Grayton Beach Florida, 2012

Courtney, Claire, Grace, Sophia and I went to Grayton Beach Florida for one week.  This is the third time we have been here in four years and had a great time as always with perfect weather.

Friday, 4/6/2012
We left home at 0308 after packing the car the night before.  We stopped for breakfast in Kentucky at Denny’s, and stopped for picnic lunch at rocket rest stop at beginning of Alabama.  We stayed in Montgomery, Alabana for the evening and arrived around 345 cst. Went to bakery John and Alissa recommended and got some pound cakes, cookies and cheese straws. Good stuff.  Stayed at nice Embassy Suites on river. Went for a walk about an hour in nice sunny weather. Odd empty town. No one around, kind of creepy, although it’s Good Friday.     Had cocktails at hotel and went to dinner at Dreamland BBQ place which was a little touristy but the BBQ was great.  Back to hotel and asleep by 8:30. I was wiped out.

Breakfast at Denny's somewhere in Kentucky
cool architecthure in Montgomery, Alabama
Hanging out on the waterfront in Montgomery
Yeayyyy Embassy Suites Happy Hour!

Saturday, 4/7/2012
Woke up at 0615 after sleeping poorly. Something triggered my allergies and it kept me up all night. It could be the sprinklers on the floor above us that someone set off last night. There was was water coming through the ceilings when we came back from dinner last night. After the requisite Embassy Suites breakfast we were on the road at 0745. It was a bright sunny day and only a three hour drive through back country roads to Grayton beach.  John and Alissa and their boys were already there since Tuesday and were staying until Sunday.  We walked down to the beach to say hello to the ocean and then had lunch – BBQ from seaside that Alissa got that was good.  We called after lunch and our cabin was ready. We are in 7a on the second loop. Kanwitt’s are in 6a.   We moved in quickly and hit the beach. Was a nice sunny day in high to mid 70s. Courtney and I saw a shark close to the creek inlet towards Grayton beach. We went up around 4:00.   Went to the pizza bar in seaside to celebrate Graham’s birthday. Great food. Sat outside watching all the teens parade by. Sophie and Grace went shopping around Seaside with the Kanwit’s while Claire came with us on a whirlwind grocery shopping trip. Had cake and sang happy birthday to Graham and then in bed by 8:39   (at least I was).

happy to be walking to the beach for the first time
happy to be in Florida
Andrew and Graham
cousins on the beach
amazingly clear water

best sand anywhere
wish we had more time to spend with these guys

Sunday, 4/8/2012. Easter
Woke up around 7 after sleeping pretty well. We had nalgene water bottles filled with candy for the girls for Easter. Kanwit’s came over and we made breakfast of pancakes, sweet rolls from bakery, and bacon for breakfast. Went down the beach for a bit with the boys as John and alissa packed up. A truly beautiful day on the beach. Crisp blue skies, ocean was calm, absolutely clear and bright blue. Sunny and no wind. Probably the nicest it’s been in the three times we have been here.  Hung out for an hour or so and then had to go up to put sunscreen on as it was getting warm and we didn’t want to burn our white winter skin on the first day. Said goodbye to John and Alyssa as they left around 1030. Their plans were to drive to Memphis. We spent the rest of morning on the beach building our first sand castle and going for a nice walk. Up for lunch  of leftovers at 1:00.  Courtney and I went on a bike ride to the state park. Drove around the campground which is supposedly a good one…doesn’t look like much fun to us though. Checked out the beach there and then stopped at the corner store for some charcoal and lighter fluid. Went back down the beach and stayed until 530 or so. Built our first sand castle with Sophie. Nothing better than the sand here. Had a beautiful fire on the grill and grilled some chicken thighs that we marinated in teriyaki. Also had rice and veggies to round out our Easter dinner. Didn’t make it down to the beach for sunset as we were still eating. Played dominoes for an hour and we were in bed around 9 or so. I am on a really bad trend And haven’t been reading anything at all.

beach beauty

Monday, 4/9/12
I went for a bike ride by myself around 730 as everyone was still sleeping. I got a coffee at the starbucks in Grayton beach and then drove around the town for a while checking out the properties. It looks like it would be nice to stay on the south west side facing the brush. It looks like there are several rental properties there and good beach access. I also liked the full time residents places that were on the opposite end on the river with cool looking patios and ramshackle places.  We made monkey bread for breakfast and decided to go on a field trip to check out St. Andrews state park that is in Panama City. We left at 930 and it took around an hour to get there taking the scenic route along the coast through all the beach towns.  There were several towns trying to be like Seaside but not quite achieving it and then you hit Panama City which is just awful. High rise after high rises that look like public housing. It seemed like there was hardly anyone there so can’t imagine the sense in it. It really is terrible that it was allowed to be built up like that. The state park was ok, nothing special. We pulled off at one spot and saw a couple of alligators which was cool. We went to the main beach and hung about there for about an hour or so. There were some shells on the beach which was nice as there are absolutely none in Grayton so Sophia liked looking for them. We took the highway back which was 1/2 of the time and decided to go to the Red Bar for a late lunch.  We got there around 130 and had a nice lunch. After taking a short 30 minute vacation siesta,  me, Claire and Sophia headed down to the beach. It was a bit windier but still nice and sunny and warm. Sophie and I built another nice castle and Claire went for a walk. Courtney eventually made it down, Grace stayed up to nurse her sunburn, and we ended staying down the beach until after 6. Nobody was very hungry so we had leftovers for dinner which was just fine thank you very much.  After dinner everyone played blackout which we haven’t played forever and grace and Sophie had never played before. Courtney won but it was a close game until the last hand. The girls stayed up playing cards but Courtney and I went to bed around 930 or so.

Tuesday, 4/10/12
Woke up around 0700 and Courtney and I went on a bike ride around 0730. We biked to Seaside where we got coffee and a scone and sat outside for awhile. It was a perfect morning again. Bright blue sky and warm. We walked down to the beach and went on a short walk and then biked around the Seaside neighborhood for awhile. I like the houses and the concept of the condensed neighborhood and all the porches and outside furniture. If we lived in the south somewhere and had lots of money it would be an ideal place to have a second house.  We stopped at the corner store on the way home to load up on beach beer and ice. We were gone for about an hour and a half. We quickly got things together and headed down to the beach where the ocean was calm, crystal clear and not much of a breeze. Perfect day. Me and Sophie’s castle was still standing so we kept adding on to it.  Our castle skills continue to improve everyday. Went up around 100 for lunch and siesta. Sophie and I went back down at 230 to continue castle building. The breeze picked up a lot and it started getting cloudy around 3. Courtney came down around 330 and Sophia went up and went biking to seaside with Claire. Courtney and I stayed down reading until around 500.   We had dinner of tacos but after getting everything ready we decided to go down the beach to watch the sunset.  It sets very early…around 700 pm. Beautiful and took lots of pictures until my battery pooped out. Came back and had dinner. Played blackout again and Grace redeemed herself and won this time.

best place to be
beautiful sunset

Wednesday, 4/11/12
Grace and I went for early morning bike ride to Seaside again. Had coffee and pastry at same place and sat in front hanging out on this beautiful morning. Courtney had pancakes waiting when we got back and we headed to the beach by 1000. Another perfect morning with clear blue ocean and clear blue skies. It was probably the hottest it has been.  The girls went up around 1230 but Courtney and I stayed down until around 130. After lunch and siesta we decided to take a break from the beach and go to the outlet mall outside of Destin. We have never driven very far going west and it is more populated than I thought. Most of the developments look pretty upscale as well. The outlet mall was huge with just about any store you can think of. I got some things from Jcrew and the girls got some things from the Gap. We were there until 530 so we stopped at Stinkys on the way home for dinner and had a good dinner there. We got home around 800 and just hung out and read…and fell asleep early….again.

biking to Seaside
biking to Seaside
coffee at Seaside
uh oh
becoming an expert sand castle builder
best spot on the beach

Thursday, April, 12th
Courtney and I went for a walk to Grayton beach around 0830. We walked around some of the houses in that neighborhood and then walked back home on the beach. It took us around an hour and a half. We were hoping the girls would meet us on the beach with chairs and things…but no dice. So we walked up to the cabin. Courtney and Sophia went to the grocery store and Claire, Grace and I went to the beach. Another perfect day on the beach. Clear ocean and bright blue skies. Courtney and Sophie brought us lunch and we stayed on the beach until 2 or so.   Went up for a bit of a break and then back down until 530. We grilled strip steaks outside on my expertly prepared charcoal grill.  Also had rice, zucchini and peas and finished off with a Publix key lime pie. The girls and I went down to watch the sunset and take some pictures. Back by 830 and went to bed.

sand castle at dusk

i like this one

Friday, 4/13/12

Claire woke up with a pain her stomach that she had all night, not getting any sleep. She seems to be ok now but still not feeling well. Courtney and I went on a bike ride at 830. We first checked out the development right next to where we are staying as we have never been back there. It looks like there are lots of rentals and it looks nice and quiet. We then biked to Watercolor and rode around there. We didn’t realize what a large development it is. There are two others phases besides what you can see on the road and the houses are huge and very very nice. Would be a nice place to have a second house if you didn’t want to be directly on the beach. Courtney stayed up with Claire and organized our stuff as we are leaving tomorrow. Me Sophie and grace hit the beach for a couple of hours. Once again the weather is perfect. High 70s clear blue sky. Stayed down until 12 ish and then back up. Same as every day. Went back to the beach around 2 and came back up at 4.  I think we’re all beached out.  We went to Seaside for dinner and had a great time.  It’s the perfect last day of vacaction meal.  We got back as it was getting dark and quickly packed up the car as we were planning on leaving as early as we could.

lizard on my bike
cabin 7a

Saturday, 4/14/12
Left Grayton Beat at 0300 and it took us 15 hours to get home which is a new record.  It’s the first time we have driven all the way and it wasn’t too bad.  We made only a few stops and had both breakfast and lunch as takeout and ate in the car which sped things up as well.  It started raining as soon as we got in Ohio…of course…and rained the whole rest of the trip.  Great trip and I’m sure we’ll be returning.

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