Thursday, September 23, 2010

A breath of fresh air

Sometimes getting away from it all can be good for you, and this week we have chosen to do just that.

When I was looking for places to take the family for vacation, I initially considered a number of popular American tourist beach-front locations, which mostly would have put us along the coasts of Florida or South Carolina.

But I decided that this time, it might be nice to do something a little different. Go somewhere a little bit more low-key, not a place covered in tourists and flashing lights and animated cartoon characters, and Jekyll Island seemed like the perfect place to go.

The kids are on fall vacation, so rather than do what we always do and stay home chilling and grilling, we decided to given them a late summer beach trip, and I'm happy to say we made a good decision. They're having a ball.

It's currently the middle of the off-season, and so in some ways it almost feels like we have the island to ourselves. There are a handful of families here and there, but it's been nice going to any restaurant of our choice and having absolutely no wait. Going to the pool and getting to choose any lounge chair you want. And although most of the waitstaff in the dining establishments are operating on island-time (i.e., they're not in the greatest hurry to bring you your food), they're super nice and make you feel welcome with their southern charm and their welcoming smiles.

This hasn't been a week full of activity, but I think we're all enjoying doing a whole lot of nothing. Internet and phone service is scarce, but the trade-off is being able to walk along the shore, stroll the fishing piers, observe the lighthouses, see dolphins right from the beach and being able to find those little mom-and-pop seafood dives with outdoor dining options and bottle of wine specials.

How often do you get to watch your kids pull nets in from a shrimping boat? Not every day, let me tell you. And it was cool to see they held their own. We'd joined a group of high-school kids on their 4H field trip (hey, we got a discount), and we spent the morning trolling along the ecological shores and historic marshlands, seeing more dolphins, sea birds and learning the history of the island. And the teen group got to keep whatever was pulled off the boat to help feed their animals.

And even though we didn't catch much, Maya was brave and touched everything that came out of the net.

All in all, I'd say we're having a great time, and this will be a place I'm sure we return to in the future.

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