Markel Family Summer Vacation–Day Five

Last Saturday we sadly said goodbye to Orlando at 4:30 a.m., and began the long drive home (actually, the long drive to Ryan’s parents’ house, because driving all the way home from Orlando in one day would have been a disaster!). We did have a few stops planned along the way, though. We started by driving up the Space Coast. In some ways, it was like time had frozen there since the 1960s. We passed by so many cute motels that were just like I had imagined from the days of the space race. And they all had great vintage road signs…but it was too dark to get good pictures of them!

Anyway, the sun did come up eventually…just in time for us to drive through Daytona Beach, which was where we supposed to say in the first place, and see the sun rise over the ocean:

We drove a little farther up the coast, and stopped to stretch our legs at St. Augustine Beach. We weren’t there for long, but we got to take a nice walk, collect seashells, and dip our toes in the water. It was so exciting to see the Atlantic Ocean again!

We then drove into St. Augustine (the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States), right over the Bridge of Lions:

And stopped to take a walk around Castillo de San Marcos, which is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States.

We then turned toward Jacksonville, where we stopped at the Wawa again…I have to admit, for a gas station, they make great sandwiches!

After driving through a different part of the state than on our way in, and looking for both bears and alligators (and not seeing either), we said goodbye to Florida:

And made the interminable drive back across Georgia. Even I was happy to finally see Tennessee, even if it did mean going back through the Smoky Mountains:

And so our second Markel Family summer vacation came to an end. I’ll be taking a closer look at the fun places we visited in the coming days, though, so the vacation fun isn’t over yet!

Isle of Palms

I think we’d all agree that the highlight of our vacation was the morning we spent at the beach. After much research, I chose the Isle of Palms as our beach destination, because it looked like it had a good shoreline for playing in the sand, and because there is a county park with bathrooms and showers right there. It was a great choice!


I can’t even describe how I felt finally looking out across the ocean. It was so beautiful, and just what you’d expect, right down to the beachfront homes and, of course, the palm trees!

The children loved everything about their beach day…playing in the sand, looking for seashells (Bunny’s favorite activity), and getting in the water. Moose loved trying to race the waves back to the shore!


I’m not sure that anyone loved it more than Chickadee, who sat at the edge of the water, and dissolved into giggles every time a wave crashed into her!


I had a list of things I had to do while we were at the beach, and I accomplished them all!

  • Write our name in the sand.
  • Look for seashells.
  • Help the children build a sand castle.
  • Do a cartwheel on the beach. (Don’t laugh…despite my age and outward appearance, I can still turn a damn fine cartwheel!)
  • Wave dive.
  • Taste, smell, see, hear, and touch the ocean!


We walked around Ocean Blvd. for a bit while we were trying to dry off…we even got to see surfboards!

I still can’t believe I’ve finally been to the ocean…and now I can’t wait to go back!

Chickadee Thursday

Today, Chickadee got to visit Fort Sumter…and had her first glimpse of the ocean and her first boat ride, to boot!

She also got to eat dinner at Fleet Landing, where she enjoyed some delicious flounder, and saw a storm roll in, as well as some big boats and dolphins in the water!