Barbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Lessons from a month on the beach – Year 2
Updated: Jan 23
I am writing this while sitting on our deck enjoying the sights and sounds of the waves breaking on the beach and feeling the warm sun and cool breezes on my face. This is heaven.
Our month on Cape San Blas, Florida this year started and ended much the same as last year – leaving Indiana on a cold snowy day and returning to what is predicted to be a colder-than-average early March.
The main differences this year were a house with 6 bedrooms instead of 3, which allowed for hosting a total of 23 guests throughout the month (including 3 more than pictured), plus the 2 of us, and, witnessing first-hand the impact of Hurricane Michael on the “Forgotten Coast.”
We ditto the lessons learned and add some new ones.
10 lessons from a month on the beach:
#1 – Hurricanes are devastating but native Floridians are resilient…
...and very appreciative of returning “snowbirds.” Signs proclaiming REBUILD were evident everywhere. It felt good to support the people and economy of the area and commit to returning.
#2 – After a storm, expect problems:
...low water pressure, spotty wi-fi, piles of debris along the road, delays for one-lane traffic, detours, sounds of construction, and swimming pools filled with muck.
We were the first guests to stay in our beach house and we created a “punch list” 3 pages long for the maintenance crew. Most items were minor and nothing adversely affected our stay. We feel so fortunate we were able to come as most houses weren’t ready.
#3 – When hosting large gatherings of friends or family allow people to help.
Share the meal planning, purchasing, and preparation. Work together to clean up daily because sand gets everywhere!
#4 – Be flexible and keep expectations realistic.
People operate on different schedules – some like morning walks on the beach and others prefer sleeping in. Younger children and older adults both benefit from naps. Don’t expect perfect attendance at all events… except supper.
#5 – Prevention beats treatment when it comes to sunburn and bug bites.
Listen to tips from the locals… Australian Gold wards off both. And don’t forget the sunblock on your lips!
#6 – Animals are entertaining.
Spotting dolphins, hunting crabs at night, playing with dogs on the beach, and feeding gulls are great fun for all ages. But, a really big snake on a hike is scary!
#7 – Weather can change quickly.
From pouring rain to blazing sun – so dress in layers and have a hat that doesn’t blow off.
#8 – BYOE: Bring Your Own Entertainment.
For us, this included bikes, boogie boards, a kayak, sand toys, coloring books and playdough, disc golf discs and disc catcher (and expect to lose a few discs in the surf), board games (“Wing It” is a new favorite), DVDs, and craft supplies to decorate frames with favorite shells.
#9 – The sun always sets – even when hidden behind the clouds.
And the stars shine brighter on a dark, clear night on the beach.
#10 – It is so hard to leave the beach - unless it’s raining.
When the sun is shining, you always want to linger longer.
Tomorrow we head north and will be updating our calendars and making lists of what needs to be done when we get back home. We will hope that in spite of the predicted cold, spring is not too far behind. We have had a taste of summer and it tastes great!
“Easy Breezy” is reserved for next February. We are looking forward to seeing the progress on rebuilding after the hurricane and making new adventures and memories.
“May you always have a shell in your pocket and sand in your shoes.” ~ Anonymous
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