Monday, August 20, 2012

Once Upon A Time...

     Once upon a time in a land far away...well, okay it was about 25 miles away from where I sit now...a very young couple was married. The year was 1947, she was 18 and he was 20, and they were very much in love and beginning a new adventure. The adventure would take them to several homes, jobs, joys and problems and bless them with 2 daughters, 6 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

     On their 50th wedding anniversary, the did what was unusual for most, but typical for them. They treated their family to a few days at a beach house in Vero Beach, Florida. It was surprise when the printed invitations arrived in the mail months ahead of the trip. It was a surprise when they presented my sister and I with a gift for their wedding anniversary and it was a wild, crazy trip. I'd love to tell you that it all went perfectly, but it didn't. The youngest, my niece was a year old and never stopped screaming. My sister was stressed about it and it showed. I was angry at her for being so stressed out and the weather wouldn't work with us at all. We had a family picture taken in rain and terrible wind that made us all look like ghosts in the white shorts and t-shirts my mom made us all wear. The kids were 15, 14, 13, 12, 9 and 1. You can imagine the chaos and craziness, and yet we all look back on that trip and smile now. It was fun even if it was crazy. It created memories, funny stories and while it wasn't as blissful as my mom planned, she loved having all her "chicks" together. She always said we would do it again on their 65th anniversary.

     As my loyal readers know, my mom died 2 years ago just days before their 63rd wedding anniversary. Many things have changed since she died, in truth, everything has changed. However, my dad still wanted to take the trip that they planned for all of us and this was the year we returned to Vero Beach. We opted to stay at the Vero Beach Hotel and Spa rather than the resort where we stayed 15 years ago. Our kids no longer were of an age to all sleep all over the place and we could have two, 2-bedroom suites and make it work. We were missing 3 of the grandchildren, who couldn't get away from work, but my niece blessed us with a new son-in-law in the family. This trip was very different than 15 years ago. The weather was perfect. I think we got a fairly good picture (I don't have my copy yet) and we had a great time being together at such an amazing hotel.

Dad's bedroom

     My husband and I were the first to arrive and from the minute we pulled up, we were treated like royalty. Check-in was easy and within the first 24 hours we were being greeted by name when we walked in and out of the hotel. My husband, daughter and my dad shared one of the suites. The staff knew why we were there and within the first hour the concierge came to room to greet us and brought my dad a bottle of wine, a cheese and fruit platter and a lovely card. I thought it was so thoughtful because an anniversary celebration without mom was truly bittersweet for him.

Living room, fold-out sofa for my daughter, wet-bar.

     We were impressed when we first saw the hotel and entering our suites we were thrilled. The gentleman who brought up the bags was more than helpful. He told us about area shops, the best restaurants and arranged for us to have an extra mini-frig in the room. 

Our bedroom

Large bath, walk in shower and soaker tub

Look at the robes!

The view from our balcony

     I had to take a picture of the morning coffee service for all the bloggers reading this. I loved the way they labeled the cream, milk etc. How cute is that? They also had complinmentary water with oranges in it in both the lobby and at the pool. In the afternoon they would put out freshly baked cookies and at 5, wine, rum punch and an appetizer.

     The private beach was perfect. It was the first vacation I've had in a long time that we spent hours sitting on the beach and by the pool. Waiters appeared frequently to take drink orders, the restaurant at the pool had great food and snacks and the sun was shining all week. Perfect! The guys spent some time golfing and we had some girl time sipping cold drinks and catching up with our feet in the sand.

     The White Orchid Spa is part of the Vero Beach Hotel. I don't normally allow myself such a luxury, but my sister insisted we were getting massages and she informed me of what time I was going. Bliss. I didn't take any pictures inside the spa, but it was beautiful and so peaceful. My sister and my youngest niece (the one who cried the entire trip 15 years ago) each had wonderful massages. I also came home with one of the candles they had burning in the spa. It smells better than any I've ever had and makes my house smell amazing even when it isn't burning. It is Soy Delicious, Island Mango. If you can find it somewhere, buy it!

The pool area.

The water side of the hotel.

The firepit.

Outdoor Dining at Cobalt.

     We had two meals at the hotel's main restaurant, Cobalt. We had one dinner and one breakfast and both were excellent. We had snacks and the Sunday BBQ at the pool restaurant, Heaton's Bar and Grill. Again, the food was delicious. We also ate at a few other delicious places while in Vero Beach and I'll share some food pictures in a later post.

We also celebrated my dad's birthday at dinner one night.


     We spent our days in the sun and our evenings, eating, visiting and watching old home movies. My dad was playing in the ocean on a boogie board the way he did when we were kids! It was fun, sun and family. The Vero Beach Hotel and Spa is my new favorite place. In fact I'm trying to figure out how to spend a couple of days there when we are in Orlando in December. It is truly hotel perfection...and I'm very picky.

     My dad made a toast to my mom and while it breaks my heart that she didn't get to be there with us, I have no doubt she was there in spirit. I think she would be proud of all of us for following through with her dream of this trip and of the way we have only tightened our family bonds without her. Cheers mom! You taught us well!


dee dee said...

What a beautiful place! I am so glad you had this time to revisit the trip. Your mom would have been honored with this second trip. Sending you hugs....
dee dee

Flo @ Butterfly Quilting said...

that is so sweet! And looks like an amazing place! Glad you had a wonderful celebration.

Barbara F. said...

I am glad you enjoyed this beautiful trip with family. (my parents were married in 1947 as well. I booked a Mass for them on their day.) xo

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Oh, how sweet and looks like you had a grand time.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

A very pretty place to vacation and relax. Thanks for sharing your trip and the meaning behind it all.

Sarah said...

Sue, what a sweet thought that your family followed through with your parents plans. Bitter sweet in some ways, but a special time for each of you. Thank you for sharing.

Sue said...

It looks and sounds so wonderful.. I'm going on-line now and see if I can book a vacation!

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

This looks like a wonderful vacation and what a sweet way to honor your dear mom and the anniversary of your parents.

Relyn said...

I am so very glad that you had such a marvelous time. I know your Mom would be so proud. "You taught us well." What more could a mother ask for?

Leigh Powell Hines (Hines-Sight Blog) said...

That is lovely. What a great hotel.

JRFrugalMom and Family said...

What a fantastic place to spend this special time with your dad...and the rest of your family.

Patrice said...

How sweet...

bj said...

I just bawled my eyes out.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Such a loving and precious post. I brought tears to my eyes. I am so glad you all were together, I know it made even more special memories and meant the world to your dad. I miss both my parents soooooooo much. Enjoy your dad while you can. Hugs, Marty

xinex said...

Oh how sweet of your dad to go on with this trip, Sue. Too bad your mom could not join you but just like you said, I am sure she was there in spirit. The hotel is beautiful and sound so relaxing. Thanks for thinking of us. I am hoping too that the storm will not hit us hard. I worry more about the trees when we have strong winds because we have so many tall trees....Christine

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Oh Sue,
Amazing post, amazing trip too!
I am a wee bit jealous, what a luxurious place to celebrate!
So happy you were able to do this with your Dad and family.
I've been a bad blogger too this summer and I hope I can catch up this fall.
Thanks for sharing this journey, one you will always remember i am sure.

Low Tide High Style said...

I am so glad you all had such a wonderful time together, and I have no doubt that your Mom was smiling down upon each of you!


bj said...

Thought I'd better come by and see if all is well in your world....??
Been awhile since you posted. Maybe you are like most of us...busy busy busy. :)

BrightenedBoy said...

That resort looks amazing and the tradition is lovely.

It must be really difficult for you guys to carry on without your mother, but I think it's wonderful that you've managed to maintain your togetherness in spite of your loss.

Nellie's Cozy place said...

Hi sue,
Have been wondering where you are, and now I know...........
What a lovely lovely idea, so glad yall did that, I am sure your Mom
would be thrilled...........
Sounds like an awesome place too.
So glad it turned out way better than the first time, know you wish your Mom could have enjoyed that too.
Glad you had such a neat time.
Blessings and welcome back and thanks for sharing that sweet story. Your Mom did teach yall well.