I miss this:
This photo is from two summers ago on a day trip with my mom to Destin, Florida. We stopped at one of our favorite beachside restaurants for some seafood after a long day of outlet shopping. It was just long enough to stick our toes in the sand and snap a few pictures of the aquamarine view.
My hometown is an hour's drive from the gulf beaches along Florida's Panhandle, and during the summers we would often make short trips to Blue Mountain or Panama City or Sandestin. Seaside was a popular destination, too. I bought my very first paperback, The Island of the Blue Dolphins, at a Seaside bookstore. Sometimes we would stay a week or more in a condo or rental house on one of South Walton's finest, drinking in the smell of the Gulf and the warmth of the sun's rays reflected off those perfect white dunes. To me, it's not a beach unless it has white sand. (I'm sorry, California and all Atlantic coastal states...you just don't make the cut in my book.)
I was born in June, appropriately, and one of my favorite birthday memories is the time my parents took three childhood friends and me water skiing at Philip's Inlet when I was 10. You can take the Pass to the Gulf by boat and enjoy skimming across the deep or drop anchor in the shallow waters and play on the stretch of sand between inlet and ocean. I always like the latter option because you could almost always dig a pit deep enough to reach saltwater. And we would drop sand-mud from our fingers to make drip castles along the edges as the surf evaporated in the sun.
Though I love the beach in the fall and winter, too, (that's the perfect time for long walks or curling up with a good book while listening to the waves), there is just something about summertime that makes me long for ocean waves and white sand and the smell of Coppertone.
We made a brief visit to Pensacola Beach last August, but it wasn't the same. For one thing, the weather was too hot, even at 9am, and Jacob was too little to enjoy the experience. I would love to spend a few days in a beachfront rental house, but I just don't think that will work with our budget or our schedule this summer. Oh, well...there's always next year.
For now, I've found a few things to ease my heartache, including beach-scented perfume, the perfect temporary antidote for beachlessness!