Tag Archives: Florida

Family Vacation: Beach Edition

I spent the past several days with Scott and his family. His parents drove from Louisiana, his sister and I flew into Orlando and we headed to Cocoa Beach for a few days of sun and sand. I may have gotten the splotchiest tan ever.

We rented a condo on the beach. There was a lot of lounging, drinking, eating and playing games.You know, vacation stuff.

We even managed to stumble upon a BBQ festival in the town of Cocoa as we were leaving. Literally, fall off the bone tender.

As you know, all good things must come to an end. And end they did. On the way back to Gainesville we ran into a bit of serious car trouble. Something about spark plugs, arcing and thingy-ma-jigs. There was a futile search for a repair shop in the tiny town of Minneola, many hours spent at a Shell station, a tow truck called and 5 full sized adults in a Honda Civic plus all of their beach gear.

Let’s just say it wasn’t an ideal situation. But I was impressed with how calm and collected everybody stayed throughout the entire ordeal. You can imagine how being stranded in the middle of rural Florida in 90+ degree heat with a broken car might make tempers flare. But flare they did not. How one deals in the face of adversity says a lot about one’s character. I say Scott and his family are a good bunch.

Despite the car troubles, it was great to take a few days off and spend time in the company of loved ones.

Cocoa Beach

Scott and I went to Cocoa Beach this weekend.

Like a real beach.

We might have been the whitest people there.

Clearly we are academics holed up in our ivory towers and never see the light of day.

Well, I have a good excuse. I live in Minnesota where Spring is finally starting to emerge. Scott, however lives in Florida full time now…

There were a surprisingly lot of people there for a random weekend in April.

I am pretty sure a good number of them didn’t see or obey this sign…

I spent a lot of time doing this.

What can I say? I am a Pisces. I LOVE the water. Especially the warm south Atlantic Ocean.

Then I amused myself by taking photos (while Scott read math papers) of:

Sand,

shadows,

and surf.

And then Scott and I did something completely beach tourist-y.

We are not going to discuss the score. (it was after all my first time playing mini-golf…)

We are also not going to discuss the “Cuban” restaurant, Roberto’s, with the truly terrible food and snotty French waitress.

Nor will we discuss the only bar that was open at 11:00 pm on a Friday night. I’ll just mention that there was a mullet sighting and the fanciest beer on tap was Yuengling …

Luckily we found an Irish pub on Saturday night, complete with a hard-to-find Irish cream ale. We had to be the youngest patrons there, by a good 30 years …

(I think that might be a good representation of Florida: townies with mullets and old people.)

And we had a fantastic brunch at Simply Delicious.

There was homemade jam. I am a sucker for good homemade jam.

So begins our search for the perfect Florida beach. I would rate Cocoa Beach a 6 (on a scale of 10). The beach/water was fantastic. The mini-golf was fun. The “downtown” area has potential (but may need further review).

And luckily, the SPF 55 suncreen did a good job of maintaining my pearly white glow… although I cannot say the same for my purple locks.

Travel delays

This is where I slept last night.

As you can see this is neither my bed, nor Scott’s bed, both of which are places I prefer to sleep. This bed is in the Quality Inn and Suites in Charlotte, NC.

Did I mention that I got to enjoy this luxury for about 3 1/2 hours before I had to head to the airport again?

The severe thunderstorms in the Southeast wrecked havoc on my journey home from Florida. My flight from Gainesville was grounded for 1 1/2 hours, which should have been fine, as my layover was nearly three hours long … however the flight took about 2 1/2 hours (though it normally is only an hour). I just barely missed my connecting flight (though by the time we finally found a parking space at the gate I had really missed my flight). So I got rebooked for an early morning flight and found myself a hotel room (with a generous 10% discount from US Air – please note my sarcasm) with free shuttle service to and from the airport.

I think I might have waited about 1 1/2 hours to get on a shuttle to take me to the hotel. I have no idea how many stranded passengers there were last night, but I think ALL of them were trying to get to Quality Inn and Suites. Then there was the 45 minute line to check-in.

By the time I got to the room (around 1:30 am) I looked and felt like this.

Then I scrounged for some food, as all I had eaten all day was a banana and a cobb salad.

This is what I found.

It was not my finest meal.

What an ordeal. I don’t usually have lots of travel delays and the whole thing was exhausting. With the exception of one minor meltdown (shortly after I realized I was missing my connection) that Scott was kind enough to deal with, I tried to stay patient and even-tempered. I mean, there was very little I could do and so many people were in the same boat as I was. I felt especially bad for all of the service people who had to deal with massive crowds of angry, tired and frustrated travelers.

I tried to think of all the good things that happened while I was in Florida this weekend.

Like hanging up my coat and not touching it until I had to leave.

 

Blue skies and 85 degree weather.

 

Margaritas on a Saturday afternoon, enjoyed outside on a patio.

 

Flowers that bloom in the end of February.

 

Working at my new favorite coffee shop/bar, The Bull.

 

Pizza and drinks at Satchels.

 

And spending lots of time in Scott’s screened in porch with Gilderoy, the resident little lizard.

It was a lovely weekend.

Well worth all of the travel hassles.

(But let’s hope the travel gods are smiling down on me today).

Friday :)

You know you are in for a good day when:

You are leaving Minneapolis (with its snow and 3 degree temperature) to go to Florida (with its sun, 80 temperature and a very special gentleman).

You encounter the shortest security line you’ve ever seen at MSP airport.

And your coffee comes with a bad muffin joke.

Happy Friday.

A life that might be

I feel like I am leading a dual life.

Perhaps that’s too dramatic (not that I am prone to dramatic statements).

What I mean to say is: I am in a long-distance relationship.

I’ve just returned from a weekend visiting Scott in Florida.  It was a wonderful, simple, quiet weekend.  The only downside was that I had to leave on Monday.

*****

Scott surprised me with purple tulips which continue to make me smile as I think about them.

I sat in on one of Scott’s lectures.

 

and I marveled (once again) at the view from Scott’s office – I mean, really, this is January in Florida?

We worked at coffeeshops.

And ate dinner.

Followed by drinks and a crossword puzzle at the bar.

which I took especially seriously…

and Scott got tired of me taking photos (but still is cute even when grumpy).

 

There may have been several games of Agricola. I think we may be getting close to figuring out the proper strategies …

 

We even managed to catch a movie. We saw Black Swan, which on its own is no laughing matter. However, we went to a giant movie theater and did the whole she-bang: popcorn and sodas. Besides gauging our pocketbooks, we were astounded by the sizing of everything. What sort of logic makes 44 ounces a “medium” drink? I think we only made it through about an eighth of that popcorn. Talk about hilarious!

(The movie, by the way, was good.  Intense, but good.)

And of course time spent around the house and in the kitchen -more on that later. As I said before, it was a simple, quiet weekend. Nothing spectacular, but spent with the one I love, so it was perfect.

And yet bittersweet because these are only glimpses in a life that might be.

A life that I so desperately want to have be more than just the occasional weekend.

Luckily we have the next weekend planned in less than a month.