Home again

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.


  1. Looks like you had a fabulous vacation! The photos are wonderful.

    Welcome back!


  2. What a super relaxing and beautiful vacation. That house with the sloped roof was too cool. Your vacation house pretty neat too:)

  3. Phillip, What a fantastic set of vacation photos! I had a good time on the tour. I love Florida in October. There are no crowds; it's a great time to be there. Where ever Mr I and go on vacation we love to take day adventures...it sounds like you and Michael do, too. Sometimes the places we explore are more interesting then the actual vacation spot. Thank you for taking us along on your vacation...I did like your sunset photos.

    Welcome home.


  4. See you snuck off ( like moi this past winter ) to Florida. What wonderful photos of the local scenery there.

    Those homes are just beautiful. Like the true gardener you are of course you can't help but pull weeds where you see them and also imagine how you'd landscape the place. That's just what we do.

  5. Some great pics Phillip!
    Isn't it funny how gardeners always think how they'd do other places!

  6. Your brought back some great photos. I can see myself walking along those beaches.

  7. Hi Phillip, welcome back. Your shots are the best ever! May I ask what kind of camera you have? I want a new one, I am disappointed in most of the photos mine takes. Of course it has nothing to do with me reading the book. Really, I tried and could not figure out what they were talking about. I love the beach house, so private and it did let you daydream about what you would do if it was yours. How fun!

  8. Frances, I have a Nikon D50. I bought it when the newer D70 came out. There are probably newer versions now. I have always bought Nikon cameras since I first saved my money in high school for a Nikon 35mm. I was slow to get into digital photography and it still sometimes gives me headaches but overall, I am happy with my current camera. I would love to have some more lenses but they cost more than my camera did! I probably should add that I tweak my photos in Photoshop a little to adjust the color, increase contrast and slight sharpening. That helps a lot too.

  9. Hi Phillip!
    I so ejoyed looking at these images of Florida. What a perfect place, and no crowds!
    I had to laugh when you were gardening around the path...you are a true gardener at heart!
    I loven the house and large trees of eden park. The bayou was very special.
    Best regards,

  10. Off season vacationing is the best fun with No crowds or screaming mothers! lol...

    Sorry you did not see the Camellias blooming. My Camellias are starting to bloom!

    The sunsets and rises are beautiful as are the other pictures you snapped. I am ready to pack my bags and head there myself after seeing this posting. I will be too busy taking in the sights to pluck any weeds though… :)

  11. Nice blog and photography work! I was just browsing the 'net, and came across your blog here....I'm glad I did, because we're neighbors! I have a sfg in Russellville, and my blog is here - http://engineeredgarden.thegardenjournals.org

    Drop by sometime!

  12. Looks like you had a very peaceful place to stay for a relaxing vacation. Your photos are lovely (as usual). I can understand your pulling weeds; I have the urge to do the same thing in public gardens.

    Always Growing

  13. Thanks for taking us along. I know the compulsion that one feels when weeds are taking over, even on vacation. Are you sorry you missed Pioneer Day?

  14. What gorgeous photos Phillip. I about cracked up at the thought of you pulling weeds when you first walked to the beach. Ha.. It does take a few days to get into vacation mode. I have been guilty of the same action. I guess that is why I think it so funny.

    I wonder what draws people to the tree on the beach? It looks erie as solitary sentinel.

    The big glass house is amazing. I hope someone gets to enjoy it.

    Glad to see you back.

  15. Hi, Phillip--I love the beach after the season ends--we'll be heading to NC's Outer Banks for Thanksgiving. Your pictures are so serene, and the little house looks charming. Did you say what part of Florida you visited?

  16. I have actually been to Rosemary Beach and it is beautiful. Your pictures do it justice.

  17. Phillip, these are beautiful sunset/rise photos! You make me want to go to Florida. I can see why you return. It’s a shame about the beachside development. I’m looking forward to your fall color post as our leaves are now down.

  18. I love the Panhandle. If I were to move to the beach, that's where I'd go. October is a great time too, although you sometime do run into some chilly weather.

  19. Looks amazing!!!! /I look forward to your feedback /thanks for this man it was very helpful.
    Treated Pine Timbers


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