Off-the-beaten-path Florida is growing on me. Every year we try to seek out places and experiences that defy the stereotypical Florida vacation, and I think this time we scored big in that category. This year we checked out Crystal River, Cedar Key, and the Suwanee Springfest music festival in Live Oak. Fantastic! All of them!
Today shall honor the charming island of Cedar Key!
It was so easy to fall in love with Cedar Key. It’s off the beaten path, a quiet, non-commercial, artsy waterfront town, seemingly untouched by spring breakers and families looking for the perfect beach. There is no perfect beach in Cedar Key, which is why I loved it. If there were, it definitely would become a destination. We stayed at Island Place, in a one bedroom condo over the water, ate lunch at The Pickled Pelican, got carry out chowder from Tony’s just around the corner, took a ride on Tidewater Tours, and fantasized about buying the abandoned Beachfront Motel and retiring early. Oh, and when I learned that Captain Doug would like to retire and sell Tidewater Tours, I fantasized about that, too.
The Pickled Pelican
View of Cedar Key from our boat docked on Atsena Otie, an island we visited on Tidewater Tours
The lonely Beachfront Motel
Between now (6 pm) and 3:00 am tomorrow, we need to finish packing our bags, loading the car, and tidying the house. Somewhere in there Aaron and I need to find between 5-6 hours of sleep so we can hit the road with bright eyes and clear heads! Florida forecast is sunny and in the 80s for the next ten days, so deciding what to take has been fun! So, for the tiny few that read this…
Do you ever feel like your family alternates between…
being completely in synch and operating as a pretty cool little unit
natural rhythms are in tune with each others’ and you f…l…o…w… together as one being…
behaving like four balloons who started off with that sandbag grounding, then someone cut the strings and everyone just f…l…o…a…t…e…d… off into their own
Well, poised to drive south. In a couple days we’ll leave for Florida, and WOW, there is tons to do before then. We haven’t allowed ourselves a grace period of a few days between the end of the quarter and leaving town, so over the next couple days, all kinds of things have to be accomplished. Despite the pressures of closing down one quarter, readying for the next, collecting and packing all our camping gear, tidying the house for the petsitters, assembling car activities for the girls, and squeezing in a vet appt, ortho appt, violin recital, and a meeting or two, for our family very little matches the thrill of someone announcing, “Okay, we’re leaving. Get in the car!”
I remember last year’s departure, how relieved we all finally were to be moving forward. We only drive these roads on our Florida trip, so even though we were just a few miles out of town, it felt like we were already several states away. The girls were giddy, the music was going, and voices, bodies, and attitudes were instantly more relaxed. So, though the next few days are going to drive me just about insane, that moment of finally hitting the open road with a van full of happiness will be SO worth the efforts!
Today’s lovely sun punched yesterday’s gray gloom right in the face, didn’t it? It’s astonishing how one nice day at this time of year is truly the light at the end of the tunnel. Dilemmas and difficult decisions are that much more approachable. Messes are tackle-able. It’s all more do-able.
I say the worst part of winter is also the best part of winter. Here we are, all at the end of our rope, and we all are, even if we don’t admit it. Then one day…BOOM! The ten-day forecast tells us that the daytime highs will stay above 49 degrees and we have four straight days of sunshine staring at us. It’s like how I felt right before both the girls were born, when I was damn sure my pregnancy would be the first one in history to NEVER END. Who doesn’t feel that way in early March?
Et voila, a baby has arrived, just like spring, the daffodil we were sure would never bloom.
Chimney Rock, Abiquiu, New Mexico, 1976.
When I wake up and the first thing I read is about the 8.9 earthquake and devastating tsunami that just hit Japan, and the first things I see out the kitchen window are dark skies and snow on the ground, I realize today’s gonna need some careful handling. The shock of tragic news of epic proportions and a week of clouds and rain ahead is a powerful combination . Oh yes, and there is lots of flooding everywhere. And on the personal front, I have plenty of grading to do and a messy house that has been crying for help for weeks. The cats are scheduled for the vet today, and they aren’t that cooperative when it’s time to go in their travel crates.
I need a plan. The Quakers hold people in the light during difficult times, so that will be first on my list, to hold hundreds and thousands of people in the light.
I’ll keep it simple. Drink the coffee. Read the newspaper. Shower. Get Charlotte ready and off to her day. Set some tasks for Anna. Clear kitchen table, clear mind, turn on lightbox, and hunker down to finish my work. Hold half the world’s population in the light, grade like the wind, take a cats-to-the-vet break, and get back to work.
Optimism! Optimism! Optimism!