My wife and I haven't had a vacation for nearly four years, partly due to Covid-19, but also partly due to having sold our house on a spur-of-the-moment decision after we received an unsolicited cash offer we simply couldn't refuse.
When this happened, because of the tight housing market in our area we weren't able to implement our backup plan due to the fact we didn't have a backup plan. It was at the height of the housing frenzy and lumber prices were skyrocketing daily.
Houses that were currently on the market were getting offers well above their listed prices, and people were getting into bidding wars against other potential buyers - a luxurious time to be a seller. When we started our hunt for a new home, nothing was available to match our needs.
We found houses that were close to the proximity where we wanted to live, but they were mostly surrounded by fallow farmland with outdated houses that showed significant wear and tear. So, after exhausting all these avenues, we decided to build.
We decided it would be best to delay our vacation plans so we could concentrate on building our new home, as well as initiate packing for our eventual move. From start to finish, it took a total of eight months to go from a vacant lot to a fully complete, semi-custom livable home, which we moved into on New Year's Eve last year.
With the arrival of the New Year came the arduous process of unpacking and deciding where to store things that didn't already have a place picked out for them in our new house. We are still in that phase of the move as I write this.
We both have the best of intentions to get the move completely behind us but find ourselves lacking in energy or being distracted by the other necessary chores of home ownership - cleaning floors, windows, clothes, and dishes, and cutting grass. Consequently, there is still a lot more unpacking to do in our near future.
Then, in the first week of June, my daughter hinted at the possibility of a summer trip as a way to soothe our weary minds and bodies. The trip would also give us enough downtime to get recharged by chilling out on a beach somewhere.
This was an intriguing thought to me as I have been longing for some 'toes in the sand' time to slow down and enjoy life. When we asked where we could go and when, she mentioned the July 4th weekend and told us about a group of her friends who were going to Sanibel Island, Florida.
She said there had been a last-minute cancellation to one of their condos because someone had broken a hip and would need one of their friend's aid and assistance for the next six weeks, which rendered them unable to attend.
She jumped at the chance to buy the condo from her friend and the next thing we knew, we found ourselves packing again, only this time for a beachfront property overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. She was able to book us on a direct flight to Ft. Myers and we all prayed the flight wouldn't get canceled at the last minute. Surprisingly, we made it there without a hitch, so our worries were for naught.
My wife and I had never been to Sanibel Island, but once we arrived at our condo, it felt very similar to Marco Island, Destin, and Miami, Florida, sites I have had the pleasure of visiting before. Just a short drive from Sanibel, there is Captiva Island and Cape Coral, while a little further northeast is Ft. Myers and a little farther up the coast lies Venice, Florida. Marco Island is only 80 miles to the south.
Counting all the kids, our group was 32 strong, so having all these places close by guaranteed that no one would get bored. You could snorkel, jet ski, fish, paddleboard, go for a bike ride, play tennis, or hunt seashells to your heart's content and still not have to do the same thing twice in a week's time.
There were also plenty of small shops to find a souvenir or t-shirt, great casual restaurants to dine at your leisure, and many sightseeing tours you could indulge in, just for grins and giggles.
It turned out that the majority of my visit would be spent on the beach just outside our condo. I found the water warm, but cool in certain spots, and only chest deep until you got out about 100 yards or so from the shore. Oh, and the waves were very calm, except when a rainstorm would turn them into whitecaps. But, by then no one was in the water.
No one in our group was adventurous enough to go more than 50 feet from the shoreline. The water was a bit murky, leaving it difficult to tell what could be swimming near us. Most of us found seashells abundant, as were sand dollars and large starfish.
The common practice was to 'catch-and-release' those that were still alive. As a result, the large majority of what we found were tossed back into the water so they could continue what they were doing.
Each morning, noon, and night turned into another until we had exhausted ourselves by doing nothing. Before we knew it, Saturday arrived, signaling us it was time to pack up and leave. Truthfully, after a week of whirlwind activities, we needed a break, and going home was actually the ideal time to crash again.
Sanibel Island has a resort feel to it. Everything is green and lush, healthy-looking, and clean. Now that I'm home again, I would definitely go back for another visit. It is a very relaxing environment with plenty of activities to keep everyone happy - in other words, a great family beach destination.
Thanks for reading this!
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