I could live at the beach. Seriously. When I was about to graduate college and had decided not to go on to law school because I was tired of school and to go on and teach I really thought about it! I used to get online and look at school systems... Destin, Tybee, Gulf Shores... just to see.
Turns out, I didn't outgrow that. The beach really and truly is good for my soul. It's my home away from home. It's a place that feels right. Content. At peace. And when I leave, and sometimes in random moments, I feel homesick for a place that is not my home. The beach.
More important than the beach is family, of course. I love being near family and that will probably keep me from ever actually living at the beach, but I do think I could do it. I guess you never know where life will take you. Maybe one day I'll find myself living on the beach with Chris and our kids and parents and brothers and sisters will all come visit us there often. I can dream, right?
If I ever did move to the beach it would have to be somewhere really beachy! I love the soft white sands and clear water of Destin, but that's not the kind of beach that I long for when I get that homesick-for-the-beach feeling. I like something more quaint. Somewhere with beachy charm that is not tainted by all the commercial hoo-rah. No big tall condo buildings and massive hotel chains and motels lining every inch of beach front. No big time retail or mall steps from the beach.
I like a beach that's not crowded. I don't want to sit around hearing other people's conversations and other toddler's tantrums. I don't like having to "find" a spot for our beach umbrella and a place for the kids to play in the sand. I like a nice, wide-open beach. Even better if you throw in some little beach front houses, a couple shabby little beach shops and a seafood dive where shoes are optional and the AC is just an ocean breeze.
Tybee Island, GA has always been that beach for me. The one. Now, I can say that St. Augustine, FL has joined it's ranks. Okay, Tybee might still be number one in my heart. It has a lot of sentimental value... A LOT. Family trips and girls trips and my first Chris-vacation-beach-trip have all been there. But, St. Augustine was a pleasant surprise.
Summer. Peak Season. Do you notice the lack of other people in the background of our pictures? Yes. St. Augustine is special. It was as uncrowded as any beach I have ever been on. The beach was dotted with gated condos that were at most 4 stores high. I didn't see chain hotels and high rise condos. The beach was wide and clean and beautiful with a sprinkle of families here and there.
The beach was wide and long at St. Augustine. Lots of room for the kids to run and play. Large enough for uninterrupted games of kickball and softball! The kids played games without getting in anyone's way.
We collected and played with lots of shells! Although the soft white sands of the gulf and inviting, I grew up with and enjoy the grainy golden sands of the Atlantic and the array of shells that it never fails to offer! The girls had the best time searching for a saving shells! We have more shells then we know what to do with!
The water was perfectly cool and the surf was just right! We had a couple days of waves just rough enough to toss you about and to teach Lily how to really use a boogie board! We also had calmer days that were perfect for playing and splashing about in the shallow water. The murky water of the Atlantic doesn't bother me a bit and it didn't bother our girls either! They were perfectly happy splashing about and playing in tide pools chasing minnows and pretending their boogie boards were boats!
We enjoyed perfect weather while we were there! The days were hot and humid, but the ocean breeze kept us comfortable. The evenings were pure perfection. Almost every evening we went out to walk as the sun dipped in the sky. In that evening time, the beach is down right magical. The ocean sings a lullaby and the whole beach and everything on it is bathed in a magical light. It is my most favorite time of day at the beach.
After a whole week there, we decided that both girls loved the beach as much as I do.
Their Daddy loves it too... he just didn't know it yet.
So, St. Augustine, you made the cut. You are on the list. You are a potential future home... future vacation... future I'm-homesick-for-the-beach daydream.
St. Augustine, you had all the things I love about the beach. The giant, seemingly endless Atlantic, wide open beach, and now, you have some sentimental memories too!
You also didn't have the right stuff. You didn't have crowds and big hustle and bustle to contend with.
Long story short, we like you, St. Augustine.
We like you and we'll be back!