Destination 7: Baxter County, Florida


After our day at Pensacola Beach (which, by the way, is now affected by the oil spill right after I said it wasn't!), we headed to a very rural part of Florida to visit Mom's college friends, Judi, Cary, Teresa, Joyce and Les. By "rural," I mean dirt roads, acres upon acres of land, swamps, woods, big plum-size horse flies, utter silence and a 30-minute drive to the nearest store.

[An old shack down the road with picturesque Spanish moss]

[Judi & Cary's mailbox!]

At first, I wasn't so sure of what I thought about spending two nights in rural Florida. I wasn't looking forward to potential alligator attacks and such. But as soon as we pulled up to Judi and Cary's home, full of love, animals and nature's beauty, I was sold. Sitting outside on the back patio in the night's warm breeze, surrounded by lush trees had a magical effect. It was so peaceful and a nice change from the hustle and bustle we've been doing lately. My normal life consists of constantly being on the go, so when an opportunity arises to sit and appreciate the moments when time ceases, I really, really appreciate it. It reminds me of life in France when sitting around doing absolutely nothing was totally acceptable.

[Amazing trashcan that Mom hopes can be replicated for our own home]

[Just hanging out, chattin']

[From left: Joyce, Judi, Mom, Cary]

I think Mom had a wonderful time catching up with old friends too. It was fun sitting with them late at night, listening to their howls of laughter as they told old (and new) stories. The kids, who were completely enthralled by the animals--a bunny, 2 horses, 4 dogs and 2 cats--also had a blast. They ran around, chasing/terrorizing the poor animals, went swimming, rode on a tire swing, ate mounds of sugar-filled snacks and watched movies on my laptop.

[Robert & Joyce riding the golf cart, Mary swinging on the tire and
Daniel waiting for his turn on the golf cart]

[Joyce & Les had dogs like us...makes me miss Tsion & Max (and Koda too)!]

[Visiting on the screened porch, away from the bugs]

[A delicious cake with pecans and homemade cream cheese frosting...mmmm!]

By the time we had to leave, I don't think anyone was ready to say "goodbye." Dad wanted to stay and sit in a particularly glorious recliner just a tad longer, Mom could have spent a lifetime chatting with her friends and committing to the simpler, more enjoyable life there and the kids would have easily agreed to a couple more nights of animal terrorizing and sugar overdosing. But, alas, it was time to say our "farewells" and "see you soon's" and before I knew it, we were back in the van, driving to our next destination.

[Dad and the infamous recliner, as the rest of the world whirls around him]

[Robert caught in the act. He's poking the cat with his paper sword]

[The Shack: a dive restaurant w/ delicious bbq that
Dad wanted to drive by before we left. Perhaps the perfect place for
Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives]

Something about staying in a place filled with love and open arms, rather than a cold hotel room, changes everything about a trip. It rejuvenates everyone and warms the soul. It excites me to know we have many more of those coming soon.

Until next time, ciao <3 I hope all of you had a lovely weekend!!

1 comment :

Simply Tanya said...

My favorite post of your trip yet! Your mom looks so happy to be reunited! Those four are adorable! Have fun on the east coast :)