Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Best Vacation EVER - Destin, Florida

Well is one of my longest posts ever. There won't be that many words, but a lot of pictures. I really want to capture all of the highlights of our trip. We had an amazing time and can't wait to go again. If you want to read about our last trip to Destin you can go here.

Here's our Destin...ation (ha, ha)!

We left on Thursday when Jamison got out of school and drove a little less than 1/2 way to Nashville and stayed overnight. The next day we got up early and made the second leg of our trip. Here are some highlights:

Caleb was well entertained with Gramma Lee's DVD player. I'm so glad it had headphones so we didn't have to listen to Thomas songs the entire way there.

Jamison had her own spot in the back of the van.

I was fascinated with the red dirt in Alabama and tried my best to take a good picture.

Just over this bridge...Destin! It was a great moment.

Turning onto US 98, which would take us to what would be our home for the next week.

Hello Destin...we have arrived!

The Beach

The next day we hit the beach. I worried about the oil prior to our trip, but there was no oil in sight (I am still keeping those truly affected my the oil in my prayers). It was a bit overcast and the water was more green than usual, but that didn't matter...we were at the beach!

Here are some beach highlights from the first day:

The waves were great!

It was neat to see a freighter off in the distance...see it?

We had a lot of moments to just stop and admire the beach:

Here's a view of the beach from our condo's beach entrance.

Here's a shot from one of the public entrances...breathtaking!

We had dinner at a restaurant that was on the beach and after dinner we walked down to the beach to enjoy the beauty:

One of our most beautiful journeys and traveling to Pensacola Beach along the National Seashore. We traveled on a two-lane highway and just admired the beauty.

Blog Friends

The main reason we were traveling along the National Seashore was to meet one of my blog friends for lunch in Pensacola Beach. Kelli (doesn't she have a GREAT name) and I have been blog buddies for a while and it was wonderful to be able to finally meet her. She drove TWO hours to meet us AND brought me homemade chocolate chip cookies in the cutest yellow bag that she decorated with felt chocolate chip cookies. It was wonderful to just be able to chat and see her adorable little boys in person. I just love her!

I also got to meet my buddy Joanna. I can't even tell you how long we've been blog friends...seems like forever. She is the brains behind my blog design! She traveled over from Panama City Beach with her husband and two lovely little girls. They spent almost the entire day with us...swimming, eating dinner, chatting, and playing Scrabble.

Jamison, Kayla and Kelsie at the pool. They became fast friends.

Mommy won...I should have known.

The kids all had a great time.

I will definitely hook up with these ladies the next time we're in Florida! I miss them already.


We had some great food while we were in Destin. Here's a recap:

We discovered Jack's the last time we were here and this time we ate here a few times. Rondell loves their wings and their Mango Tango sauce (this year he bought a bottle of it to bring home) and I love their friend shrimp. Good stuff.

Funny story at Jack's...My mom and Rondell were ordering the food to go (Jack's is wonderfully located just around the corner from the condo) and I asked them to order me cheese sticks. A bit later Rondell told me they didn't have any...I was a little sad. As the waitress was walking by I said "I am so sad you don't have cheese sticks." She said "I don't think we've ever had those." I said "Really, I got them the last time I was here and they're on your menu." She looks and says "Oooh, cheese sticks...I thought ya'll were sayin cheese steaks." We laughed. I guess we have accents!

The Back Porch is a popular restaurant in Destin. It belongs to a family of restaurants (last time we ate at Pomano Joe's). I've heard great things about The Back Porch so we (I) decided that we should go there for dinner one evening. The food actually ended up being just OK to me, but everyone else enjoyed their food. I was so proud of Jamison because she actually tried crab claws (which were extremely small...I should have taken a picture) and crab cake (she didn't like the crab cake).

Another funny thing is that when I picked up Jamison from school the day we left we ran into her guidance counselor (I love her!) and we told her where we were going. She told us that her brother lives in Destin and he used to own the group of restaurants that included The Back Porch! He now owns The Crab Trap, which is another popular place in Destin not too far from where we stay. Next time we'll have to connect with her sooner and maybe get the "family" discount :)

Mommy really enjoyed her grouper and Rondell enjoyed some good chicken (he's not the biggest seafood fan).

Here's the view from our table...NICE!

Rondell was on a quest to find some good BBQ while we were there. He tried one place called Hog's Breath. He said it was pretty good but will try another place next time. He's on a mission!

My favorite meal was our Seafood Night in the condo...yum, yum! Well, seafood for me and Mommy...this is the night Ron had BBQ. Above is my mom getting the lobster tail ready.

We had lobster tail and pull & eat shrimp with pepper/butter/garlic.

My, that was a good meal.

Family Moments

We had some great family moments during our trip:

Lots of sleeping...the sun and sand wore us out!

What's a family trip without an injury. Caleb hit his head on the table while running...huge knot (the picture doesn't do it justice)!

Gramma Lee decided on the trip that Caleb needed a, she bought him a new DS. He was instantly in love. It actually made the trip back a lot easier because he was entertained and not begging the entire time to play Jamison's DS.

Mommy and Rondell in the same shirt. They bought these shirts the last time we were here. Have I mentioned that they are the same person. You know how people say girls marry their father...I married my mother. They.are.the.same.person.

Sibling love.

I just love this little girl.

We're adorable...I know.

Family shots on the beach.

The Pool

One of our favorite places to be was the pool. We went everyday and the weather was perfect for it almost everyday.

Gramma Lee hanging out with the kids in the pool.

This kid took to the water super fast. By the end of the week this is what he looked like:

Jamison got much more comfortable in the water while we were there. I was so proud of her.

His expression shows the fun we had!

The end!

Here's the last shot from the balcony on the morning we left.

Until next time Destin...


Brittany said...

Whew, girl! That looks like an amazing vacation! :) We got out of Ohio, last week, too! It's nice to change the surroundings a bit, and RELAX, isn't it?! :) All of that food looked AMAZING! Shrimp... nom.nom.nom. :) We also met some bloggy friends, on our journey! Isn't that SO much fun... btw- we live 10 minutes from each other...we should do lunch. ha ha. ;)

Stacey Thomas said...

Kelli it looks like you had a WONDERFUL trip! I am so glad. It's always so nice to get away and enjoy for a bit.
Thanks for sharing your photos, they're fantastic.


Joanna said...

I am so glad y'all had a fabulous trip. It was SOOOO great hanging out with y'all. As you know we had the best time and can't wait to do it again!! We are already planning our trip to Indiana so that we can meet up with y'all half way. : )

We have a Back Porch {same owners} here too and never ate there but I think we will now...Oh...Hogs Breath, we saw that last year on our drive over, I took a picture because I thought it was funny and remindnd me of Harry Potter!!

I hate that Caleb got a bump on his head, but on the happy note the kids were having a blast! ; ) How is it? Has it gone down or is still bruised?

Great family pics on the beach!!

Carrie said...

oh, Kelli, that looked like so much fun! I was sad for you on the last's hard to leave! ;) I love all the pictures, especially the family ones, so adorable! You had such YUMMY food {I love eating out on vacation!} and got to meet some fun friends, I can't think of a better time! makes me so excited to go on vacation soon :) thanks for sharing all the fun!

He & Me + 3 said...

What an awesome trip. Loved seeing so many pictures of you. How cool that you got to meet two blogging friends. I love meeting blogging friends in person. Feels like you already know them. :)
The beach looked wonderful, the weather looked perfect and the pool...divine.
Had to laugh at the cheese steak story. Funny.
So glad it was the best vacation ever. Now I need one of those.
Loved the family picture and and Rondell are adorable.
Ouch on the bumped head.

Kelli @ RTSM said...

I'm so glad you had an awesome vacation! And I'm so glad we got to meet up too:) All your pictures are making me want to load up the kiddos and head to the beach right now! I wish I would have know Rondell was looking for good BBQ...there is a local place here that just opened up a chain in Destin. It's called The Shed and they seriously have the best bbq ever!

Jen said...

That looks like a great vacation. I am so waiting to go on ours! Thanks so much for posting!

Liz @ Sugarplum Creations said...

Oh my goodness, Kelli, what fun!!! I love that you got to relax, spend time at the beach, eat yummy food AND meet up with blog friends. The perfect vacation, I'd say! And yes, you guys are ADORABLE! :)

Vivienne said...

I know it was a pain for you to upload all of these photos, but we readers appreciate every little bit of effort. Fabulous Vacation! What a wonderful trip!
(Poor Caleb's giant goose egg on his forehead... :( Is he OK now?)

Becca said...

What a wonderful trip!! I know how excited you were to go! And how cool that you got to meet up with Bloggy buddies! I hope to meet a few this summer!


Kim3278 said...

Wow! I can only pray for the sucessful vacation in October as you have had here. I love all the pictures. Im glad you got someone else to take some too as I find that is my BIGGEST problem. I have tons of pics of my kids and hubs and hubs and kids but very little of all of us or me with hubs or me with the kids. Makes me a little sad :( Im so excited to see your pics though. cooker should come on Tuesday nights to the new ministry at church. The cooking ministry. We made so much food yesterday and Tatum came with. Let me know if you are interested and I will forward on some info. If not...come anyway and maybe we can hang afterwards.


Lauren said...

Looks like yall had a great trip! I love Jamison's bathing cute!

Lyndsey said...

Looks like so much fun! Glad you had a stress free enjoyable time with no oil! Great pictures!

Lori said...

So glad that you enjoyed your vacation. I enjoyed looking at all your pictures. They make me anxious for my summer vacation!

So neat that you got to meet up with your blogger buddies!

Mike and Katie said...

Sigh. That looks so relaxing and beautiful! I'm laugh about Rondell and your mom.

Emily said...

I'm sooooooooooo jealous now and totally jonesing for a beach trip!!! We usually go to FL (we stay in Santa Rosa...a little east of Destin, between Destin and PCB) but couldn't swing it this year.
So glad y'all had a great time and got to meet bloggy buddies...what a great bonus!
Oh, and tell Rondell, next time y'all drive down there and are driving through Birmingham, stop at Jim and Nick's out there!

carissa @ lowercase letters said...

i love all of the fun pics!!! and yes, you are all ever so adorable! its so neat that you were able to meet kelli! so glad your family had a wonderful time!

Kelly said...

Looks like a great family vacation - it doesn't get any better in my book! I always love seeing grandparents on family vacations. We almost always have a grandma or two with us and many people tell us we're crazy to bring our moms along but I just love that together time so much. Glad you had a great time :)

Ruby Red Slippers said...

I loved this post-and I liked all the pictures!
I have not been to Destin, but my husband grew up going there every year...
Neat that you met up with a blog friend, I am excited, tomorrow, I have a blog friend coming for bruch!!! I am very excited!

Natalie Catherine said...

wow what a fun vacationnnn!!! i am wishing i could be on the beach. and that seafood..yummmmmm. :)

Jenn@the loves of jenn said...

Looks perfect! Glad you had a good time!

Angie S said...

I am so glad you had an amazing time. looks so fun!

And that food looks so yummy! I love hearing about food places that are nice and yummy.

I'm so jealous that you got to meet some blog awesome! Those are memories you will never forget.

you are making me want to go to the beach :)

Miller Racing Family said...

Girl this does look like you had a fabulous time. I am so glad that the oil did not mess up your plans. I thought it was so neat that you got to meet some of your blogging buddies.
Love all of the photos!

jen said...

That picture of Caleb with the DS is hilarious! Aren't kids funny with their games. Just like moms with their blogs!
Glad you had a great trip.

And it would have been worth it for me just for the food!

Diana said...

Great vacation! Love all the pics.

Amy said...

Looks like you guys had so much fun! How great to meet up with blog buddies! Thanks for sharing all the photos too, feel like I was there with ya!

{Bobbi} said...

This post is AMAZING! Your trip looked like so much fun. I am so happy for you guys. You got to meet blog friends. Wow! Thanks for sharing.