Friday, 6 April 2018

TRAVEL DIARIES: FL, USA

Picture this: mid-March, freezing temps, dim skies, two tired souls. One plane, one long wait in a rental car line, and then one week of pure bliss in the sunshine state of mind. Yep. That was us. We hit Florida at the rear-end of March and it did wonders for our tired bodies. I averaged two naps a day - one after breakfast and one after swimming - and soaked up the sunny rays on the beach, in the pool, in a convertible, and lounging on the deck. It was pure glory.


We arrived on a Sunday morning after a very early wake-up call, a nearly empty flight, and a build-up of excitement to see the sun again. My in-laws, Curt's parents, live in Florida, so we primarily chose Florida to spend time with them. They live in a small town at the southern tip of Lake Okeechobee called Clewiston, so our first order of business after waiting nearly two hours in our rental car line (yeeesh) was to head there. Curt's parents graciously rented us a Mustang convertible for the week as a part of Curt's thirtieth birthday gift this past December. What a way to soak up the sun! We had so much fun taking in the warm air with the top down, but I can't say that my constant battle with my hairbrush appreciated the experience so much. Very worth it though.

The drive was stunning. Lake Okeechobee is smack dab in the middle between both the Atlantic coast and the Gulf coast, verging on swamp territory. But this means prime farmland for both sweet corn and sugar cane. The fields we're beautiful and vast. The drive was perfect.



The first evening we arrived, we took a dip in the pool. The sun lingered long(er) into the evening and the air was warm. Curt's parents recently just moved to a new home, so it was exciting to see it in person and enjoy the tranquil setting. My mother-in-law is such a gracious and thoughtful host. She made our stay so comfortable and inviting that we felt like we had arrived at a resort. The stress and bustle of home immediately melted away that first evening and I could feel that we were going to have an extremely peaceful vacation.

The next morning, after sleeping in some and enjoying breakfast by the pool, we decided to venture around the neighbourhood for a walk. There were bright blooming flower bushes and tall breezy palm trees lining the sidewalk. The walk started out a little cloudy but by the time we had returned, the sun was beaming. We picked out the houses we would live in if we lived here (one of my favourite things to do when travelling) and soaked in the slow pace of the morning.


My in-laws have a beach condo in Stuart, so our next destination was the beach. Unfortunately, they had to work the week we were there, so we made our way to the condo ourselves for a few days before they joined us on the weekend. It was late afternoon by the time we arrived the first day, but we couldn't help but roam the beach. A small storm was rolling in, but it was still so peaceful walking along the water and watching the rain move closer and closer. The water was vibrant and the winds crashed the waves against the sand. It was salty in the air and windy through our hair, but I hardly had a care (so cheesy, sorry!). We went to bed that night to the sound of the waves.


The next morning, we decided to wake up early enough to watch the sunrise across the water. The condo looks out right over the ocean, so I snuggled up in a blanket in anticipation. Unfortunately, I fell back asleep before the sun actually came up and Curt just so happened to need to use the restroom, so ironically, we both missed it. It was a nice thought though. After my morning nap, we took a long walk down the beach, allowing our legs to get soaked by the waves. The waves were pretty strong, so we opted to swim in the pool instead, followed by lunch, and then an afternoon nap. We set the standard this first day and followed the same routine for the following few days we were there.






We were lucky to have a full kitchen at the beach condo, so we opted to eat our breakfast and lunch there, and then would venture out in the evening to grab some food. We strolled the streets of downtown Stuart one evening and were enthralled with all the restaurants and little shops. I nearly caved and bought some gelato, but opted to buy a sweet treat from a chocolatier to save until Easter (remember that "no sugar for lent" thing? Yep, the struggle is real on vacation). We enjoyed walking along the pier that stretched the coast and I was strangely inspired by the deep dark blue colour of the water.



We enjoyed a few other small adventures, like a morning driving along the coastline in the convertible to an outlet mall, as well as the mandatory Target visit and getting fried chicken from Publix. But all in all, it was a really low-key and relaxing vacation, which is exactly how I love to spend my time away. Some people are adventure-seekers in their travels, which I admire, but I find it hard to slow down at home so I like to take my time away to actually rest and relax. This vacation was perfect for that.

I didn't take many photos for the rest of our time because, to be honest, the days repeated themselves with sunning, reading, swimming, walking, doodling, and eating. We did eventually make our way back to Clewiston at the end of the week before heading home. My brother-in-law came down for the latter part of the week and so we got to spend some time with him and my in-laws again. One of my highlights was when the boys went golfing and I got to spend some quality time with my mother-in-law. We don't get to see them very often, so just spending time with family was extra meaningful. We went to their church for Easter Sunday and had a delicious roast dinner before flying back home in the evening.


What is your kind of vacation? Are you one of the "see new places, do new things" type of people? Or a "rest and relax" type person? 

Until new adventures.

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