|We enjoyed beautiful blue skies under our blue beach umbrellas. Jennifer shot this photo with her iPhone.|
|We caught the sunset on the beach every evening.|
But summers have become increasingly crowded as ever more commercial development has led to high-rise condo complexes up and down the ocean front. The restaurants and amusements are packed, the traffic on Highway 98 is heavily congested. It is fun but also not as relaxed since everything is so inundated with tourists. I am not a big fan of crowds.
It wasn't like that this year. Avery was between quarters in college making the post-Labor Day excursion possible. The beach, shopping centers and attractions were all less crowded. We were able to drive around in about half the time it normally takes to get somewhere during the peak season. We didn't have to wait on a table at any restaurants. Our new favorite eating establishment is a place called Vin'tij Wine Bontique & Bistro that Jennifer wanted to try. It's cuisine was top-notch and we all enjoyed part of Avery's Fried Oyster BLT, something the restaurant has built a loyal local clientele around.
Hurricane Hermine made landfall about 100 miles to the east the week before, unfortunately churning up a lot of seaweed, which diminished the pristine clarity of the emerald water that we are accustomed to. Otherwise, the weather was great and the trip was relaxing.
|Plenty of shore bird action along the beach.|
|The pool area was empty for my morning swim each day. It felt great to seemingly have the place to myself.|
|Jennifer and Avery spent more time on the beach than I did, enjoying watermelon and other snacks. You can see how clear the skies were for our trip.|
|Avery snapped this photo of me as we caught the sunset our last night there.|
|I was up early every morning to catch the sunrise as well. Once again, it felt like having the space to myself.|
|The water contained more seaweed than usual due to the hurricane the previous week, but it still featured streaks of clear beauty - with fewer people.|