Annual Florida Vacation – Beach!

  • By M@ggie
  • July 24, 2014
  • Comments Off on Annual Florida Vacation – Beach!

The beach was about as perfect as it has ever been this year. I love New Smyrna Beach – it is definitely is one of my happy places. It wasn’t great weather the day we got there, but was still beautiful. And then the rest of the week was gorgeous. The ocean was really blue, which the Atlantic generally isn’t, and warm, and the sandbar was really close in, which created a tidal pool that was really warm. Many of us spent a lot of time just laying in it.

Here’s Day 1:
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A pano from one of the 3 condos we had:
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Sunset:
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Our first night – ready for “Schwerfest2014” as we were calling it. And hashtagging it. (Schwer is Doug’s last name and family’s name)
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The next morning I took a walk with my pilot nephew, the one I’m always bragging about – we had fun catching up, and then we saw this guy:
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He made his way down to the ocean – now mind you he’s not a sea turtle – and he splashed around in the surf for a minute and then headed back through the sand. Guess he just needed to cool off.

Sadly, I didn’t get him splashing around because Gary’s phone ran out of space:

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We started having cocktail hour before dinner. A good addition, I think.
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Doug and his siblings before dinner at Norwood’s:
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The next day.. which I think would be Monday. Gorgeous, so gorgeous.
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Dinner at The Garlic. There were 20 of us this year. Chrissy’s live-in boyfriend came along for the first time. He was very nice. It was great finally not being the “new guy,” which I have been since like 1993. And also, he makes great drinks and perfect lime wedges.
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So, Doug and I were the main adults in our condo for the first time ever. We had the 4 teenage girls in our condo. Which meant we got the master bedroom for the 2nd time ever. (Tom and Jan were nice a few years ago and gave it to us when we shared with them.)

But our bedroom had this bedside lamp. It had razor-like metal “leaves” that came dangerously near one’s wrist (and arteries) when one tried to turn the light on or off. :-/
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Another beautiful sunset:
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The fam:
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We left them in the pool and went to have lunch on Flagler Ave. The restaurant we wanted to go to ended up being closed for lunch – so we took a chance on an Italian place, which turned out to be a great idea because it was SO amazing. It is called “That’s Amore” and everything was made from scratch. Even the salad was good.
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Homemade Italian Wedding soup. So amazing.
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The cook was “experimenting” so they brought us a free cup of a sort of baked potato soup which was SO GOOD.
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We split gnocci with pesto (light and fluffy):
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And an eggplant parm sandwich, which was dripping with ricotta and mozerella – and the bread was crusty and flaky and just amazing.
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Followed by homemade tiramisu which was amazing. There was so much food I had pesto gnocci for breakfast the next day!
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We drove around and found the tiki palm trees again:
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Me and two of my sisters-in-law, Maria and Janice.
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The pier at Down the Hatch over by Ponce Inlet:
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And we got home just in time for the sunset:
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Kayaking the next morning – we saw more river dolphins, and way closer, than we’d ever seen before. Also manatees, but perhaps fewer than usual. Pic by Doug’s sister. Doug and I are in the yellow kayak.
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The pool:
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Friend clams at Fish Camp – one of my fav things ever:
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Sunset:
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Many many sand fleas. These aren’t the bitey kind though – they’re there every year in varying numbers.

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Some of the family went out for ice cream, but I wanted to catch the sunset first. We tried to catch up with them at Diary Queen, but the line was super long. So we tried this place on the beach, and they had not only ice cream, but actual s’mores. They had fire pits you could toast marshmallows over. I was really happy.
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I was determined to get up for one sunrise. And I did it! It was a nice one too!
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Olive shells make interesting circular paths in the sand:
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Live shark eye shell:
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He was enormous!
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We found a bunch of (dead) spiny spider crabs:
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My brother-in-law (I think?) found this intact starfish!
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Janice, Maria, and I spent a lot of the week like this. Drinking and enjoying the ocean. It was wonderful.
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Tom’s dead man float he claims can’t be caught on camera:
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Dinner at Aunt Catfish. I didn’t realize this pic had a rainbow in it!
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It got brighter later:
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Sand patterns:
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Doug and I saw a bunch of these tiny invisible fish. Invisible except for an eye.
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For scale:
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Sunset:
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Birds!
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I picked up this shell and then realized it had legs! It was a tiny hermit crab! Maybe the size of my fingernail! There were a number of them scurrying them around:
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Doug:
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And that’s it for the beach, sadly.

We did spend another part-day at Disney, but I’ll save that for another blog.

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