The beach is a beautiful place. When I was a kid, our family took a trip to the beach ONCE, and that was to the gulf waters. If we wanted to see the ocean, it was at least a 14 hour drive, so it happened rarely. When we moved into the Airstream, we vowed to spend more time at the beach. We would have loved to spend January in the Florida Keys, we we opted for a more conservative itinerary.
When Deacon Joseph asked us if we wanted to enjoy his family's beach condo for a week, we were quick to answer "yes!" We didn't even ask for a description. He gave us permission to park the Airstream at his parents' house and we eagerly wrote it on our calendar. We knew it would not be swimming weather, but we wanted to spend some time focused on writing a book. Where better than beachfront?
When we pulled into Ponte Vedra, I had really know clue what to expect. Michael managed to give me zero details about the condo. I was unsure what to pack. Did we need linens or dishes? Would there be a washer and dryer? How many beds were there? Should I bring extra blankets or pillows? We discovered that our Airstream would be just 10 minutes from the condo, so I just grabbed a few clothes and hoped for the best. We met Deacon Joseph at his parents to park the Airstream and get the keys for the Condo.
To say that Michael got some practice backing up with a trailer that day would be the understatment of the year. There was plenty of room in the back of the house to park, but we needed to navigate a long, narrow, winding driveway. When we couldn't make the first curve without taking out a bush, we decided to drive in forward and try a 3-point turn before going to the back of the house. Even driving in forward, the bush was at risk. The 3-point turn quickly became a 90 point turn as we tried not to damage the perfectly landscaped surroundings. There were at least 3 times when we considered giving up. We apologized to Deacon for tramping through the lawn and he apologized for underestimating the size of the endeavor. We all laughed at how complicated a simple thing such as parking could be. Finally, we did make it to our parking spot.
Just when we were invited in to meet the family, Charity got sick. There was another round of apologizing and searching for garden hoses and sanitizing spray. We cleaned up, shook hands with the family, and then headed to the condo. It was perfect. Enough beds for us to all sleep comfortably. Empty enough that we did not feel like we were intruding on someone's personal things, but stocked enough that we had all that we needed. Complete with spices in the kitchen, boogie boards on the porch, and laundry soap on the washer. It had a walk-out deck with large glass doors from the master bedroom and living room. The porch was enclosed as well. Even though the temperatures were cool, we could enjoy the view and sounds of the ocean.
I knew the kids would enjoy the sand on the warm days (and by warm, I mean low 60's). Since it was a private beach, they were able to see many, many, shells and fossils. Plus, the sand castle that they built on the first day was still standing on the third day! We were unsuccessful in convincing them to avoid the frigid water, though. They jumped in the waves at least 3 days that week. They assured me that after a few moments their legs went numb and they did not notice the cold. I made sure that they stayed close to shore, because I did NOT want to go in after them! We were close enough that they could enjoy it for a few minutes and them come in for a hot bath. (That's right... a bathtub.)
All in all, the week was great. We met some cute retirees at the local parish, the kids had fun in the sand and waves, Michael and I got some great writing done, and I left with less dirty laundry than I arrived with! We owe a big thanks to all of Deacon Joseph's family for their great hospitality!