When you go on vacation, what is important to you? What are your ‘must haves’?
For me, it depends partly on whether the holiday is all about exploring or focused on a little downtime and relaxation. In either case, I want happy times with my husband and sons, good food, beauty, a safe (and quiet!!!!) place to lay my head at night and reasonable value, because being a hardworking cheapskate, that’s essential to my sense of enjoyment. For an exploring holiday, I want to see and do things that we haven’t experienced before, like riding a camel in the Moroccan desert, visiting the Topkapi Museum or having dinner at a Michelin 3 star restaurant in France.
For holidays that are all about relaxation and easy living, good weather is an important ingredient, because I live in Canada and good weather is rare enough to be treasured. Other things that are important include a comfortable reading chair and good kitchen facilities, because we find it is more relaxing to sip a glass of wine while cooking in the kitchen together than going out to a restaurant. Weird, right? But for us, an evening in is more relaxing than an evening out. No parking hassles, no waiting for a table, no waiters interrupting the conversation to ask how the meal was. We also like a separate bedroom and bathroom for the boys, because they tend to run on a different clock than their dad and I do.
For a relaxing holiday, it is hard to beat Florida. It is an easy flight (as far as flying can be easy in these days of post-9-11 security) with no killer time change. The sunshine is endless, there are no language issues (unless you consider that Americans speak a totally different English than Canadians and that, dear reader, will be the subject of another post), and the price is right. When we to Florida, it is NEVER to Disney World. My children have been sadly deprived on that score, but that just is NOT, NOT, NOT relaxing to me. I like the slow pace of Spring training baseball and the feeling of stepping back in time to a simpler era. I like the beach and the gentle sound of the waves lapping at the shore. I like watching the pelicans and the people. But after a while, I like to get away from the beach, too. Especially in the heat of the midday, when the sun is baking down, it is much more relaxing to me to sit in the shade of the palm trees outside my lanai door, watching the fish jump in the lagoon, watching the egret stroll through the flowering shrubs. SO peaceful. If I could bottle that feeling, I’d put Prozac out of business.
And that, right there, is why I like our Bayside location better than the Gulf side in Siesta Key. The gulf side condos are largely one experience – the Gulf of Mexico and the beach. From our front door on the Bayside, private deeded beach access is just four minutes stroll so you really have the best of both worlds: the beach and the gulf, and also beautiful garden and canal views. It is relaxing to watch the white boats bob on cerulean water of the lagoon, and speed along the IntraCoastal waterway, between Siesta Key and mainland Sarasota. Somehow, I enjoy the Florida sunshine all the more, knowing I can retreat to the shade. When I have had enough sand for the day, it is most pleasant to stroll along the walkway bordering the canal, enjoying the lush greenery of the tropical shrubs and trees. The quiet beauty of the grounds around our new vacation rental give me a sense of serenity and contentment. It is a reminder of how good it is to be alive.