By Beckie Borman
I love traveling to a new place, somewhere I’ve never been. But, it’s also fun to go back time and again to a place I love. One of those places is Cocoa Beach, Florida, where I recently spent a week with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. Here’s how our week went:
We ate a lot of seafood, at least, we adults did. Mackenzie and Carter stuck mostly to hamburgers and chicken tenders. But, Erik, Josey, and I had shrimp, local fish like grouper, live-from-the-tank blue crabs, and many, many raw oysters. One of our favorite places to eat is the Sunset Café Bar and Grill, which, as its name implies, is a wonderful place to watch the sunset over the Banana River. We had dinner there our first and last nights, fried shrimp and oysters, as usual. Sunset Café is always fun, but it was a particular treat on Friday night, our last evening in Florida. A blue heron flew in and out several times, perching on top of a boat docked in the marina. But, even more entertaining was the dolphin, who, the entire time we were there, swam, leapt, and dove about twenty yards from the shore. We were all captivated.
We also had fun picking out blue crabs at Ms. Apple’s Crab Shop. Ms. Apple is a real character, a petite woman who runs the shop with an iron fist. Customers can pick out their own crabs or let one of the staff do it. But, really, how can you resist the opportunity to use tongs and pull out one after another snapping crabs, plunk them in a bucket, and turn them over to be steamed for your eating enjoyment? We chose 18 large crabs and took them back to our hotel, where we enjoyed them on our balcony.
Another “must” when we’re in Cocoa Beach is Ron Jon Surf Shop. Picture the biggest beach store you’ve ever seen and multiply by four. Ron Jon is open 24-7, and it’s always busy. There’s nothing related to surfing or the beach that you cannot purchase there. It’s definitely sensory overload, but so much fun! Rest assured, all five of us Bormans found numerous items we couldn’t live without.
This year, we also enjoyed doing something we haven’t done before…we attended two of the Washington Nationals spring training games. I am a big Nats fan, and although I usually attend a “Cactus League” game or two in Phoenix, where I live, I’ve never seen a Nats game in Florida’s “Grapefruit League.” So we drove the short distance to Viero and took in some baseball. While no one else in the family is a fan like I am, they all love sports and enjoyed learning a little about the players and the game. Mackenzie managed to get a fly ball on Monday, and she took it back with her to the game on Thursday, hoping for an autograph. Ian Desmond, Nats shortstop, obliged. She was a very happy girl!
In case you’re wondering, yes, we spent a lot of time on the beach, in between all these other activities. The Resort on Cocoa Beach is, well, on the beach, and it’s only a short walk to the water. With beach chairs and umbrella, boogie boards and sand toys, it’s easy to spend long, relaxing days sitting by the water, walking the beach, building sand castles, boogie boarding, and jumping the waves. We did all of the above. When we tired of the sand, we made our way to the beautiful pool area, where the grandkids could swim and play in the pool, while we adults enjoyed adult beverages from the poolside bar.
Yes, life is good in Cocoa Beach. We all dream of going back again, maybe even this year. Because there’s no such thing as too much beach time.