Monday, September 26, 2016

St. Augustine Beach, Florida

Each year our family tries to enjoy a couple different beach getaways. Rather than stay for a week, we usually take a couple of extended weekends and enjoy different beaches along the Carolina coast. But this year we opted to stay put for a whole week and explore St. Augustine Beach in Florida.
I'll save you the details of our trip, because honestly there really aren't many.

Sleep in. Breakfast, coffee, cartoons, lazy start to the day. Beach all morning until lunch. Lunch and quiet time. Beach or pool all afternoon. Dinner. Beach or pool and games each evening.

The boys took a couple hours of surf lessons and really enjoyed it. It was much harder to do than they anticipated, but they each caught a few waves to ride in. They definitely spent more time falling and swallowing salt water though.
Surf's up!

For the 13 seconds they stood on their boards, they looked kinda cool. And I had no inhibitions about yelling and cheering from shore.
Micah seemed to catch the hang of surfing first, but Grady's stamina surpassed Micah. At the two hour mark Grady still wanted to keep going and trying, while Micah was done and digging in the sand long before then!
Our condo had a couple of pools and some shuffleboard courts - perfect for active fun, but a break from the sand. And since everyone else there seemed to be 65 or older, we could enjoy things to ourselves.
St. Augustine beach has soft, powdery sand, kind of like flour. Some seashells scattered around, but unlike other beach trips, we didn't see any sea life. No jellyfish (after ALL getting stung last year we were grateful), no sea stars, sand dollars, or crabs.

But there was beautiful sand and rolling waves and that's all we needed for a week of fun!
I can't count how many times empty-nester couples would walk past and comment, "Enjoy these years because they go so quickly!" or "We've been sitting back admiring your family and remembering the joy of having little ones at home."

Good reminders as I thought about recent squabbles over sand shovels and boogie boards and sleeping arrangements.
The Old Town area of St. Augustine is very interesting. The cobblestone streets with quaint shops, cafes, and churches give the feel of being in old European cities. And rightfully so since St. Augustine was founded in 1565 and is the oldest city in the United States.
Coincidentally, friends were also vacationing in the area and we agreed to meet for a day of fun to explore Castillo de San Marcos together. The Castillo is the oldest masonry fort in the US.

Because it was a weekday, park rangers were not giving cannon demonstrations, but when one ranger noticed our group of kids he asked if they'd like a chance to learn how to load a cannon. After loud yeses, the kids assembled on the promenade for a lesson and public demonstration. Home school history lesson for the win.

(And pics of this? A few on my phone but it's effort to get them from there to here.)
Family beach trip 2016:

Two days of mild fevers for two kids. One day in urgent care for swimmers ear for another kid. One day of inside movies and games because of rain. Five days of sun, sand, and surf. And seven solid days of family togetherness!

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