A few weeks ago Gina and I decided to look at summer and see how much was left. Once we calculated how much of summer was already committed to activities, meetings, or work-related commitments, we saw there was only one drop left. Just enough to cook up one last batch of fun. So, we packed up out stuff and made one last trip.
Our first stop was Port Aransas, Texas. This was my first trip to a Texas beach, and I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the town and beaches were. Sure, we had to deal with some of the standard hassles of a small beach town: one small grocery store, small overpriced room, busy restaurants and slow service. But there is something about the pulsing rhythm of the surf that makes a person not really care all that much about those details that normally drive city folks crazy.
We stayed at The Beach Lodge, and it was a great choice for us considering the short amount of time we were there. It was right on the beach, had a small restaurant, and was reasonably priced. The room was definitely small (probably smaller than our cabin on the cruise ship last January), but we didn't spend a lot of time in the room anyway. There as a pool that we didn't use, and they had a huge deck on the upper floor overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Sam and I hung out up there for quite a while one morning while Mommy and Nate slept. It was a great memory with Sam asking lots of questions and letting me peek into his little 5-year old perspective for a little while.
The only downside to our stop in Port A was that we all got sunburned. I guess when you know you only have two days at the beach, you want to spend as much time as possible actually ON the beach. That is exactly what we did, which meant we were in the sun most of the day. Even with several re-applications of sunscreen, it all got rubbed and washed off and we looked like a lobster family by that evening. Consequently, we didn't even swim in the ocean the next day because we were all sore from our sunburns. We have decided when we go back to the beach, we want to spend more time so we don't feel pressured to spend all day in the sun.
From Port A, we headed to San Antonio for a stroll on the Riverwalk and an early dinner. The Riverwalk was just as beautiful as I remembered it, and as usual it was buzzing with people. We didn't have a lot of time to walk around, but we did find time to squeeze in a ride on one of the boats. Even with the temps hovering over 100, the shade and coolness of the water made it bearable. From there, we headed to Market Square (El Mercado) on the edge of downtown for some authentic TexMex. Gina had read about La Margarita, and it definitely lived up to the hype. We could have easily eaten on the Riverwalk, but this place was worth the extra effort. There were musicians, waiters dressed in traditional clothes, and the food was amazing.
The last stop of our getaway was to see Max, Wes, John, Carrie, Jean and Poppy in Round Rock. After all we had done, this was by far the most anticipated part of the trip for the boys. This was everything four little preschoolers (almost Kindergartners!) could ask for: a camp out on the floor with sleeping bags, playing with toys, swimming, and a piñata filled with candy. The grownups had a nice time visiting and relaxing while the boys swam and played. We are already planning the next time we can all get together. As usual, the boys slept nearly all the way from Round Rock to Fort Worth, which is the sign of a good trip!
This was the perfect way to end the summer. We played, we relaxed, we laughed, we explored. We are now recharged and ready to start the busy school year, which I'm sure will bring even more adventures. You can see our photos and video from the trip in our family photo album.