Thing 1 turned 18. Way back in February actually. For said birthday her grandparents gifted her with a trip of her choice, within reason of course. Initially the destination chosen was New York City. I was absolutely giddy about this since I was asked to accompany Thing 1 and Nani. We planned, chose a date and dreamed of our time in the city, making list after list of the sights we wanted to see and the restaurants we were wanting to dine at. The entire trip seemed so far away and then all of a sudden it wasn't. The end of February came and our trip was scheduled for March. Then one bone chilling winter day Thing 1 sent me a text that went something like this; It is freezing here, I want to escape winter and spend time with you and Nani on a beach somewhere. If we went to NY we would be running around all day and not relaxing. What do you think? What do I t think? I think that the hotel has been booked, the flights are scheduled and the city lights are waiting for me. After much huffing and puffing though, I relented and instructed Thing 1 to discuss the matter with her Nani, who of course wanted to be wherever Thing 1 wanted to be. Harrumph. In the end I decided being with the two of them was much more important than any destination we could have chosen. So our plans changed and Thing 1 landed on Clearwater, FL. And it is there we spent almost a week together. A blissful, sun and sand filled week. Here is a photo journey of our time in Florida.
Leaving snowy and cold MN
The view from our room
Nani and Thing 1 happy to be at the beach (the start of our first full day)
Lunch at the Bait House, one of the best meals we had
I dared Nani to jump on this platform from the dock...and she did it.
I'm not sure who was laughing more, her or me.
Umbrellas lining the pier for the sunset fest
Girl with fire hair, as titled by Thing 1
First magical sunset on the pier
Thing 1, waiting until every last piece of the fireball was beneath the horizon
Stingrays showing off for us- as seen from the pier
The very best way to end a night on the beach, ice cream cones for the win!
Day two, well actually day three, but only our second full day together, began with a bike ride to breakfast, which turned into lunch, pool time with fruity mock-tails and a boat ride to dolphin watch.
Quick stop for a selfie on the bridge- mid bike ride
Riding through the neighborhood
Our view at breakfast, made the bike ride across the bridge worth it,
Maggie Mae's was quite the eatery!
Pool, sunshine and fruity drinks as our reward after all that bike riding
Thing 1 was a fan of the pina colada mock-tail!
Look at us, we're on a boat!
Shells on the island we stopped at during our boat ride- the tide comes in and washes over leaving behind bits and pieces to cover the island.
On the island, mid shell hunt
I'm not sure her allergies agreed with the ocean air, we spent this night cuddled up, eating room service and watching movies.
Day four or three, whichever way you want to look at it, began the way everyday seemed to, a walk on the beach, breakfast at a local cafe, a work out in the gym and a drive into Ybor City for flamenco dancing and dinner at the infamous Colombia.
Morning shell walk
Waiting out the storm before our field trip
Taxi Ride to Ybor City
Unique cafe we stumbled on, part of the regentrification of Ybor City. It's a coffee shop, shared work space and clothing and textile store.
I love old buildings...these reminded me of Bourbon St. in New Orleans
Nani and Thing 1
Hidden door way outside Colombia
Thing 1 and the Knight
See what we did there? Tricky.
The spread. I can not even begin to describe the amount of food we indulged in this evening. So very much. And all of it so delicious.
Flamenco dancer. The preciseness and intentionality with which these performers danced was remarkable.
Happy birthday to you, my 18 year old.
Ybor City, night time.
Peek a boo! Being silly in the hotel lobby.
Our final day. There were sad faces all around but we decided to make the most of it. We chose a new cafe this morning and it did not disappoint. Clarabelle, Nani's alter ego, made an appearance as well. Following breakfast we had one last look on the beach and then off to the airport we went. Memories and suitcases overflowing.
The waiting list
Breakfast faces. "Clarabelle, you're table is ready".
A windy start on the beach.
Shadows. As seen by Nani.
With bellies full we made our way to the airport.
Said our farewells and thank you's and see you laters.
Thank you Nani for a splendid week on the beach and thank you Thing 1 for turning 18 so we could celebrate you!