I'm back! Did you miss me?
Tim and I had this long weekend getaway planned for a couple of months. The original plan involved us going to Universal Friday, staying overnight and then meeting our friends, the Minocks, in St Pete's on the way back on Saturday. But life has a way of changing our plans and we ended up not going to Universal at all.
Tim came home from one of his multi-day trips feeling sick. And it lingered and lingered and was bad enough that he voluntarily ended up going to the doctor. That's how you know he really felt crappy. So he got some medication and strict instructions to rest. Even once he was no longer contagious, he still needed to rest. And if there is one thing for sure about a trip to Universal, it's not restful. But meeting up with friends in St Pete's, now THAT is restful, relaxing and even healing.
It's a funny thing. Tim and I live on Venice Island. We are just a few blocks from the beach. We can (and often do) walk there in minutes any day we like. But the oddest thing is that we don't ever just go spend the day at the beach. Maybe a half hour to watch the sunset at the end of the day or I'll trek over to get some photos but then I go right back home. So spending the day at the beach is a treat for us too!
We specifically chose St. Pete's because it is roughly the half way point between both of our towns. No other reason. It just seems reasonable. Meet half way. I chose the place we met, but the criteria we all four agreed upon, it had to be on the beach. Having only driven around the general St. Pete's area a couple of times, Tim and I really don't know it well and we had never eaten there so we were all flying blind. I did some online research seeking casual, beach front dining and we ended up meeting at the Paradise Grill.
I had to laugh when we arrived. It doesn't get much more casual than this place! And then here is a photo of the dining area:
As you can see clearly, it was indeed, right on the beach! Awesome! Criteria met! Casual dining on the beach in St Pete's. Perfect.
Tim and I arrived first. We claimed a table, got something to drink and just relaxed and chatted while watching some very talented volleyball games going on. Super relaxing! Once our friends arrived, we set about our usual talking and laughing and eating, as we always do! The food was ok. I mean it was rather typical beach hut food. Not exactly fine dining but not something that makes you worry about salmonella poisoning either. It'll do. Because it wasn't about the food. Not at all.
It was about relaxing, resting and spending time with dear friends.
Eventually, Marsha and I set out to walk along water. We solved at least half of the problems of the universe as we walked through the water, carefully staying only ankle to calf deep although at least one wave surprised us with about hip high water. Hah! Who cares! We were at the beach. Almost all rules are suspended at the beach.
As we chatted and giggled, I was also taking notice of the differences between Venice beach and St Pete's beach. For one thing there were more people in St. Pete's. A LOT more people! Scads of people! And umbrellas for miles! Seriously they must have cornered the market on beach umbrellas. Oh and those beachy lounge chairs. They were everywhere. And for only $25 bucks you can rent them. No thanks. I'll just walk and wear a hat. I wasn't there to sleep in the sun after all.
On Venice beach, if you want a beachy lounge chair or an umbrella you better have brought it yourself. It's strictly a carry in/carry out beach. And I am absolutely fine with that. Venice Beach also has free parking. St. Pete's beach totally does not.
St. Pete's looks to me to be an amazing vacation place. It's all hotels and beach and restaurants and vacationy things to do and probably there are some people who call it home. Venice Island on the other hand, is a town where people live and work full time that also has some vacationers. Do you see the difference?
So we enjoyed an entire afternoon of each other's company and then left promising to get together again next month and doing our baked good exchange. I don't know how we have fallen into this tradition but we do it every single time. Both of us! This time I brought a container of peanut butter/chocolate chip cookies for them. She brought brownies for us. And let me tell you, these brownies were amazing. Gooey, chocolately, rich and, bonus points, with salt on top! The salt was a stroke of genuis. It balances the sweetness of the brownie perfectly AND somehow magically makes the chocolate taste even more chocolatey. I promise you they didn't last long.
We were tired when we got home, but it was the good kind of tired for a change, not the sick kind. It was the fatigue that comes after enjoying a really wonderful day in the sun, at the beach, laughing ourselves sick, talking so much you don't even remember what you talked about anymore. Just worn out from spending a great day with great people.
The R&R day at the beach must have worked too because Tim is feeling really fine now. So the next time you aren't feeling at all well Dr. Sam will write you a prescription for a day at the beach. It's good for what ails ya!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.