Posted by: shariglass | March 24, 2010

A Saturday on the Gulf

Or rather a Saturday trying to get to the gulf….

Saturday we finally experienced Naples’ beaches during high season.  It was the first nice weekend for quite a long time.  Sunny with highs in the upper 70’s.  Since we’d spent a lot of time the last month or so at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, we decided to head to the beach.  And, since we’d spent Friday studying castles in school, we decided to go to a “sandy” beach so the kids could build ….yep, you guessed it, a sand castle.  (We distinguish between beaches by Sandy beaches (ones that have nice, fine sand) versus Shelly beaches (ones that have lots of shells – whole ones and pieces and parts – but not much fine sand.)

True to form, our Saturday morning got away from us, and it was 1pm by the time we were in the van and ready to go.  The closest beach is at the end of our road (definition of “end of our road”: The main road that we live 2 side roads off of, due west about 18 – 20 miles which equals around 35 – 40 min drive).  Much to our dismay, and I must admit, my anticipation, we weren’t the only ones taking advantage of the lovely weather and the sign read “full”.  So we headed South.  Next beach the parking lot was full.  So we headed further South, down into the heart of Naples. There’s a nice park right on the beach that has a lot of permit only parking.  (That’s for those of us who pay almost $500 to register our vehicles, the county’s so kind to throw in a beach parking permit – yes, there’s sarcasm dripping.)  As we turned into the park, we ran smack into a long line of cars looking also hunting for parking spots.  Traffic was one way, so we resigned ourselves to waiting until we made it to the exit.  When all of a sudden, two people get into the car in a space almost in front of us, getting ready to leave.  Brian had actually pulled up behind them by the time I pointed it out.  Miraculously there wasn’t anyone right behind us, so he backed up, and we had the perfect spot, facing the grass and the beach beyond!

The beach during the season, and I’m guessing spring break as well, is a sight to behold.  People and beach umbrella’s everywhere, with the strong scent of sunscreen filling the air.  We found a spot, set up our newly acquired beach umbrella for those of us who can’t handle the sun (Brian and Sarah) with offers of help from the teens next door to “dig us a whole” and the dude on the other side with advice on how to best position it and what tool to bring to make sure it didn’t fall over (there was a rather stiff breeze).

And finally we were able to enjoy 3 hours at the beach.  Didn’t get too far in the sand castle building, but we did see several jelly fish wash ashore, kids ran around in their swim suits, and we got to watch the teens bury two of the friends standing upright in a deep whole they had dug.  (that kept Micah and Hannah’s attention a good amount of the time).  Micah did experiment with what happens to castle wall when you dig a ditch underneath of them.  We even managed to keep Sarah from eating sand.  By the end, everyone directly around us had left, and it was quite peaceful.  All in all, we had one of those “rare” 😉 wonderful Florida afternoons, when you’re actually sort of glad you’re here.

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