Recently, my fiancé surprised me with a trip to Siesta Key. Even though we live in Texas, a trip to sunshine-filled southern Florida sounded like the perfect break during the stressful holiday season.
I’d never been to Siesta Key, or any of the Keys actually, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. We hopped on a direct flight from Houston and landed two hours later in Sarasota. The sun was bright and the weather was perfect. We were picked up at the airport by my partner’s best friend who lives and owns a resort business in Siesta Key. He had arranged a condo at the Sarasota Swim and Racquet Club, which was beautifully appointed and came complete with all of the kitschy “life’s a beach” “my other shoe is a flip-flop” and “life’s better at the beach” signs that one could ever want.
The resort’s private beach was just out the backdoor, with sand so white and fine you could almost believe that it was powdered sugar. The sun was warm but not scalding or abrasive, the waves were lazy and soothing and the sandbar stretched out so far that kids could safely play without fear of getting in over their heads.
At night, we took the free transportation to the downtown for fresh seafood and cold drinks. We met up with old friends from high school, our kids colored and whined and asked to get doughnuts or ice cream and whatever else kids beg for when on holiday. Every moment was lingered over, comfortable, slow, languorous. We were all truly relaxing, something that sometimes gets overlooked on vacation.
The next day, more of the same. Waking up leisurely, having breakfast delivered, taking our time gathering up the beach towels, drinks, snacks. Never in a hurry, never in a rush, and then meandering out to the beach where our reserved umbrellas and loungers waited patiently for us. An hour or so later, our friends and their kids arrived, bringing more toys, more snacks, more coolers full of drinks. The weather was perfect every day. Just wisps of clouds, bright sunshine beaming down as we tossed a frisbee, played in the waves, raced children in the sand or simply basked in the warmth.
Every night of our trip was another opportunity to catch up with our friends, make new memories. Siesta Key is small, and has a quaintness about it. It recognizes itself for what it is: a resort town, a vacation destination. There are plenty of locals, but even they know that they will always be sharing their town with an influx of visitors, as annoying as visitors can be. The restaurants are fun and friendly, the cuisine mostly seafood or other crowd-pleasing dishes. It’s a tourist trap, but it still has a sweetness, a vintage kind of vacation vibe you don’t see that often anymore.
So, the days passed lazily. A lot of relaxing done by a group of people who needed a break and who really enjoyed each other’s company. Sun by day, drinks and conversation (and doughnuts) at night. When our long weekend came to an end, none of us were quite ready to leave. We hugged our friends a little tighter, maybe shed a tear or two and headed back to the airport and our regular busy, stressful lives. But, that’s what trips are for. An opportunity to reset, rejuvenate and remember why we are always rushing around working so hard.
Trips are also a great time for a five-year-old to talk you into buying doughnuts every day, because, hey – you’re on vacation.