Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Just a day at the beach

It's been years since I've had a week at the beach. Work, family obligations (all good), and non-beach destinations have gotten me out of town over the years, but five full days at the beach hasn't happened since Kate was little. But this week I'm tagging along with daughter, son-in-law, and GrandBoy to Panama City Beach on Florida's panhandle.

The weather's gorgeous. The water's fine (a little cold at first, but it doesn't take long to get used to it). Lovely sea breezes. White sand. No BP oil residue on the beach or in the water. We're staying in a friend's beachfront condo, so we have a beautiful view of the sand, surf, and pools. In short: bliss.

When I was growing up, we used to travel down here and stay at Russell's Court, a quintessential 1950's motor court (an old fashioned word for motel). It was perfect for families: a couple of big rooms, lots of beds and fold-out couches, and a kitchen of course, because folks cooked on vacation. It was right on the beach and had a small pool. I suspect Russell's Court is no more; a condo probably sits on the land that once welcomed my crazy family to the beach.

Another Panama City Beach attraction missing in action is the Miracle Strip, a big amusement part across from the beach. I have many fond MS memories from family vacations, a summer youth trip, and a visit Kate and I made down here when she was 5 or 6 years old. There's a tiny replica of the grander version at Pier Park. A merry-go-round, balloon ride, and butterfly house have kept GrandBoy happy in the late afternoon. A tilt-a-whirl and scrambler have amused the adults.

Days are spent sitting in the sand, listening to the surf, building sand castles, reading a book via Kindle, napping, swimming - well, you get the picture. Not a bad way to spend the last few days of my sixth decade and my first couple of days as a 60-year-old.

Having a great time. Wish you were here?

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