We are back home from a weeks' vacation in sunny Florida. This year there were no cloudy days. It was a tad cold in the evenings and mornings but the temperatures quickly warmed up in the lower 70s - perfect for lying out in the sun. The above photo is of the sunset on the first day we arrived.
And here is sunrise on the first morning.
Unfortunately we didn't have a good view of the sunrise this year because there were buildings in the way. I'm usually still asleep anyway at sunrise but Michael said he missed it watching it.
This was our sixth year to visit the Florida panhandle. We always stay in the same general location but not the exact same place. This year we were near Rosemary Beach and the Seacrest area. For the first time, we rented a little house instead of a condo. The furnishings and decor may not have been as nice as a condo but the privacy and location were absolutely wonderful. It ended up being our favorite place so far. Here is a side view of the house, a pathway leading to the patio overlooking the beach.
The house sat on a bluff. We couldn't see the beach unless we walked to the edge. Instead, there were uninterrupted views of the sea. The sky was crystal clear with no clouds at all. In fact, we didn't see a cloud until the middle of the week and it was just a small cirrus cloud.
The house was surrounded by hedges which I loved. They were a bit unkempt as you can see below. This is the driveway entrance.
Michael was making fun of me and rolling his eyes because on the first day I was pulling out weeds along the boardwalk leading to the beach. I just couldn't help myself! Most of the plants in the area were palms, grasses, sea oats, and holly. This yellow flower was all over the place - a goldenrod? I wasn't sure. I would sit on the patio and daydream about how I would landscape the place if it were mine.
We walked down the beach where the houses got bigger and bigger.
We wanted to get a closer look at this one. The photos do not do it justice - it was massive and mostly glass. We imagined who might live here - a record executive maybe or perhaps the guy who owned the land that became the Seaside community?
October is always a good time to go to Florida if you like peace and quiet. There are not many kids around and this year, it seemed especially quiet. We practically saw no one and often had the beach to ourselves.
Someone had propped up this dead tree and when we did see people, they were usually sitting by it.
One of our favorite places to visit is Eden State Park. This was a former estate owned by a timber farming family. They donated the house and grounds to the state of Florida. There is a large collection of camellias here but unfortunately, I didn't see any blooming on this trip.
The Spanish moss was beautiful -
We saw dolphins Thursday afternoon -
I also enjoy watching the cranes -
We didn't have plans for Saturday, our final day, so we decided on the spur of the moment to drive to Niceville (about 10 miles away) to visit the Rocky Bayou State Park. When we got there, we discovered that they were having something called Pioneer Day (this kind of thing always happens to us!) We did manage to escape that excitement though and walk one of the trails. One thing I've discovered about Florida's state parks is that they all pretty much look the same. The only trees you see are pine trees and the undergrowth consists of palm type plants and grasses. This park though was covered by reindeer moss. They were all over the ground and resembled Spanish moss that had been wadded up.
The bayou was very pretty -
Ah yes, another pine tree -
Look at the roots!
Back to the beach for one last sunset -
Goodbye palm tree! Until next year -
It is back to the real world! I'm a little browner and a little bigger (there are lots of good chocolate shops down there!). So it is time to hit the gym and start the diet.
We returned to see some fall color in Alabama! It was cold here while we were gone and there was a slight frost. I will photograph some fall color in the garden for my next post.