By Rebecca Borman
For many months, my son’s family and I had been looking forward to our annual (and sometimes semi-annual) trip to The Resort on Cocoa Beach. As I’ve written before, it’s one of our happy places. But, just a few days before the start of our week at the beach, I got a shocking phone call. The voice on the other end told me that our week at The Resort was cancelled. What? Well, there was this hurricane on the way, and Cocoa Beach was being evacuated. The Resort would be closed for a week so they could assess and then repair the damages.
I immediately called my son, Erik. He, not I, was going to have to break the news to his wife Josey and my grandchildren, Mackenzie and Carter. There would be tears. We needed to come up with some suggestions for a Plan B. Given that we had spent about $3000 on airfare to Orlando, Plan B needed to be within driving distance of that city.
Good fortune prevailed in many ways. Most importantly, Cocoa Beach weathered the storm very well. The storm didn’t do as much harm as was feared, and while docks and probably a few buildings were damaged, in general our beloved beach town is fine. And, we came up with Plan B. Friends of my son’s family own a condo on Indian Rocks Beach and generously offered us the use of their home for our vacation week. We appreciated the offer and immediately agreed. So, we were off to the beach, this time on the Gulf side of Florida.
Admittedly, there was some trepidation at the thought of a beach vacation on the Gulf instead of the Atlantic, and in an unfamiliar place. Would there be waves for boogie-boarding? Would we like the beach? Would we miss our big balcony overlooking the ocean and the beautiful swimming pool at the resort? Would we find places to eat that would satisfy our cravings for seafood? The short answer is that we had a great week!
Truth be told, we did miss the big waves that provide so much boogie-boarding fun. We also weren’t big fans of the need to do the “sting-ray shuffle.” But, we loved the easy access to the beach from the condo, and the sea shells were absolutely amazing. We spent lots of time in the water, but also lots of time walking along the shore. We became experts at finding unbroken shells and had fun identifying them. We even found several that are consider “rare finds.” Very fun!
In fact, here is a short list of some things we did that we wouldn’t have been able to do had we stayed in Cocoa Beach: for a few moments, Mackenzie held a live seahorse she saw in the water; one morning, a manatee swam so close to shore that he/she was only a few feet away from us; another morning a blue heron followed a woman fishing on the shore, hoping for and getting a few fishy treats; Erik and the kids discovered a live sand dollar when they dug their toes into the sand bar; I found a perfect and rare “Scotch bonnet” seashell; we ate lots of fresh-caught grouper. And one of our best dinners was one we couldn’t have had in Cocoa Beach. We had pizzas delivered and took them down to the beach. We enjoyed good pizza, great conversations, and a spectacular sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. It was a wonderful way to end a long, lazy day of relaxing on the beach and in the water.
So, what threatened to be a disaster turned out to be a great week and a good lesson. When your biggest problem is having to switch your vacation plans from one fabulous beach to another, you are blessed to be living a very good life. Oh, and PS…we are already booked for a spring break week at The Resort on Cocoa Beach.