Last week, my family drove two hours to Amelia Island, a small beach town off the coast of Florida, on the Atlantic coast. It was my family’s quasi-annual beach trip. I say quasi-annual because, even though we’re supposed to do it every year, we’ve fallen off a few times. This year’s beach trip was going to be particularly special due to the fact that I’ve been dutifully home quarantining from New York since March inside for the months leading up to this. The idea was to finish off the summer with a small vacation to our favorite beach spot. A casual paradise so nice that John Grisham decided to set up camp there by buying up some prime beachfront property.
I had mixed feelings about going to a beach in Florida around this time, with its COVID-ridden atmosphere and the state’s skyrocketing case count, but I decided that if I just kept my distance from everyone, then I’d have nothing to worry about. In Chipiona, Spain, beachgoers practiced social distancing by sitting a minimum of six feet apart under their umbrellas, satisfying their country’s ordinances. I decided that I’d see for myself if social-isolation was possible on a beach.
Overall, the place was pretty much abandoned, with clear beaches and little to no foot traffic in town. People were wearing masks everywhere you looked and everyone seemed happy to comply with social distancing.
The ocean was bathwater temperature, so inviting that you could just walk straight into it. One of the amazing things about this stretch of the ocean is how close the animals get to you. While you might see the occasional small shark off shore, schools of fish will jump out of the water a foot away from you, Pelicans will dive straight into the water beside you, and everyday around the same time a pod of dolphins will swim across the same spot in front of our condos.
There are fun things to do in the area, such as bike trails under vast canopies of trees, but we mostly stuck to the independent bookstore, ice cream shop, bakery, tourist traps, and antique stores (masks on of course). We got burgers from Tasty’s, a burger joint that lives up to its name, nursed a few sunburns, unsuccessfully searched for shark teeth, and watched a movie or two as we lounged around.
That quick week of ocean air brushed away some of the ennui brought on by my endless Spring Break. I hope that everyone was able to experience some form of blissful relaxation throughout this summer from hell.
The Tragic Queen,