Thursday, November 6, 2014

Weekend in Destin

Very recently, we decided to get away from Tallahassee for a weekend. There seem to be lots of great getatway places within a short drive, and we haven't explored any of them yet, so we chose Destin for no particular reason. It turned out to be a great choice, and we loved our time there and it was really nice to get out of our usual weekend habits.
Carson still had class until 5:30 on Friday, but was able to escape after a presentation at around 4:45. so we planned to meet then. I was running early, despite the rush hour traffic and had just pulled into the parking lot at FSU to wait for him when I remembered that I had left the camera behind at home. Ugh. So I quickly texted him to stay until the end of class and tried to rush home, but three accidents on top of normal Friday traffic put a bit of a damper on that. I still made it back to the school by taking a shortcut (on a normal day, it would have been the longer route) and Carson met me at a nearby Starbucks. We decided to grab dinner on the Interstate because the restaurant we'd planned to stop by (and had a coupon for) was a left turn and in that traffic it wasn't going to happen... 

By some miracle, we finally arrived in Destin, very tired after a long week. Google Maps says it's about 2 hours and 45 minutes away, and I couldn't accurately record how long it took since Friday's traffic was unusually congested. We checked in to our hotel and walked down a very long hallway past three very boring looking but moderately loud Halloween parties to our room. We weren't sure if "Harbor-View" meant "you can see just a sliver of water but your view is mostly of the A/C Unit", but this particular hotel was definitely not lying, and we had a perfect view of Destin Harbor. Our room even had a little balcony, which was so great!

This is the best shot I could get that night. It was beautiful, but I have shaky camera hands.

They have fireworks on Friday nights. These ones had some shaped like smiley faces and flowers, in addition to the usual firework-shaped fireworks.

We went to bed early that night, since we'd been up since 3am, and Carson slept FOREVER. Or so it seemed, since I woke up at 6:30... nothing says vacation like 6:30 on a Saturday morning.
We enjoyed the view once again from our suddenly quite chilly balcony. Saturday was beautiful, but very windy.

My Inception-like photo.

I've mentioned before that we love hotels for the free TV. We usually find ourselves watching Law and Order, old movies, or nature shows, and I think we enjoy it for the variety.

Our plan originally was to spend the day at the beach. It was way too windy and chilly to do that though, and even though it was sunny and not exactly COLD, it would not have been pleasant. We explored instead, and visited cheesy souvenir shops and the outlets.

We wanted to at least walk on the beach though, so when we were ready for lunch, we looked for a place on the water. We found one right next to a public beach access and killed two birds with one stone.

We went to Pompano Joe's for lunch. When asked if we wanted to sit across the restaurant or wait for a table by the window, we opted for the window, and it was funny because so did everyone else. There wasn't anyone sitting at the tables across from the windows. I sat in a ray of sunshine and it was wonderful.

For lunch, I had a Shrimp Po Boy, which I've never had before, and Carson had a fried fish sandwich.

After we ate, we decided to walk along the beach.

This back of the restaurant where we ate... super touristy and bright, which I loved.

I don't love birds, but I loved seeing their little footprints all over the beach.

This is a typical Carson face.

Carson is quite the scavenger, and he saw a tiny plastic turtle in the sand and climbed down under the boardwalk to retrieve it. It now sits on our dashboard.

We went back to our hotel to rest for awhile. Here's what it looks like from the front (if we had gotten the "city view" we would have faced a lovely Motel 6 and a $5 and Under souvenir shop).

We enjoyed a lovely sunset.

And after flipping between HGTV and a couple of random movies, we decided that we should probably eat something. We were going to go somewhere nice and dress up, but we really just wanted to go somewhere casual, and somewhere where we wouldn't be around loud people.

So we went to TGI Fridays. We are not model vacation-goers. Yes, there were plenty of local places and even a breakfast-all-day place, but we were hungry for just appetizers. Judge away. They have a three for $15 appetizer thing so we got bruschetta (my choice), bacon mac and cheese bites (compromise), and corned beef sliders (Carson's choice). All tasty, but the bruschetta was the best. I'm allergic to tomatoes, but I love that stuff and make exceptions for it on occasion.

We spent a lazy morning watching more HGTV, sitting on the balcony in the sunshine (it wasn't windy that day) and trying to decide what to do. I made Carson take pictures before we checked out. Moved the camera a little on accident and you don't get the view at all. Oops.

We decided to go to McGuire's Irish Pub for lunch. It was recommended to us by a couple of people and didn't REALLY seem like our kind of place or our kind of food, but the number of recommendations and the fact that it's apparently popular with both locals and tourists intrigued us. We loved it. It's very dark inside, as we expected, but what we didn't expect were dollar bills EVERYWHERE. The waitress told us that there are over $1.4 million dollars and I'd believe it. They are tacked up on the walls, hanging from the ceiling... just everywhere. It had a fun vibe, and while I'd imagine it gets rowdy on an evening, for a Sunday brunch it was great. We had the brunch, which was excellent. I had shrimp and grits and Carson had a breakfast burger.

After lunch, we met up with my friend Katherine and her husband Matt, who live in Destin. We strolled along the Harborwalk and sat and talked. Only when we got to the car did I realize that I'd had my camera with me the entire time, yet forgot to take a picture. I just took this one of the boardwalk because apparently, I'm not that brilliant.

I have to say that it is so funny being on a beach and wearing shorts in November. I'm sure this used to be my life when I lived in the South before, but I took it for granted and/or I was a little more wimpy in the cold than I am now so I wore sweaters in 65 degree weather. I keep Cleveland, Spokane and Tallahassee's weather all on my phone so that I can compare them and I am (so far) certainly NOT missing colder temperatures. 

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