After spending the past three weeks working three jobs and getting wisdom teeth removal surgery, I finished up my summer at Amelia Island beach with my family. It was the perfect vacation after my first few weeks of actually working a job and the perfect end to summer before I went up to college to start my RA training. The air is fresh, the ocean water is bath-tub warm, and the whole town is summer personified. Being cozy and calm, it is the epitome of the phrase “happy place,” all while being wrapped up in the romance of being a seaside town in subtropic heat.
I’ve determined that I love the beach the same way that I love autumn weather and hot tea and if the beach is my favorite place then Amelia Island is my favorite beach. It is, of course, a playground for the rich along the waterfront with its Easter egg-colored oceanfront houses, that will have you driving the scenic A1A route every time.
I spent the days laying out on the beach, drinking hard seltzer corona (the only good kind of corona) and watching my skin get pink. In town we went to the local bookstore called “The Book Loft,” which has two stories of perfect-condition books on old bookshelves that you can just drool over all day long. I bought a book, as well, in the form of “My Policeman” by Bethan Roberts, as recommended by Harry Styles.
The first night there we got “Moon River Pizza” in town for obnoxiously large as-big-as-your-face slices of pizza. Did I need to get pizza at a trendy pizza joint with snarky bumper stickers and graffiti where everyone has a sleeve of tattoos and they only play rock music? Yes, I did. And it will be a tradition that I do so every year.
Bobby and Mikaela arrived a few days later, after my parents and I were already tanned, burnt, and well-rested. To celebrate their arrival we ate at a Spanish restaurant, appropriately named “España.”
Ordering around the bane-of-my-existence, Achilles heel seafood allergy and mouth issue, I had steak with blue cheese, while the rest of them ordered tapas and meals that I was allergic to. The adults had sangria. The waiter took one look at me, and I spent the evening putting sugar packets into a glass of unsweetened tea. For dessert I had some tiramisu, as well as a few well-proportioned bites of everybody else’s dessert.
Walking along the bike trail the next morning, beneath a canopy of oak trees, we made our way to the Marche, a local restaurant that I keep forgetting I don’t like. I ordered a ham, egg, and cheese croissant and got a croissant that arrived looking like a giant pile of sandwich ham and waxy melted swiss cheese atop a load of scrambled eggs. Not the delicate, savory croissant I was envisioning.
There also were potato slices that I did not want that were equally as flavorless as the eggs and my chai tea latte was just a tea bag in hot water that tasted like nothing. A singular onion would have solved most of the problems. We made up for it by spending the afternoon splayed out on the beach like McDonald’s French Fries under a heat lamp.
Since my brother is adamant that we watch a film on every beach trip, we watched Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade and The Sixth Sense after convincing Mikaela that it wasn’t scary. If she couldn’t sleep that night, it would have been Bobby dealing with her and not me. In the end, she enjoyed the film and I received double the entertainment by watching her watch the ending of The Sixth Sense for the first time.
On our last day at the beach, we decided to spend it not on the beach at all, but perusing the shops downtown. We started by going into the antique, consignment, trash-to-treasure- shops where I found a crab plate to hold my jewelry, since I am a cancer, and then went to the equally enjoyable “Trailer Park Treasure.” It had an impressive collection of classic antiques, but also a dog, which is how you know that they were legit.
In the afternoon we made our way to the art gallery, “Art on Centre,” and stared at the abstract lobby art. Abstracts are not my favorite; I like art that looks like things that I can recognize, that are of people, animals, and landscapes, not colorful blobs that are meant to decorate walls. But these paintings were fluid and exuberant, even if they were not representational. The colors were resplendent and vibrant and all around warm, while the sculptures were cool and ornate, but equally as satisfying. There were photorealist seascapes that are enhanced by dimming the lights, obligatory paintings of crashing waves, and at least one painting that invokes a chaotic, mixed-media judgement day fresco.
Lunch was a quick trip to “Tasty’s” before going to “Pelindaba Lavender” and “The Spice and Tea Exchange,” because nothing makes a relaxing vacation more literal than lavender and tea. In an extremely purple room that sold all things lavender, I bought some nice lavender scented linen spray to appease my future roommates.
The luxury tea and spices came from “The Spice and Tea Exchange,” a shop I’d been eyeing all week. The whole room smelled like the rose petals and lemon shavings that made up their custom made teas. I stocked up on green tea for cramps and chamomile tea for sleep in full anticipation of any personal health problems that might befall me at college.
It was a nice wrap up to my summer. Now, I am fully stocked up and relaxed for my impending college arrival.
The Tragic Queen,