at the beach was magnificent: perfect weather, fantastic home-prepared meals, pool swimming in the morning, a bike ride with my favorite budding cyclist after lunch, a lovely late afternoon and sunset at the beach, and priceless time with family throughout. Memory-making doesn’t get much better.
Making friends, as she did everywhere she went today
Day one, family trip to the beach, in pictures:
Corin on the boogie board
Such a sweet gesture from the owner of the house we’re renting for the second year in a row
We’re home after a rather daunting nine-hour drive yesterday. We walked in the door to find the dog had peed somewhere in the den, exact location yet to be discovered. Welcome home, family.
This morning, we experienced that rarest of phenomena in which all four of us slept in. (The kids’ schools are still on fall break.) This was lovely until realizing over breakfast – thanks to the ding of my calendar reminder – that Lina had a Vanderbilt appointment at 10 a.m. We hustled and just made it. We stopped at the store to restock our bare shelves and returned home to piles of sandy laundry.
So, yes, vacation is over. On the up side, it’s the kind of clear, fall day in Tennessee that makes locals thank God we live here. I gave in to a few selections from the season’s ridiculous array of pumpkin products, and tonight we’ll have hot apple cider and a fire in the fireplace. This is my favorite season, after all.
And when I miss the beach, I have our photos to flip through…and the piles of sand still hiding in beach toys and the corners of suitcases.
Today’s beach photos are actually from Camp Helen State Park, a 1 1/2-mile bike ride from our rental house in Rosemary Beach. The beach front is another .6-mile slog on foot through deep sand, but the end result was worth it: wide open beach with hardly another soul in sight. Today has been a little cooler and breezy, great for flying the kite, hunting for sea shells, and basking in the sun.
Tomorrow we head home. No one in this family wants to go. I was talking to Corin about this being our last day, and I reminded him the purpose of trips like this is the memories we take with us. It’s a reminder to me, too, as we finish out our last evening and prepare for the long drive back to our daily routine.
My dad used to sing a Gaither Vocal Band song: “We have this moment to hold in our hands and to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand.” I’m infinitely grateful for photos and memories and beautiful family relationships forged over so many moments like these.
Another gorgeous day at the beach: cloudless blue sky, crystal clear water, a light breeze, silky-soft sand insinuating itself into every nook and cranny, wiped out kiddos napping the afternoon away, bikes, a heated pool at sundown… October may just be the only way to do the beach.
Today’s sky was crystal clear all day, without the slightest wisp of cloud. The Gulf was calm, cool and clear. We met new friends, rode bikes, tried out a new neighborhood pool, and soaked in another lovely day in paradise. The kids are exhausted by day’s end, but they sleep with the solid rest that comes from hours in the sun and fresh air.
It has been four years since our family has been to the beach. Lina had never felt the sand and waves, and Corin has no memory of our last trip. Which is why when my mother-in-law suggested a trip to Rosemary Beach over fall break this year, we jumped at the chance. She chose a beautiful house to rent for five days, and here we are, soaking in every moment. The weather is perfect, the beach and town beautiful and the crowds sparse. The kids are having a blast, which means we are, too.
And yes, I am blogging on vacation, because if I don’t, I will end up bombarding you with hundreds of photos at once, which is just not good for anyone.
Early morning swim in the heated pool
The kids are a-okay with getting ferried around town in a bike trailer.
First touch of the Gulf waves:
She wears that hat better than I do.
Checking out a live seashell