Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vacation DESTINation

Destin's sugary white beaches and sparkling crystal waters along the Emerald Coast was the perfect destination for a Johnson Family vacation 2011.

We weighed every option when it came to travel arrangements and took a leap of faith that a ten hour car ride with 2 families, an 18 month old and a Gran was the best option. The bon voyage packs were a hit and Liam was a fantastic traveler. Somehow I think he knew where we were going...
Pitstop half way to Destin!
As we made our way across the bridge, you could taste the salty air and we were excited!
We pulled up to the white gates of the Destin Gulfgate and left our troubles on the other side. Turned the key to the most incredible, spacious condo and downshifted into vacation mode as we plastered our faces against the patio glass to the ocean.
The waves came crashing into the shore and my heart rate began to drop, the muscles in my body released, and that wrinkle between my forehead disappeared. Complete and total relaxation. From that moment on, I was just along for the ride. I was happy to have my toes in the sand and cocktail in hand.
The first full day we drove a little ways to the Sandestin resort to spend the day at the Village of Baytowne Wharf where Liam splashed in the fountains, fed the fish, rode the carousel and ran until his cheeks were bright pink. I cannot wait until he is old enough to do the ropes course, zip line, and tower climb!
We did a little shopping and stopped for lunch at Acme Oyster House, directly from the French Quarter in New Orleans. In keeping with the theme, Bill and I enjoyed a post-lunch Fat Tuesday Daiquiri Bar concoction consisting of 190 Octane and pina colada.

We headed back to our condo for an afternoon nap and late afternoon beach stroll. There is nothing quite like walks on the beach...
Or the way the sand feels between your toes!
When you are digging holes and making sandcastles...
And even though you are miles away from home, home always seems to find you. One beachfront over, were the Gobers. Lacy and I were born days apart and our parents actually participated in Lamaze class together. I have so many wonderful memories growing up together and since Bill and I were unable to make the highschool reunion, I was so happy to have the opportunity to catch up! "Gayla, have you seen my sunglasses?" (Gober/Johnson family joke - seems appropriate)
I would not want to be their teacher... wink!
Later that evening, as the sun began to set and the lighting was perfect we looked out from our patio to a white blanket of families along the coast capturing memories.
 So, we joined them!
 The next morning we harnessed up to parasail.  Since Liam was too young to ride on the boat, we had to go in shifts and my parents took him shopping while we enjoyed the boat ride. The thought of being attached to a parachute by a few straps and some hooks and then pulled behind a boat with my husband by a rope was not the most thrilling vision. What if it was too high or too fast... what if the rope snapped and Liam's parents went sailing into the middle of the ocean. The 'what if' scenarios continued to play up until the point of take off. And then our toes lifted from the boat, we shared a take-off kiss, and went flying. Completely weightless as we floated further and further from the reggae music booming from the boat. When we reached maximum height, we could hear each other breathe it was so still. The scene below was straight out of a movie as dolphins cut through the wakes and sea turtle shadows swam. It was so romantic to be gliding through the sky just the two of us. We had a real, adult conversation and I did not want our 20 minute flight to end.
As we came up to tag the next para sailing team in and take over baby duties, Liam had been worn completely out and was fast asleep napping in the air conditioned car. When he woke up we took a few silly photos in the JUST CHUTE ME sign and then greeted GiGi and Pappa. From the looks of their photoshoot, they too enjoyed their flying experience.
 For lunch we decided to head to Fudpuckers after a strong recommendation from the Kerr family. It was the perfect lunch spot for kids with a stage, alligators, and playground. Liam wasn't too sure at first about actually feeding the alligators, but the big boys sure got a kick out of it!
His favorite was actually getting to ride a "chomp chomp."
I was surprised at the extensive kids menu. Liam had a hard time making up his mind. wink! The Kerr family deserves a big thank you for the awesome advice!
The best part of lunch were the 59 cent orange and green plastic gators that Pappa bought at the gift shop. Pappa was convinced that the larger, softer, rubber green gator was the best; however Liam much preferred the cheaper orange one. He was hilarious! We ended up buying a green one as well because seriously... who ever heard of an orange alligator?
For our last night, we walked to the Back Porch and had a wonderful meal while reflecting on our fabulous trip. The time flew by so quickly, as do most vacation clocks.
The next morning we woke up and Liam ran to the door in his pajamas like the mornings before yelling GiGi and Pappa. We got spoiled to running upstairs to their condo for a yummy breakfast! (sure miss this)
Morning "coffee"
GiGi lets me eat cereal anyway I want!
I am pretty sure the morning rainbow says it all about our wonderful vacation.
We hugged GiGi, Pappa and Gran to send them on their way and set back out to the beach for one last sandy goodbye.
(and of course to wear one little 18 month old out to sleep on the long drive home)
We had an amazing vacation and I cannot thank my parents enough. It was practically perfect in every way. A fantastic DESTINation for sure!

1 comment:

  1. I could certainly get use to spending every day with you guys! Thanks for the wonderful memories... Baboo! Gigi