life, travel

Bridges and Beaches

My husband and I were in our twenties when we first moved to Florida from Chicago. We settled in a nice central location. We lived 50 miles from the gulf beaches and about 65 miles from the infamous theme parks. Being so young at the time, we frequented them all.

Of course, you can’t live in Florida without adventuring to its many other fabulous places to explore. One year we took the eight-hour drive south to Key West.

slopjoes (800x486) wmOld scanned photo from the days of film

Another year we took an eight-hour drive in the opposite direction, north to the panhandle’s majestic beaches in Destin and Panama City.

My very favorite place in all of Florida is the historical town of St. Augustine . . . the oldest town in the U.S. We took the three-and-a-half-hour drive to visit there once or twice a year.

stgeorge (800x492) wm2St. George Street in St. Augustine, Florida (more old, scanned photos)

staugfort (800x535) wmCastillo de San Marcos Fort (built 1672-95) guarding the city of St. Augustine.

discovery (624x800) wmWe even went to Cape Canaveral to see a shuttle launch.

By the time we turned forty, the novelty wore off. We’d taken many adventures in our new home state, and it didn’t seem as interesting anymore. Just knowing we could choose to go if we wanted was good enough.

Now, that we’re moving away, it’s a bummer to realize these adventures won’t be easily accessible anymore. But, I’m grateful for having had the experiences. We’ll find different places to explore in our new (original) home.

Still, we wanted to experience the beach again before leaving and went a couple of times in the past few weeks. In order to get to the gulf beaches, we have a choice to drive over one of four bridges, so we took the most scenic one.

skyway8 (800x401) wmSkyway Bridge (I breathe a sigh of relief once we get across)

These newer pictures were difficult to take from a cell phone in a moving car, but you get the idea.

skyway6 (800x449) wmHeaded for the sky

skyway4 (800x372) wmComing around the other side.

On the first of our two visits across the bridge, we took Max and went to the dog beach.

mgdesoto2 (800x449) wmmaxdesoto2 (1024x483) wmIf you click on the photo, you can see the sparkling shades of color in the water, and that Max is carrying a tennis ball.

The second time we went, it was a dog-free day. The clear, sea-green waters and white sand soothed our souls in advance of our stressful move.

passgrlboat (800x533) wm

passgrlview (800x425) wmAfter the beach, we went to a little shack of a restaurant. It’s the place where we watched the sunset for the last time in the 20th century. In other words, it’s where we partied on New Year’s Eve like it was 1999 . . . because it was. We haven’t been there in years, but the place hasn’t changed a bit.

woodys2 (800x449) wmwoodys1 (800x447) wmwoodysview (800x524) wmOh sure, I’m going to miss this beautiful scenery, but it’s not like we could walk out our back door and relax over daiquiris all day. Just like anyone else who doesn’t live here, we needed to take vacation days in order to enjoy these places. As responsible adults, it wasn’t always easy to get a weekend free either, even just to go to the beach which was 50 miles away.

Thanks for joining me on my goodbye-beach tour.

Have you ever been both happy and sad to make a big change in your life?

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34 thoughts on “Bridges and Beaches”

  1. Leaving family and friends in Illinois to move to Maryland was tough, but now I feel more like a Mid-Atlantic girl than a Midwestern one. πŸ™‚ Changes are stressful, even when they’re ones we’re glad to make. I’m glad you’ve been able to take in some of your favorite Florida sites before heading back to the Windy City!

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    1. As you’ve probably read on my blog before, I never quite felt like I fit into the Florida puzzle. But, I’m glad you found a home where you fit right in, JM. And, your new place looks fantastic. πŸ™‚

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    1. It’s been a lot of years with tons of memories here. It will definitely be bitter-sweet. But, we’re moving onward and upward, literally. πŸ™‚ Thanks, Terri.

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  2. I hate those transition times. When you are parting with the past, but not yet immersed in the future. I think you guys are doing a terrific job saying goodbye to your home state. These pictures are amazing. And at least you can say you lived in FL and you took advantage of all it had to offer!

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  3. I’m glad you took the time to see your old home with the fresh eyes of the tourists you felt like when you first moved. I’m sure you will savor those memories you just made as much as you savor those early days. It’s nice to leave a place feeling happy that you were there.

    Yes, I’ve been both happy and sad to leave my various homes. The thing I’ve always remembered is that I always felt that I was moving toward something, not away from something. Also, I always feel as if home is not about the place, but about the hearts and souls who occupy the place. If I am with my loved ones, I am home. πŸ™‚

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    1. Hi Lorna. I was surprised to find myself sad (as well as happy) to move, because I’ve wanted to leave here for quite some time now. I’m learning that it’s natural to feel bitter-sweet about it, since we have such a long history here now. Thank you for sharing your experiences with moving and for sharing some tidbits of wisdom you learned along the way. I could use those. πŸ™‚

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      1. I think it’s natural to feel conflicted about any major life change. I’m glad you found my comments helpful. Hang in there. Life is just one big adventure whether you move around or just stay put! πŸ™‚

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    1. I moved away from friends and family when we moved here. Now, I’m moving back to where they live. I’m surprised I’m a little sad, since I’ve wanted to move back for years now. But, it all happens when it’s supposed to. Thanks for sharing your own experience with a bitter-sweet move, A.

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  4. Great photos, old and new. The gulf beaches look amazing… I do love a beach. Here in the city distance wise they aren’t far but via city routes. In the country the distance is further but quicker.
    I know when we move to the country we’ll miss city things, proximity to the southern part of the state and the Blue Mountains. Like you we don’t have that much time in our working lives to spend time checking them out.

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    1. Hi EllaDee. I never really cared to go to the Caribbean islands (where so many vacation in the US), because I always thought the gulf beaches here were just as pretty. We won’t have beaches or mountains where we’re headed. I’ll have to live through your photos of your trips.

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    1. I didn’t know you left, Carl. Well, you haven’t been to St Augustine and I haven’t been to Bach Tower. I don’t live awfully far from it either. I should’ve checked it out. I hope you’re doing well and enjoying NC. I’m a fan of that area myself. I’d like to live in NC or Tennessee, but the job took us to Chicago, which is good because my family is there.

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  5. I know exactly what you mean – you live there and you think you’re going to do all these things. When we moved to Vancouver Island we thought we would be able to go to Vancouver any time and often, but the ferry cost, when you take a car back and forth, is very prohibitive. You only go if you have a good reason. Same with the ski hill. It’s right here, less than an hour to the top of the hill, but to do it more than once costs a small fortune and to do it less than that doesn’t make sense.
    It’s good that you did a lot of these fun outings when you were younger. Nice “old” photos. Hope you enjoy your new home in Chicago.

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    1. Gosh, you have such beautiful scenery right outside your window where you live. I can understand not paying for the high prices of those activities you mentioned. While we lived in Florida, most of our vacations were taken to some place right here in the state. We’ve been there, done that, and just settled in without going anymore. Thanks so much for your support, Anneli.

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  6. I didn’t know the oldest town in the U.S. was in Florida. Next time I go to the state, I’d love to check it out. I’d like to return to Key West some day too. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there. My kids would love Hemingway’s house with all the cats.

    It’s nice you’re getting the chance to pay your last respects (so to speak!) to the place you’re leaving. But as you said, Chicago will have all new places for you to explore. I’m sure you’ve seen most of the city since you’re from the area, but time always brings changes and new things.

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    1. I thought Hemingway’s house and cats were really a sight to see. I have photos of those cats in one of my old albums. I highly recommend St. Augustine. There are so many historical buildings, an it has a European flair with its narrow, cobblestone streets. You can pretty much explore there unfettered (is that a big word? heh). The fort in the middle of the town is affordable to tour, and they let you explore all of its nooks and crannies on your own if you so choose. It’s on an inlet and has some pretty scenery. I should get paid for this ad for St. Aug. Ha. Yes, you’re right, I’m familiar with Chicago, but it has lots of exciting places to go. Thank you for your support, Carrie.

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        1. I should get a cut of the profits on that visit. Heh. If you ever do go, you’ll have to let me know what you think. It’s no merry old England, but for the U.S., it’s pretty cool.

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    1. Yeah, Key West was pretty cool to see. St Augustine is awesome. I could just feel the welcoming ghosts in that place. Very scenic on the water, too. Thanks for the nice comment about those old photos, SD.

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  7. Beautiful pictures, Lori! There’s nothing more beautiful than crossing those bridges in Florida. When I lived in Jupiter, Florida, I crossed a bridge, during my commute to work each morning. I had to pinch myself that I really lived there, after living my entire life in the D.C. area. I was sad to leave Florida, but it was the right move.

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    1. I didn’t know you lived in this state. Jupiter is on the other coast from where I live. Moving to Florida was the right thing all those years ago, but I never felt like I quite fit here. Not that frigid temps are my thing, but I have a low tolerance for heat, and it’s just too much for me (it’s sweltering here already). I’m relieved to be moving, but I’ll be leaving a lot of beautiful scenery. I’m glad that your move took you to the place where you were supposed to be as well, Jill. Thanks for sharing your experience with Florida.

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      1. I lived in Jupiter in March of 2006 until October, 2006. Derek and I had moved down from Virginia, my parents were in Jupiter at the time. Our plan was to purchase a house, but Mother Nature had other plans. Two hurricane’s came through. We evacuated to Charlotte, NC, where Derek’s twin sister lived, and we ended up settling here. A year later, my parents moved to Charlotte too…I was happy. πŸ™‚ I certainly under when you say it never felt like a good fit. I felt the same. I need the change of seasons and rolling hills. Florida is beautiful, but it’s so flat! πŸ™‚ I’ll never forget, my aunt, who lived in Florida for 40 something years said Florida was the worst place to go through menopause. πŸ™‚

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        1. OMG, we were here for those hurricanes. There were three or four that hit here that year. We’re not right on the coast (Gulf), but we even evacuated for Hurricane Charley. I’ve wanted to move to either NC or Tennessee, but the job that fell in our lap ended up back in Chicago. That’s fine, because my family is there. I’m so glad that NC ended up being where your family landed too. That’s great. BTW, I can vouch for your aunt’s comment about menopause. And, I’m hot blooded by nature. This heat is killing me, and it’s sweltering already. Thanks so much for sharing more about your life, Jill. We all (humankind) have more in common then we realize.

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  8. I’ve been collecting the travel guides from each state as part of a state-by-state project I’m working on. It’s always been a dream of mine to take vacations to all the states, taking the girls to see as much of this country as possible. Currently, I only have Georgia almost done. It’s going to take me probably a good year or two to complete the whole project. LOL. After this I might have to do Florida. πŸ™‚

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    1. Oh boy, in addition to all the theme parks, Florida has a ton of vacation sights. With little ones, the them parks are the best. As they get older, I recommend the historical sights too. Of course, the beach is good for all ages. πŸ™‚ Good luck with that project.

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