Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sand, Surf and Seaside

We are back from our summer vacation to Seaside, Florida! We left last Friday and met up with our traveling companions, the McClure Family, in New Orleans for an overnight stop. After checking into the Maison Dupuy Hotel (where Randy and I got married nine years ago!) we headed over to Acme Oyster House where we convinced the boys to give raw oysters a try. Once one boy ate an oyster the rest couldn't be outdone. Not a hit with the kids. But the grown-ups had some laughs watching the kids try and gag them down. Above you will see Little Man's first oyster tasting. Note the amusement in Ian's face in the mirror.

The next morning we had breakfast at Cafe Du Monde. Waiting in line, we had some entertainment from a NoLa local who serenaded us with some Cajun classics.

The beignets were a big hit. I'm not sure who ate more, the kids or the grown-ups!

Saturday after breakfast, we strolled across the French Quarter to a new museum that opened a few months ago called the Audubon Insectarium. A bug museum. It was fantastic. There were live bugs, dead bugs, bugs you could hold and pet and bugs you could eat. A perfect outing for little boys.

In the Museum's Cafe area, they had a "tasting" center where you could eat bugs. The boys sampled cricket pancakes and marinaded crickets with fruit on a toothpick - Ummmm.

Saturday afternoon, we headed out for Seaside, Florida.

In 1946, on one of the family's summer pilgrimages to the shore, Robert Davis' grandfather, J.S. Smolian, bought 80 acres near Seagrove Beach, on Florida's northwest coast. His intention was to build a summer camp for his employees, but his business partner wanted no part of what must have seemed like a worthless tract of sand. The Smolian family continued coming to that same shore every summer and occasionally J.S. would take his grand-son, Robert, to the fields at the western edge of Seagrove Beach and walk around the tract. In the 1970's when Robert had grown up and become an architect and builder, he naturally thought about idyllic family vacations along the same coast and the small cottages the family had stayed in. The idea of Seaside started with the notion of reviving Northwest Florida's building tradition, which had produced wood-frame cottages so well adapted to the climate that they enhanced the sensual pleasure of life by the sea, while accommodating generations of family members, kids, if they were good, got to sleep on the porch... And almost 40 years later, Seaside has developed into an idyllic community.

This was the house we stayed in. It was great to have a pool for when the kids got sick of the ocean and the salt-water.

On Tuesday night, we walked into Seaside to hear an outdoor concert by a local band. The kids took glow-sticks from the dollar store and had a wonderful time playing with them and dancing to the music.

Another reason we all love Seaside is Frost Bites shaved ice. It's the ultimate snow-cone!

Ian takes the kids down to the beach.

Boogie Boarding in the surf was a favorite activity.

Jeremy the Merman

One of the best parts of these beach trips (for me and Heather) is that Randy and Ian love to grill and smoke meats. So one night they cooked us up a huge shrimp boil with red potatoes, corn and carrots. Another day they smoked a pork butt - my favorite!

James takes the plunge into the pool at our house.

It was so hot one day that the pool was about 90 degrees. Heather went to the grocery store and bought several bags of ice, which we dumped in the pool. The kids thought that was great fun. It lasted for all of 2 minutes until the ice melted. But it was still fun!

The boys loved it when the dads got into the pool. It would instantly become wrestle mania.

It was a fantastic week of fun and sun. Yesterday, we got to drive 12 hours back to Texas only to discover that one of our air-conditioner units had gone out. And of course, it was the unit that controls the bedrooms. So, last night we got to sleep on top of the beds with the ceiling fans on as high as they would go in 100 degree heat.

Welcome home.