A Winter Beach Vacation

beautiful sunset on the  beachThis is a classic column just as appropriate this year as the year I wrote it! Recently filed it in The Country Register, too. Come along with me!

When I put the topic for this column on a list of topics weeks ago, I expected to be nursing a sunburn as I wrote it. My husband and I were planning a midwinter beach vacation then.

Priorities being what they are, we didn’t make it. Instead, I keep bumping into other people I know who’ve just gotten back from Mexico or Hawaii. One tan, relaxed-looking friend just returned from Tahiti!

Instead of writing about my beach bummin’ days, I’m bummin’ about not going to the beach. Instead of giving you an account of lazy afternoons spent stretched out on the sand, I’m stretching my imagination to take a seaside vacation to Mexico in my mind. Want to come along?

Are you packed yet? You don’t need much. Put in a couple of bathing suits so you don’t have to pull on a wet one the day after wearing it. Old, faded suits will do.

You need a pair of shorts and a T-shirt for each day we’re there. Add a sweater or sweatshirt for cool nights in salty breezes, a long skirt or sundress for one nice dinner out, a pair of flip-flops and a pair of nicer sandals for shopping excursions, and you’re ready. (Toss in some suntan lotion and block but forget about makeup…this is a vacation!)

At the airport waiting for our flight, you ask if I have my ticket. Of course! (I went back and got it after leaving it on the kitchen counter.) You looked pretty silly arriving in the snow in that straw hat, but I’ll wish I had it when the sun’s beating down on my head.

Comparing books in our carry-on bags as we wait to board, we realize we both brought Beach Music, so I give my copy to an anxious-looking woman next to me on the plane. One decent book and one mindless romance each is all we need—then we’ll swap!

Finally we arrive! As we walk down the steps from the plane onto the tarmac I look at you and we laugh. It’s like we just walked into a steam room. A breeze stirs the palm trees lining the runway and you grab your hat just in time.

After a bumpy bus ride we check into our hotel (sure, I’ll take the bed by the window), change into our suits, and head for the beach. The chairs are all taken, so we stretch out a blanket on the sand and collapse. Ahhh…this is what it’s all about.

You go for a dip in the ocean. I don’t mean to laugh at your hopping across the hot sand—but it’s funny! Soon you’re back and the smell of salt water on suntan lotion fills the air. (Hey, you’re getting wet sand on the blanket!) Tomorrow I’ll swim, too, but today…I’m vacating.

As the sun starts to go down we pull on our T-shirts and get a couple of overly sweet drinks. We claim a couple of abandoned beach chairs and sit watching the orange sunset appear behind the rock formations out in the water. Silently we absorb the soothing sounds of the surf punctuated by the calls of the gulls as they head home for the night.

I feel better. How about you?



  1. Elizabeth Van Liere says:

    Brings back a lot of memories, but I never got much chance to lie on the beach in Mexico. To my husband vacation meant fishing. We fished every day and when I gazed at the mauve mountains along the shore my husband would say, “Fish!” Only when the dolphijns raced our boat did I get a reprieve. Do I want to go back to those days? I think I’ll just sit here and bring out my memories. You helped me bring them back to life today, Nancy. Thanks for another great article.

  2. Well, actually, I’m still tossing things in a bag. When do we leave?
    Thanks for the “moment of vacation,” Nancy. It’s been a hectic week and it’s not over yet, so I needed the break.

    • Me, too! I broke my wrist skiing last weekend and had surgery on Tues. so I’m thinking you may have to carry my bag, but I’m game if you are :). Glad to have my fingers back. Of course it was my right, writing hand!!

  3. Jan Keller says:

    Enjoyed reading this again! 🙂
    Hugs to you!

  4. alice scott-ferguson says:

    I was mentally packing as I read!!

  5. Since the wreck in 2006 I have not vacationed, I did enjoy reading about this!

  6. I’m in your blog as we speak. Usually by now in February we have taken our RV to Arizona and are living that life./ This year many things got in the way – health concerns then RV problems. It is snowing lightly in Colorado Springs as I’m writing this. But I have learned far more from this bump in the road than getting into the therapy pool at Mesa Regal IF the morning is at least 44 degrees. I am appreciating being here with my husband feeling okay, and really living life to the fullest, no matter if it is not where we thought we would be February 10th. We’ll get there in good time, our time.

    • Amen, Helen. It’s amazing how looking for the blessings in a situation can give us a positive perspective, isn’t it? Thanks for taking time to comment. Stay warm!

  7. Beth Lueders says:

    Ahhhhh….Nancy, thanks for the mini vacation. Reminds me of all my years living in Southern California. I remember many a February weekend when we’d be hanging at our condo pool or taking a drive to the beach. Thanks for the warm winter break. I think sunshine is good for healing broken bones, too.

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