Photo essay: a week on the beach

I spent last week vacationing with my family on Indian Rocks Beach, Florida. Florida is part of my family story. When I was a child, my grandparents moved to Florida so my grandfather could find more regular work in construction. My parents and siblings and I would spend two weeks vacationing with them every summer. Three years ago, we returned, in celebration of my parents’ 45th anniversary. We spent a week on the beach at the Chic-a-Si Cottage, sharing our family stories with the next generation (my siblings’ children). It was so much fun, we decided to return again this year!

So this week’s blog is just a reminder of how precious family is, and how important (and fun!) it is for families to share their stories with each other. Social media, affordable technology, and print-on-demand publishing make that easier than ever!

We arrived at the Chic-a-Si (a cottage we rented) on Saturday evening in time to enjoy a gorgeous Florida sunset.
This is the view of the cottage from the beach. The Chic-a-Si is on the right, and six adults and three kids stayed there. My brother and his wife and five kids stayed next door (on the left) at the Colonial Court Inn.
The next morning’s sunrise over the cottages was a great way to start the Sabbath.
This was the view I walked out the door to each sunny morning.
I took a walk most mornings, and the beach wildlife was fun to watch. I don’t know what kind of bird these are, but I think they are breakfasting on coquinas, a small clam. (Update: blog reader Nancy Buis let me know in the comments below that these are White Ibis. Thanks Nancy!)
Herons are also common on the beach. They stand next to the early morning fishermen, waiting for handouts.
Another Florida tradition is lizard-catching. This little guy was sunning on the boardwalk when I grabbed him. (I released him after snapping this photo.)
The colorful chairs on our patio served as a useful landmark from the beach. They overlook an area that’s been replanted with native sea grasses to keep the beach from washing away.
Sunset over sea oats
Random footprints after an evening beach rain shower
My brother-in-law (right) spent much of the week constructing this giant starfish with the help of his daughter (left) and the rest of our nieces.
Another awesome sunset—with rainbow!
Crabby Bill’s Seafood is a local, family-owned restaurant. Their flagship location is right across the street from where we stayed on the beach. Click the photo to visit Crabby Bill’s website.
This is an evening shot of the cottage on our last night. I’m going to have an 8×10 print made of this and hang it on my porch as a reminder of the great vacation we had this year.
One final sunset shot. This was our last evening on the beach. The sky is always pretty over the gulf, with different cloud formations and colorings, but our first and last
nights were really the most spectacular sunsets.

I also created an 18-minute video of my “Florida Family Vacation” (below), using footage I shot with my Flip video camera. I then sent the link to my siblings and parents, so they have a reminder of the good time we had together. Using words and pictures, we are keeping our story alive!

20 thoughts on “Photo essay: a week on the beach”

  1. nice pictures. having trouble with the movie the first time thru, but it seems to be running fine the second time thru.

    • Anytime you need me to go on vacation for you, let me know! I’m also available if you need help spending your inheritance, eating fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, or watching Monk. That’s just the kind of person I am. I give, and give, and give. :)

    • I tend to forget about how important vacations can be. I enjoy my work, and I put a lot of hours in. But it’s important to get away, too, if possible, and get a fresh perspective. I hope you’re able to take some kind of vacation too, Nancy, and if not, I’m glad these photos at least helped a little bit!

  2. Melanie Your family vacation photos and the video was awesome thank you so much for sharing them. It was so refreshing to view a family have fun together. Spending time together and share life together in the summer time. I love enjoyed every minute of the video, the beach and the sunrise and sunset look so picture perfect and peaceful. What a loving family you have, something to be very thankful of.

    • Thanks Linsette! You’re right, the setting is nice, but what really makes it a refreshing experience is the people you’re with. I do consider myself blessed to have such a fun and loving family. I hope I never take that for granted.

  3. I’m so glad that Steve sent us this link. What a great video, family and vacation. Glad it worked for all of you to be together – I am a little bit jealous. Can’t believe how fearless Gretchen is about feeding the sea gulls. Good for her! Hope to see you in August while I am doing some G’ma time.

    • How nice to hear from you, Gert! Gretchen had a lot of fun in Florida, and she LOVED being right next door to her cousins! And it was good for her to experience a little positive peer pressure. We look forward to seeing you in August!

  4. Enjoyed taking a peek at your blog! Very thoughtful writing. And loved the “week on the beach” pics…BTW the name of the birds you didn’t know – White Ibis. So funny…we went for many years renting a condo with another family at Indian Rock Beach, FL…some of our kid’s favorite vacation memories. And Crabby Bill’s was always a must!

    • Thanks Nancy! Usually when I tell people I’m going to “Indian Rocks Beach,” they have no idea where that is. I have to use Clearwater as a reference point. But now, just in posting this photo essay, I’ve found three random connections who are familiar with Indian Rocks Beach and/or Crabby Bill’s! The internet makes the world so small, doesn’t it?

      I’ll have to add an update to that photo, now that you’ve given me the correct name of the bird. Thank you!

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