I BORROWED IT
DAY 5 It was the last day of our first trip to 30A. And I just couldn’t help myself, I had to have some of that wonderful white stuff, the perfect Emerald Coast souvenir. My daughter and I quickly walked the 200 feet or so, from our dreamy vacation beach house, ‘A Hasty Retreat’, to the beach-access boardwalk and path.
The beach was our destination, via the beach-access path, a surefire way to get the best sand. In my head (duh, that’s where everything happens), I believed that the closer you get to the gulf’s water, the cleaner or purer the sand would be. Silly thinking? But without notice (suddenly!), the beach-access path was covered in water, coming to a complete halt. Well, maybe not complete, because you could continue, if you chose to wade through waist-high water, just to the left of the yellow arrow.
Rudely interrupted by the tail of Eastern Lake, our mission of sand-collecting had to happen here (yellow arrow) instead of at the beach, which was a good (good. ha.) 70 feet away. Surely dune sand wasn’t any lesser than sand from the beach? Although I would never walk on the dunes, or remove sand from them, the very wide path of gorgeous white sand was ample and removed any desire to tamper with a dune.
FIVE DAYS EARLIER
DAY 1 Earlier in the week, we (oh, excuse me. my daughter, 12, and I) each paddled a SUP from the dock of A Hasty Retreat, our incredible lakefront beach house, to the Gulf beach. What? Can a house on a lake also be considered a beach house? Why not. By foot, the beach is just 200 steps away. At least that’s what the Oversee website says.
How does one get to the Gulf of Mexico from a lake? By paddling, naturally. After a heavy rain, the extra freshwater in a coastal dune lake, called overfall (which aids in natural flood control), finds an exit and eventually runs off into the salt waters of the Gulf.
Standing on a SUP creates a bit more wind resistance than sitting down in a kayak, but paddling to the beach, in the breeze, without a current, wasn’t bad at all. My 12-year-old did great; the big SUPs are very stable. Plus, the good folks at VACAYZEN even delivered them before our arrival.
The February water of the Gulf was still enjoyable. The paddle from A Hasty Retreat to the beach was a real bonus, but I don’t know why. It wasn’t a particularly challenging endeavor. Maybe it was my tweenish daughter, doing something outdoors, and doing it better than dad.
Just the thought that a freshwater lake and a saltwater gulf can co-exist so close to each other, well, I don’t know, the juxtaposition seems so cool. Like cats and dogs, living together. Or skiers and snowboarders sharing the same shuttle bus.
Paddling with my daughter, from our vacation home base, well, that little trip across the tiny lake to the gulf beach was the highlight of our trip. There’s something special that happens when your vacation rental literally becomes the stepping-off point (we stepped off the property’s dock onto our sturdy boards) to a simple, yet memorable 30A afternoon. The perfect location of our Oversee house made that highlight happen. Shameless plug: Oversee manages four homes on Eastern Lake alone!
DAY FIVE CONTINUED
DAY 5 Anywho, where were we? Oh yeah: At the end of the boardwalk, the path didn’t continue, or ‘couldn’t’ continue is more apt. Blocking our forward momentum was 3-4 feet of water! So we had to get some souvenir sand right here, and not on the beach (we were sorta in a hurry). Is white dune sand as good as white beach sand? Whatever, just stay off the dunes!
Dunes. Signs everywhere warn of walking on them, but all I had to do was reach down with an empty paper coffee cup, and it was that easy, I didn’t even touch the dunes, just the sand on the path. Later, at home, I transferred the tiny quartz treasures into a tiny jar.
MY DAUGHTER AND I HEART THIS SAND.
Hmmm. I wasn’t happy about the many bits of dried organic matter mixed within the sand. Visually, this distracts from the single-minded notion that beach sand should be as clean and pure as possible. I was contemplating returning this compromised sand and replacing it with “better” beach sand on my next trip to 30A. But nah. We’ve grown to love what’s inside this little jar just as much as A Hasty Retreat. I won’t be replacing it after all.