I had one of those trips that you stick in your back pocket to think about on a rainy day. One of those trips that make you realize the important things in life, family. I haven't been to Florida with my whole family in 5 years. Michael and I broke the tradition when we didn't have enough vacation days after our trips to Europe. But this year, with my sisters in college, my Dad in Cincinnati, my mom working on a book, and Michael and I making some big plans, it was time.
On Friday afternoon my Dad pulled up in his light blue, dented minivan. The car was stretched to it's fullest, with everything we would need and more for the beach. My mom was already in Louisiana, so my little sisters were in the back, making themselves at home. We were going halfway to Baton Rouge and planned to celebrate my little sister's 21st birthday.
The drive went by quickly with us all talking over each other and playing 20 questions.We arrived at my aunt's house at almost 11pm, dropped off my Dad, wile my little sisters, Michael, and I, hit up Tiger Land, a strip of bars my little sister likes to frequent.
We ordered shots and I watched as my baby sisters easily poured it down their throats and ordered vodka waters to follow. This was going to be an interesting night. We danced, and drank and headed home just shy of 2 am.
Four hours and 45 minutes of sleep later, it was time to hit the road for Florida. We ate drive-through kolaches and made our way to South Walton (just outside of Destin) around 2pm. Without even thinking about unloading the car, I ran straight down to the beach.
I found a perfectly clear day, no seaweed, and crisp, white sand.
South Walton is full of tiny beach communities: Rosemary Beach, Seaside (where the Truman Show was filmed- a picturesque town), Aly's Beach, and Blue Mountain Beach, to name a few. Each has it's own little characteristics. We stay in Blue Mountain Beach, but sometimes make our way over to Seaside for shaved ice and food truck grilled cheeses.
Our beach cottage is the yellow one in the middle. We stayed in the cutest, 3 bedroom unit on the bottom right.
I had no intention of going anywhere, but planting myself on the beach or floating in the waves.
Around sunset, my mom has a VERY strict policy of being on the beach to watch the sky change colors. She's always right: the Flournoy Family doesn't miss sunsets. The pinks, purples, blues, yellows, and greens bounce off the water and cast reflective paintings on the sand. I find it's best served with a glass of wine.
And my favorite people on the planet.
Sunday, my sisters and I played mermaid and added chalk to our hair. (You might remember this is the same stuff from my April Fools Prank). We got some sun (safely) and then Michael and I went into Destin to visit his brother and our niece and nephew.
The number of pictures Michael took of my sisters and I this weekend is around the 1,000s.
That night we ate some of the best seafood in the world at The Red Bar in Grayton Beach. If you go to this part of Florida, go to the Red Bar. There will be a wait. It will be worth it. I had blackened Grouper with crusted grits and salad and hot bread. No pictures were taken, it had to be consumed immediately.
Memorial day was spent taking long, long walks and looking for sand dollars.
Tuesday was the day we were supposed to leave. I woke up early to work a half day and grab a walk on the beach. I teared up. How could it already be time to leave? We made the most of it by going to Blue Mountain Creamery for ice cream and home made waffle cones.
Storm clouds were rolling in, and we ran back to our cottage in the drizzle, ice cream in hand. Florida had other plans for us, our flight was cancelled and we got one more night on the beach. Just in time for this epic sunset.
And some sister vogue-ing.
I thought the rain meant the sunset would be subpar. I was 10000% wrong.
Luckily, I had my DSLR camera on me, and we got our Family Christmas card picture.
It's safe to say it was one of the best beach trips yet!