Exactly seven years ago this spring before Hollie moved to Honduras and Abbie to Houston, and Abbie was still in college at Valdosta State, I met up with Hollie in Atlanta and we headed due south to Jacksonville, Florida. We stopped in Valdosta to pick up Abbie and we set out for our first ever and only college spring break extraordinaire that me and my girls have taken to the beach. As you probably know, spring break is scheduled a little too early sometimes -- that is, before the spring sun has had enough time to warm the temps into perfect beach weather which, in my opinion, lies somewhere between 72 and 80 degrees with the winds from the east at about 10 mph. As you can see in this picture, it hadn't quite reached perfection when we arrived. But it wasn't gonna stop us from our day on the beach! We made it to our hotel right at the water's edge, packed our cooler, and headed out to the beach to relax -- hoodies, towels, and all! The towels never even got wet, but they made most excellent blankets!
Jacksonville Beach has come a long way since the days of my youth. As a matter of fact, I remember it as a kinda nasty little place, one that was never chosen for the beach shenanigans of my spring breaks when I was a teenager (Daytona or Panama City, now, THAT'S a different story!). Forgive me if you are from Jacksonville or have family in Jacksonville or just LOVE Jacksonville...I'm just telling you the way I remember it. But since VSU is a mere two hours from Jacksonville, I have had the opportunity to visit there a couple of times in the last decade and, let me tell you, it's a great beach to visit! There have been so many improvements. I mean, that was a long time ago, my teenage years! The beach is beautiful, the attractions and food scene top-notch and it's a great place for a getaway that's only about six hours from Atlanta. Not too far for a long weekend. Now I have redeemed myself and given Jacksonville Beach, Florida a stunning review!
Our trip started just like any other trip to the beach, getting settled in to our hotel and seeing just how fast we could get our beach paraphernalia together and head to the sand. Never mind that the wind on the opposite side (non-beach side) of the hotel was pretty brisk and threatening to bite through our very ambitious attire of shorts and flip-flops. Being the college students that we were (in my dreams, haha) and trying to save money, we stocked cereal and milk in our room's tiny fridge along with plastic bowls and utensils for our makeshift breakfast in the room. Both of my girls and I love cereal and believe cereal is the food of the gods. Hollie actually eats it any time, day or night. She is the cereal queen. We planned for lunch and dinner to be a little more flexible if I remember and there was a Joe's Crab Shack within walking distance right on the beach. Perfect! My kind of trip -- amenities within walking distance, good food, sunshine, and warm beaches. Except that the beaches WERE NOT warm. The first day or two we covered up not because we were trying to protect our skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun but because we were downright cold! Ugh. But the temperatures did finally warm and we got our fill of the sun and shore. As the picture shows, my girls caught up on their rest in the meantime, bundled up on the beach and napping from I'm sure the many hours Abbie had put in studying the week before (that's what I like to think anyway) and the hours Hollie had logged on her job as an RN. Besides, cold or not, the sunshine always makes a perfect companion with which to nap. It has a way of lulling you to sleep with its warmth regardless of the temperature or the brisk winds. So thankful for the warm sun no matter how cold the air gets in the winter.
I couldn't really tell you everything we did on that trip, possibly because our family had traveled many times to the beach for vacation as the kids were growing up and many of those trips run together in my mind. But it doesn't take a lot to keep us entertained at the beach. A good book to read, some great food and snacks, a comfy chair and umbrella, even just a blanket on the sand with our toes dug in. But our entertainment is the beach itself. The thing is though, this trip was totally different in that it was the first and only one I have ever taken with my girls as adults, just us together. Three women on the beach, enjoying the sun and letting the waves be our choice of attraction for the day, the wind blowing through our hair. We did make time for a photo shoot one day, however. Can't go to the beach without a photo shoot. Come on, girls, let mama make one more pic! A trip to the coast is something I wish I could do every single summer with my daughters. But, alas, life is crazy busy and it's not happened again since. We did take a beach trip right before Hollie moved to Honduras but my hubby and her hubby were with us, so that doesn't count. Hollie has promised me a trip to Italy one day before I am too old to enjoy it, and I'm holding her to that one. Amalfi Coast, here we come!
If my memory serves me correctly, we did go on a couple of walks to dine at Joe's Crab Shack. I specifically remember strolling back to our hotel one day with the sun warm on our faces, and a frozen daiquiri in my hand. A mixed drink in the company of my girls? That's when you know they've grown up!
Good times. Really good times...
One of my favorite photos of the shoot with my girls, Jacksonville Beach, 2008 Spring Break. Don't tell them you saw it, though -- they hate every picture of them in the past. They be so cray-cray
Posted by CC
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