Every year when Matt’s birthday comes around, in his mind, it is a day just like every other. No reason to celebrate or do anything different, and if he were left to his own devices, nothing special would ever happen on that day. Although to me it is an important day, regardless if he realizes it, so whether he wants to celebrate it each year or not, I make him. Usually this was much easier when we were back home and there were a group of friends that needed a reason to get together for a few beers as much as I did, so this task was a planned event every year. Since we’ve been cruising…its gotten a little harder to keep it up.
Year one was in Utila Honduras where we went out for strawberry daiquiris at a local restaurant, but with a departure time of 7 am the next day to head over to Guatemala, we were still in bed by 10:30. Year two was spent over 1,000 miles from shore on the Atlantic Ocean, and even though I had huge plans for the day which included balloons, streamers, and a homemade meatloaf, an unexpected storm popped up and left us hunkered down for the day and eating a can of Progresso soup that night. Year three, a few months after arriving to Indiantown, was supposed to be a non event, but when our friends Mark and Hanna heard it was Matt’s birthday they wanted to have a few drinks after the work day which turned into a soiree with dinner and balloons, and Hanna and I losing track of our men for a few hours when the travel lift operator Alex stole them for a few shenanigans.
This year I was going to be at a complete loss of what to do. Still sitting in Indiantown, the yard has thinned out to only a few people, so there would be no dinner get-togethers. A day at the beach was out due to the extreme heat (not to mention the toxic algae currently flowing through the area), and tickets to the local water park didn’t go on our ‘buy one get one free’ sale until fall. Then a huge bout of luck came my way. I was contacted by a blog follower at Inn on the Beach in St. Petersburg, Florida who had been following our story and work in the yard for awhile. They asked if we would like to get away from the boat yard and spend a few days at the Inn. Scrolling through available days in their schedule, I saw that the time around Matt’s birthday was widely open, and booked a two night stay in one of their rooms overlooking Pass-a-Grille Beach. We chose the Egret room, and it looks like we chose wisely as it did not disappoint.
The countdown to our vacation seemed to last forever, and all the while I was worried that I was going to build it up in my head so much during that time, that when I arrived, my dream vacation would be a letdown. I’ll give you a little spoiler alert. It was not. In fact, it was one of the best getaways I’ve ever had. Think of a perfect hideaway on a pristine beach, just a 15 minute drive from the bustling and hip downtown St. Pete.
Hitting the town was the last thing on our minds though as we had just driven three hours across the state, in June without air conditioning no less, and all we wanted to do was relax. No problem there. Checking in to our room with the incredibly friendly staff, we were led to our newly renovated room where we took in a quick view from the balcony and the fresh ocean breeze in the air before plopping down on one of the most comfortable queen sized beds my body has ever touched. Only because we had spent the last 6 weeks working so hard on the boat, we allowed ourselves to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening in a state of complete laziness. The tv was flipped on, covers were pulled off the bed as we snuggled between the crisp white sheets, and Bud Lights were sipped as quickly as we could cool them down in the freezer.
A few hours later we pulled ourselves out of bed to make a run up the road for dinner (Chinese) and to stock ourselves up on a few gastronomical necessities for the next day, including danish for breakfast and some oh so tasty Sun Chips that were on sale at the supermarket. Seriously the best kind of chips ever made.
As the sun began to sink lower in the sky on the longest day of the year, we took spots on our private patio (normally shared with the next room, although no one was there) and watched the sky turn different shades of gold and pink while soft beats of techno music played on Pandora in the background.
We let our laziness continue into the next morning and after eventually forcing ourselves out of what I’m coming to find out is one of the most comfortable beds in the world, I wandered down to the patio area where a coffee station is set up every morning, and poured us two steaming cups, making sure to add lots of cream and sugar to mine. We enjoyed our morning coffee and danish out on our patio while once again listening to Pandora on our tablet (I am going to miss that SO MUCH once we leave the states again), and let our eyes wander down to the street where people were out for late morning strolls, or already showing up to the beach.
Knowing that it did happen to be June, and we were in the middle of Florida, we didn’t want to wait too long before going to the beach ourselves. For our convenience, the Inn has a host of beach goodies at the disposal of their guests, so we were able to pull out a few beach chairs and umbrellas from their pile before walking across the street to the shore. Setting up shop just steps from our room, we marveled at the white sand under our feet and the tantalizing colors of the gulf only yards away from us.
It had been so long since we had seen such a pristine beach as this, vibrant colors and mostly untouched. Yearning for the days of being back on the water and stumbling across this type of scene almost daily, it felt like a return to nirvana and a semblance of the lives we used to lead not that long ago. Spending the day lounging in the sun and running out to the water to cool off seemed like everything we could hope for during our time away from Daze Off. Turns out all of our big fun was still in store for that night, as I finally, after moths of failed attempts, had the opportunity to meet up with one of my best friends, Melody, for a night on the town.