Sunday, August 23, 2009

Captiva Island, Florida.

This year, we decided to try something new for our annual vacation. We headed south to Captiva Island, for five days of resort-style r&r. Joining us were our favorite co-travelers, The Perkins.


and of course, Grace! She was kind enough to lend us her car.

And she stayed close at hand to keep an eye on things. In between screenings of "Monsters, Inc."

The South Seas Island Resort served as home base. With multiple pools, water slides, poolside bars, beach access with umbrellas and towel service, tennis courts, a golf course, spa, fitness center, a general store, several restaurants, a kids club camp, an arcade, and shopping on site - there was no reason to leave. We made full use of all the amenities.

Starting with breakfast...

Most mornings, we began the day with a hearty buffet served on the breezy porch of the Pointe. We sat on oversize wicker chairs, enjoying our meal, while watching the palm trees swaying by the pool. Just over the crest of the foliage, we could see the glittering waves of the ocean.

Breakfast offerings varied. You could go healthy...

Or not..

Or mix it up and have a "litta bitta both..."

Jordan's favorite was the chocolate croissant. Go figure. My favorite was the tea selection - brought out in a miniature, wooden trunk by a waiter dressed in crisp whites. He would chase me down the buffet line if I had left the table before he came back. After ceremoniously opening the case, I could choose among an assortment of teas I had rarely seen before.

Ahh... cheers! Nothing so civilizing as a soothing cup of tea in the morning..

Miss Mina took advantage of my distraction to chow down on my bagel with peanut butter.

I'm not the least bit ashamed to say, Jeff and I were really looking forward to utilizing one featured option:

Hurray!!! Captiva Kids Club. Also known as three hours of parental bliss.

And off they go, trudging up those stairs like dead men walking. On the other hand, you should have seen how fast Jeff and I ran down the steps after drop off. Woo-hoo!!! Freedom!!

We hit the pool...

And the waterslides..

And the tennis courts..

We hydrated ourselves with refreshing beverages..

Soothed our skin with luxurious facials at the day spa

And had leisurely lunches to wrap up the morning..

I'm looking very glow-y here because I just returned from an aromatherapy message and facial; and Jeff is all glow-y because he just returned from a 9 hole golf outing with Brandon. Look how relaxed we look. I think the last time we looked like this, we were on our honeymoon. That was also kid-free.

Now, before I get flamed for our heartless insensitivity in dropping off the kids, let me tell you the rest of the story...

Kids club was exactly where the wanted to be, when they weren't in the pool. On the first day when we returned to pick them up, we stood outside the building watching them from a window (we got there early - can you imagine?!?!) Jordan caught us looking, and he came running to the window.

Expecting a greeting, I smiled at him.


Perplexed, I went inside, saw Mina and sat next to her. She looked up at me, not pausing once between bites of her Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies.

"No, Mama. No grownups allowed here."

Jeff and I looked at each other and almost burst out laughing with gratitude. I don't know what the counselors did with them all morning, but between arts and crafts, wacky Olympics, and Mad Scientist experients - the kids were well entertained.

When Kids Club wasn't in session, we occupied ourselves in other ways.

We spent a lot of time in the water.

The pool, complete with slides and a zero-entry 3 foot shallow end was a hit. Jordan loved this pool. The gradual inclined depth gave him a chance to acclimate himself to the water. As he grew comfortable, he ventured in deeper and deeper, going far enough along to start diving in, getting totally under the water, and taking a few strokes with his arms across short spans. I could see him teaching himself how to swim.

This last picture here with Grace doesn't even do her justice. This child actually does know how to swim - really swim - in water that's well over 7 feet deep. She happily went down the water slides - both the slow moving twisty one and the vertical drop one that pummelled you out at fast speeds.

And she did it again, and again, and again. The child has no fear. I think she inspired Jordan.

And she certainly inspired Mina in the fashion department. As usual.

We got brave and took advantage of the BBQ grills located at our villa poolside. There, we swam, and ate Buddy's famous burgers, dogs, and quick and easy mac and cheese. Watermelon and Ice cream for dessert.

Monkey grooming...

There was so much to enjoy on site, we didn't venture off too much. Except to explore new places to eat... because we're just a little bit gluttonous like that.

At the Keylime bistro:

At the Bubble Room.

This place is really fun. Stock piled with quirky antiques, a moving train that circulates above the room, and displays set up through three floors of the restaurant - the setup was guaranteed to keep the kids highly amused.

And the food was good too!

Next time, I'm going to follow Buddy's lead, and just order the Bubble bread, salad and appetizers. I was stuffed. That artichoke dip, the parmesan bread, the salad and the drinks had me full before I took my first bite of steak.

Well, that was just about the most perfect vacation. And it was in large part due to the awesome legwork and graciousness of our dear friends, the Perkins. We had so much fun with you guys.

And we can't wait to see you again real soon (plus one!)

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