Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I can't believe that my vacation is over already, but alas, it is. It was only a 5 day long weekend, but it was very, very nice. There is something so glamorous about traveling via airplane and being in airports. I'm not sure what it is, but doesn't it just feel important and special? I'd never been thru Washington IAD until now, but it wasn't as busy as I expected it would be. I suppose I expected it to be like the streets of NYC. I love airport shopping and really enjoyed the America store. There was such great Presidential paraphernalia. I found some great W ideas for my granddad for Christmas. I was shocked to see that there was a duty free store in there as well. It was only available for international passengers. Tell me now, how does that work? It makes no sense to me.

We arrived in Central Florida late Thursday night and received a nice surprise of a rental car upgrade. Instead of driving around a shoebox sized economy car, we were cruising through cities and beaches in a Dodge Charger. Spiffy, huh? I feel like it aged us a good fifteen years. No one our age can afford to drive a Charger, and if they can, it's not the car of choice. It was rather fancy and huge inside. Seriously, J drives a full sized SUV and we felt like we were in a boat. The seat even went back too far for him. Standing at 6'1", this has never happened to him!

The Florida weather was nice, but felt like August in TN. It was in the high 80's and humid! The morning and evenings were very cool and comfortable though. We enjoyed walking on the beach (we found a jellyfish! Luckily not by stepping on it!), spending time at Jettie Park, and visiting Ponce Inlet and the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse. It was a very nice museum and grounds. We also were able to visit our friends Mr. and Mrs. M for dinner. They took us to a great place, Miller's Ale House. It was so delicious. By the way, when they say 35 shrimp, they mean 35 shrimp. I was thinking it meant the size, as in 35/lb. However, it was 35 medium sized shrimp. Needless to say, J and I could have split dinner, and there was plenty left over.

Also topping the trip was plenty of family time. My grandmother, great-grandmother, a couple of aunts and uncles, and a few cousins all live there. J was a real trooper meeting more of my crazy family. It was a very nice trip though. My great-grandmother turns 90 this month, so we were able to celebrate with her. My grandmother who practically raised me was there and I don't get to see her nearly as much as I'd like. She did make some great pumpkin candy! Think fudge with a pumpkin pie meets pumpkin roll taste to it. It was great for autumn. My Aunt and Uncle C who live across the street were very excited to see us. They took us to the Sanford Riverwalk (very nice place!), to the mall, and out to dinner. J and Uncle C have a lot in common, they are both laid back, and go-with-the-flow type guys. That's a good thing with this bunch!

The downfall of the trip? Snakes! Ugh! I've never visited Central Florida without seeing snakes. I! HATE! SNAKES! We saw a handful, but only one living which Uncle C promptly killed. The others had been ran over in the street. My opinion? The best snake is a dead one!

It was a great weekend getaway and very relaxing. We love traveling in the off seasons. It makes vacations seem so much more relaxing and enjoyable. I'm very lucky that I'm able to combine vacation with visiting some of my family. I'm glad they live in an area with so much to see and do.The beach is a few minutes in one direction and the city with handfuls of theme parks is a few minutes in the other. Also in the area are plenty of parks, springs, boats, rivers, shopping destinations, and a large zoo. It's very nice as far as the super-hot-and-humid-with-no-mountains type place goes.

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