Saturday, August 29, 2015

All of the Indulgences Under One Roof

The next morning, Mom, Jane, and I went into APC for some coffee and light shopping.  I really think that at some point in the future I could see myself living in a town like APC.  Close to the beach, little boutiques and restaurants, and creative inspiration everywhere you look.  I loved the laid-back vibe everyone had.  Most stores had signs saying they open at 10, but even so, they might not open until 10:30 or 11, just whenever they happened to get there that day!

We did find a cool little coffeeshop that also happened to be a chocolaterie and gelato stand.  They roast their own beans, make their own chocolate, and have some pretty good looking gelato.  Quite the multitasking establishment!  I got a hot chocolate with two shots of espresso so I could have a bit of both.  It was quite tasty.

(photos by e.hunt)

Break Something, Fix Something

That afternoon, another castle was constructed.  We decided to build it on the remains of the previous one even though there were concerns of inner dryness.  I really wanted to have some outer, gatepost buildings in the front so I helped do some digging too.

After the injection, packing, and spritzer processes were complete, we began the forms.  When we were in Destin, Mom watched a "professional" sandcastle crew make a bridge.  We thought that would be cool to try.

Thanks to Mom's instructions, and Andrew and Taylor's persistence, it worked!  After the bucket brace was removed, and then the ravine was dug down, they decided to carve down the two towers, just a little bit at a time.  While this was all happening, Juliana and I each commandeered one of the front piles.

Even with all our hard work, we could not stop the devastating effects of the wind.  While on a Coors break (the official beer of the beach), the front tower collapsed, taking the bridge down with it.  Alas, our efforts had not been for naught.  We would use what we learned to make an even better one tomorrow.  After a brief period of let-down, we moved on.  I did a grand stairway down the tower that was still standing, and the boys made a bucket minefield out in front.

(photos by e.hunt, j.kowalik, and r.hunt)

Welcome to the Sunny Life

The next day was a leisurely one.  Taylor set up the umbrellas, with an extra, colorful one at the end for Juliana's mom who drove up from Sarasota to join us for a few days.

One of the best things about the beach this year was the fact that we each had our own designated chair.  When we go with the whole, extended Hunt family, each individual family has a set, but then we have to share those chairs throughout the day.  This time, I had my own chair the whole time, and it was marvelously relaxing.  When I came down and got settled, Dad pointed out that a dead shark had washed up in front of the house next to ours.

Pretty grisly.  We figured it got caught in a boat propeller.  Even though it's pretty gross, it was kindof cool to see a shark up close without worrying about it getting all bite-y.  The rest of the morning was spent in perfect relaxation, enjoying the sun, sand, water, wind, and beachy beverages.  At lunchtime we all went up to make a snack and visit with Grandma, who was selling her seashell collection on the porch.

(photos by g.hunt, e.hunt, and j.kowalik)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My Compliments to the Many Chefs

The following night was a big night in terms of the meal.  Because this trip was a celebration of Mom and Dad's 30th wedding anniversary, we kids thought it might be nice to put something together for them for that, but also as a thank you for the trip.  A few weeks back, when Taylor and I went down to Nashville, we brainstormed ideas and came upon making them a romantic, french-themed dinner on the veranda (as they spent their honeymoon in Paris, we thought it would be a fun detail).  We each left with jobs to do before the trip; Andrew and Juliana would come up with and test the courses, I would design and create menus, and Taylor would decide on a dessert.  He also gathered the extra little things we needed from home and smuggled them into the car without Dad seeing.

We wanted to keep it a surprise right up until the dinner so we told Mom and Dad that we had made them a reservation for that night.  We were all very sparse on details, just telling them what time they needed to be ready and that Taylor would drive them there.  As soon as they got in the car, we started working.  We had had a bit of a trouble-shooting process in terms of a table.  There wasn't a single, regular-height table in the whole house besides the giant dining room table (that definitely wouldn't fit out the door), and four little folding tv-dinner tables.  Taylor spotted this wood side bench table.  It was covered with decorative things, and looked really heavy, but we thought it would be worth trying to move.

It worked!  Andrew and I cleared everything off and it actually wasn't as heavy as we imagined.  After that we finished setting the table and wrapping the lights on the railing.  The finishing touch?  The Django pandora radio station playing in the background.  The whole time Grandma was posted at the window as a lookout, and we completed the to-do list by changing into our "restaurant" clothing.

It turned out that Taylor drove them all the way over the bridge into APC, and then into a few restaurant parking lots before turning around.  Apparently Mom and Dad still had no idea of our plans.  When Grandma spotted the car pulling in, we all lined up on the balcony to welcome them and wish them a happy anniversary as they walked up the stairs.

We each took turns going out to serve wine, check in, serve courses, clear plates, etc, and all the dishes turned out great.  We in the kitchen ate a few bites here and there of what was leftover, and then made some crab cakes after it was over.  I have no restaurant experience at all, but I would say that we were a pretty good team.  Thanks again, Mom and Dad, and happy anniversary!

(photos by e.hunt, and r.hunt)

Let Your Tastebuds Run Wild

The following day, the wind started.  We arrived to find a Grand Canyon carved into the previous day's work.

We knew we couldn't do a castle because the wind would dry out the sand much too fast, so we stuck to more traditional beach activities for the day.

After lunch break, we reconvened and played a beach version of The Drawing Game.  This is an ancient Hunt game where one person poses in the middle of the group while everyone else draws a portrait of them.  Everyone usually has a very unique drawing style and as such, the results are quite entertaining.

For dinner that night, we had exquisite fish tacos.  The makings just kept coming and coming!  Zucchini, beans, rice, pico de gallo, guacamole: definitely my favorite meal of the week.

(photos by e.hunt, r.hunt, and g.hunt)