The boy's dad is a frequent, frequent, frequent flier and was kind enough to buy our flights with miles. We were even able to fly first class down! It was my first time flying first class, and we took full advantage of the free beverage service.
After arriving in Tampa late Wednesday night, we went to bed and woke up early so we could get some beach time before heading up to Gainesville to visit the boy's brother at the University of Florida.
We stayed with the boy's brother in a house with 5 other guys from his frat. It wasn't technically a frat house, but it basically was. Luckily they had some "new" couches that were in acceptable sleeping condition. And we were only there one night, so we didn't have to shower there (thank god). It was the boy's brother's 21st birthday AND the 4th of July, so there was quite a bit going on. We tried to keep up, but one thing is for sure: we're not in college anymore.
On our way back to Clearwater the next day, we got stuck in some major traffic and it took us what felt like forever to get home. We wanted to hit the beach, but it started storming like crazy shortly after we walked through the door. If there's one thing I learned about Florida last weekend, it's that the weather there is predictably unpredictable. It can be perfectly gorgeous and five minutes later, raining so hard you can't see out your windshield. Or it can be pouring rain as you walk out of a restaurant but the apartment where you're staying a mile away is completely dry. And then there's the heat lightning, which is kind of a fake out because you're so used to the stormy weather that at night you can hardly tell whether it's heat lightning or lightning from an actual storm that's headed your way. Here's my advice for Florida in the summer: bring a raincoat.
I was pretty happy it rained Friday because I wasn't in much condition to do anything but sleep, which is how we spent our rainy afternoon. Friday night we went out to eat at Crabby Bill's in Indian Rocks Beach. The atmosphere was fun and I enjoyed my fried crab cakes, but the service was a little slow and not everyone was happy with their food. It seems like a great place to go with kids, but our overall feeling towards it was "meh". This time at least. The boy's family has been going there for a while, so it's definitely worth checking out. Maybe it was just an off night.
Saturday and Sunday we spent some quality time on the beach, followed by some quality time at the pool. Saturday night we ate at an Italian place called Villa Gallace per the birthday boy's request, and it was delicious. Naturally I ate way too much lasagna, but still made room for some yummy red velvet cake from Frida's Cafe & Bakery.
Sunday night we ate at a small dive place called Dock Side Dave's in Madeira Beach. They have great seafood, especially grouper, which is a speciality in Tampa. The boy's parents swear by their grouper sandwiches, which are humongous and are served a number of different ways. I had the grouper tacos and they were awesome, too.
After dinner, the boy and I hit up a few local bars and then called it a night. The next morning we woke up and made our journey back to DC.
It was the first time I've been on a true vacation in a while, so it was really nice to take advantage of the opportunity to spend some time with the boy and relax on the beach. I'm really looking forward to the next beach trip we have planned--this time to North Carolina!
How did you spend your holiday weekend?