We arrived last week at our condo in Seagrove Beach to see this sign outside the door, which set an excellent tone for the week: "May your time be filled with relaxing sunsets, cool drinks, and sand between your toes."
Our first meal was at Pizza By the Sea in Watercolor, a slight misnomer given that it is actually several miles from the ocean. The restaurant is located in a nondescript Publix shopping center strip. That makes it all the more delightful when you walk in and discover the cool environment they've created, replete with customer-decorated pizza pans on the walls and old-fashioned glass bottle sodas lining the counter.
We made it to the beach at Seagrove the next day, where my fiance's son decided being buried in the sand was what he needed to do. My cousin's son was pleased to oblige, and quickly covered him up. This lasted approximately 5.2 seconds (long enough for the picture to be made) before he broke free.
On our third day, my dad, fiance, and cousin went deep sea fishing on the Blue Runner II out of Destin's Fisherman's Wharf. They caught a shark. No seriously -- that almost 9' shark above was that close to their hands.
That evening, we went to Joe's Crab Shack in Destin, where the waiters performed several dances, including Cupid's Shuffle. Yes, it's a chain restaurant, but oh-so-fun, especially with kids along. They have one in Nashville, but nothing beats fresh seafood at a Joe's location near the ocean. My favorite was the one on Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana, but it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Later in the week we had brunch at Another Broken Egg Cafe in Grayton Beach. They serve breakfast and brunch, with several specialty dishes. For example, the blackberry grits (above left), which were amazing. On the right is my platter, called The Castine -- country potatoes then a toasted croissant topped with asparagus, ham, mushrooms, two poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce. It was to die for.
Later that night, the young adults in our family went out for a few hours to listen to some live music. We left the grandparents and GiGi (my grandmother, but the smaller kids' great-grandmother) in charge of the kiddos. Our first stop was the Red Bar in Grayton Beach where we listened to (loud) jazz, followed by a stop at Shorty's Surfside and Topside (for quieter conversation), and finally a little bit of dancing at Pandora's.
We made a trip to the Okaloosa Island Pier the next day. My fiance went twice to fish, and the rest of us joined him on the second trip. These birds were all over the pier, just waiting for people to toss them a spare fish. The pier goes a quarter mile into the ocean, and we spotted schools of fish, porpoises, and a barracuda.
The last day before we left, we did an impromptu photo session on the beach. Here my fiance is playing photographer, as my mom takes a picture of him.
We took family shots, like this one of my dad, me, and my mom.
A couple of lovey-dovey shots (that's required, right?) of me and my fiance (and his son in the top photo).
And some father/ son pictures, as well.
We also did the requisite writing-our-names-in-sand photos, of which I think the bottom one is adorable.
As we drove homeward across the Clyde B. Wells Bridge which spans the Choctawhatchee Bay, this was our view -- one last photo op for our vacation.
I am now rested and relaxed and looking forward to my next big trip this summer -- Tanzania, Africa in July. I'll be visiting my brother, sister-in-law, and this little guy. I can hardly wait! Can you blame me?