Memorial Day weekend marked our first wedding anniversary and a great chance for us to sneak away for some much needed time to relax and reconnect.
We used the long weekend to fly down to the Gulf Coast and spend the weekend at my family’s beach cottage on Manasota Key. The cottage is my happy place. The weeks leading up to our trip had been extraordinarily rough, we’d been busy and overworked and then I landed myself in the hospital with a preterm labor scare. We weren’t entirely sure we’d get to take our long-awaited anniversary trip, but the clouds parted and my contractions eased and with approval from my OB, we hopped a plane Friday after work and headed south. Travel tip: Highly recommend Allegiant Air for coastal getaways, our non-stop flights were $90 p/p each way for a holiday weekend. The customer service is spotty and it’s certainly no-frills, you pay for seats, carry-ons, and even water, but the prices (as low as $47 one way) can’t be beat!
Friday night we landed, picked up our rental car and grabbed a late dinner before heading to the cottage, where we stayed up late watching movies. With Aaron’s early schedule and my pregnancy exhaustion, it’s rare these days for us to see 10:30 so staying up til 1:30am, felt truly decadent. Saturday we slept in, grabbed an easy breakfast and then hit the beach. Aaron was a trooper and hauled all our gear (2 umbrellas, 2 Ostrich Beach Chairs , a cooler, etc) the 300ish steps from our cottage to the beach and then set us up for relaxation. It was glorious! We spent hours out floating and playing in the ocean, and it was the best I’d felt in months. If any friends out there are suffering through a summer pregnancy, I highly recommend you seek a body of water ASAP! We spent the afternoon lounging and floating and then walked a few steps over to a little bar across the street called the White Elephant for a late lunch complete with bay views and live music. After that, I took a nap and Aaron took a bike ride around the key, then we ventured out for dinner and a sunset view at Stump Pass Grille, followed by ice cream at A Better Scoop Ice Cream (rated #5 Ice Cream shop in the US on trip advisor).
Sunday was our actual anniversary. The day looked a lot like our day Saturday. We again slept in, after all our days of sleeping in are likely to come to a very abrupt end when Baby A arrives, and then after another light breakfast and another 30 minutes for sunscreen to absorb before hitting the beach (essential with my complexion, if I wait til I’m out in the sun to apply, I’ll fry before it can sink it), we spent another lovely day in the sand and surf. After another late lunch at the White Elephant, we whiled away the early evening then got cleaned up for our anniversary plans. We headed out to the beach on the other end of the key to watch the sunset together and privately renew our wedding vows. Cheesey, sure, but also really romantic. It was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on what this first year of marriage had brought and the meaning of those vows as we transition from partners to parents. We enjoyed it so much, we’ve decided to make it a tradition, so that every year on our anniversary we will take the time to recite our vows to each other (and for anyone rolling his eyes and thinking I must be twisting Aaron’s arm into this, please note: he’s probably even more invested in it than I am). We snapped a few pictures on the beach and then headed out for dinner. Our original restaurant choice disappointed us by closing up early, so we regrouped and decided to venture up to Venice, FL for a late dinner at one of my family’s favorites, Made in Italy where we enjoyed caprese salad and a hand-tossed, brick oven pizza. Then we strolled down Venice Avenue looking in the shop windows and stopping for ice cream.
We had to head back home on Monday, but not before a quiet morning together and a yummy brunch at John Ski’s House of Breakfast in Punta Gorda before hopping our flight back home. My family picked us up at the airport and we headed home to bite into the saved top tier of our Wedding cake. I have to say after a year in the freezer I was skeptical, but that Vanilla Cardamom Spice Cake by Icing on the Cake, was just as delicious as I remembered. It was a sweet way to cap off a wonderful weekend.
It was so nice to have the opportunity to get away and focus on each other for the weekend. We’ve been wrapped up in prepping for a baby and a host of professional, social, and community obligations, so it was extra important to take this time together before the baby comes!