Sunday, November 25, 2007


Saturday, November 17, 2007 to
Saturday, November 24, 2007

In Tupelo, school is out the whole week for Thanksgiving, which is much different from where Rob grew up in Pennsylvania. Having the whole week off gave us 9 continuous days of vacation, which is a good thing. We needed it!

We spent most of the week with Carley's parents in Santa Rosa Beach, near the Florida Panhandle resort town of Destin.

Carley and Rowan were in good spirits for the roadtrip - despite being in the car for about 7 hours each way. The photo above was taken in the parking lot of Felix's Fish Camp restaurant, just outside of Mobile, Alabama, about 2/3 of the way from home.

Felix's sits on the edge of the Mobile Bay, with huge windows offering views of the USS Alabama Memorial Park and the downtown skyline. It may not be California or Colorado, but this was probably the most interesting view we saw along the 7 hour trip - much better than the endless stretches of flat nothing-land. Thankfully, the menu was even better than the view. We'll definitely be back.

To deal with the long car-ride, Rowan demanded a steady stream of toys and food. In the photo above he tested out a pickle; shortly after the photo was taken, however, the pickle was thrown to the floor. Overall, though, we have to say the trip went pretty smoothly. :-)

Possibly the best thing about our vacation is that it gave us a chance to take lots of photos of Rowan, which was desparately needed. He's been growing so fast recently! He just started walking in mid-November, at 14 months, and the changes are coming more quickly than ever!

Rowan never seemed to get bored with exploring the long as there were toys around. By no coincidence, the condo was the same one we stayed in for the week of July 4th and for the week of Spring Break.

Another great thing about our vacation was getting to see Carley's brother, Barrett, who came up to meet us at the condo on Thanksgiving. These days Barrett is living in Gainesville, FL, working for a start-up company that is developing a video game for Ignition Entertainment (a huge multinational video game corporation).

Gainesville was about 4-1/2 hours southeast from our condo, but we were feeling adventurous, so we left Rowan with Carley's parents for a night and took a roadtrip to see Barrett's new bachelor pad. (Not for long! The wedding is in April.) Gainesville is a pretty nice, medium-sized, progressive-minded city. It is also home to the University of Florida, best known for it's NCAA football and men's basketball teams, both of which won their respective national championships in 2007.

Our roadtrip to Gainesville also included a stop at the Bear Creek Music Festival in Live Oak, FL. This was conveniently located about halfway between Gainesville and our condo in Santa Rosa Beach. At the festival we saw a few of our favorite bands and enjoyed a beautiful, laid-back atmosphere that reminded us of being back in northern California. Click here for a full review and lots of photos of the festival.

Back at the beach, it was a little chilly for swimming, but nice enough for playing in the sand and getting our feet wet.

Nevertheless, Rowan was determined to get in the water any chance he got!

He was absolutely fascinated by the waves, shrieking and giggling with joy each time one washed up over his feet.

Needless to say, he protested loudly and forcefully when we finally decided it was time to go back up to the condo and warm up.

Another eye-opening experience for Rowan was the hike we took at nearby Grayton Beach State Park. We are both outdoor enthusiasts, and we're hoping that Rowan will be too.

Rowan wasn't able to do much actual hiking, as you can imagine, so we had to carry him for most of the hike. (It's time for us to get a baby-carrier-backpack!) In the photo above, Rob teaches Rowan how to make a "raspberry" (also known as a "Bronx cheer").

Rowan got to check out all kinds of new things, like the spongy deer moss that was all over the ground on parts of our hike.

Also of interest was the Spanish moss that hangs from trees all over the state of Florida.

Even the sand was completely fascinating!

As usual, however, Rowan's favorite piece of nature was the ubiquitous pine needle, which is nothing new to him, since our backyard has hundreds of thousands of these.

Fortunately he seemed to instinctively know to stay out of the spiky-leafed saw palmettos.

On Thanksgiving Day we got dressed up casual and went out for a big holiday lunch at the absolutely incredible Cafe Thirty-A. This is by far our favorite restaurant in the area, and it's worth going out of the way for. Fortunately, it was only a 15-minute drive for us. We liked it so much that we ate there twice in less than a week. Unfortunately we weren't able to post a good photo of the family all together because Carley's Dad insists on not having his photo appear on the Internet.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Back to Main Page