I have some exciting news – and as I am one to easily spill the beans, most of you already know – the Girls and I are going to be in Australia for a month during November and December! It has been two years since we saw our Family in Australia, and when your children are small, this feel like a lifetime. Goodness, Elle was a babe in arms, just crawling when we were last in Australia. I find it hard to believe I have not seen my Grandmother or Mother in this long, and could cry if I think about it too much. Feeling incredible gratitude to the universe for providing this trip – and so grateful my Children will be able to spend weeks on end with my amazing Family.
The trip came about largely to attend my younger cousin Susan’s wedding to her fiance Dan. This along with needing to help my Mother work on her house, as she has been unwell the past few years. We will be arriving a few days before Susan’s wedding, just enough time to get over jet lag, swim in the ocean and eat some of our favorite Aussie food – Maya will be enjoying vegiemite toast daily, I am sure!
It will be an action packed trip with hours of Family fun. The children will be adored and dotted on, like only Family can. I am looking forward to catching up with old Friends, and of course enjoying the Australian environment. We will be spending most of our time at Grandma’s home in Ballina. I will be drinking up the beauty of sunrises and sunsets from Grandma’s patio, building sandcastles on Granmda’s beach, and exploring Grandma’s mangroves.
We will also stay at my Aunt Heidi and Uncle Peter’s farm and we will visit Aunt Leslie and Uncle Lane’s farm too. There will be hikes to the Cape Byron Lighthouse, river strolls, beach walks and drives in Uncle Peters Rolls named Rose, the 1931 Phantom II Rolls Royce. There will be so many things to do!
When I stop to think about my life, I realised that I have spent 26 of my 35 years, living on the North Coast, and despite my feeling like our new house is my home, so much of my being belongs to the North Coast…and it always will. It will be so good to be back!
Here are some photos of our Australia visit in August 2009, and I can’t wait to share our next visit with you. I have butterflies in my tummy I am so excited thinking about it. Counting down the weeks to our Australia trip!
This is my last post on Key West, random photos of Key West sites and various things we did and places we visited….flying into Key West, the Southernmost Point, eating Key Lime Pie, riding the Key West Trolley, drinking coconut milk, riding bikes around town, and lovely sunset strolls…
The Southermost Hotel Collection is a beautiful establishment, that was a pleasure to stay in. We were delighted when we arrived as it was better in person than it appeared on-line. We had thought it looked nice on line, and once there, the friendly staff, the ocean breeze and the relaxed atmosphere brought a quality to it not imaginable on the website. Situated on the Beach near the Southernmost Point of Continental USA, making it the Southernmost place to stay in America, hence the name! The Hotels Grounds are made up of 3 different Hotels, each with unique qualities. By staying in one of the Southernmost Collection it entitles use to use all of the facilities in each Hotel. This includes, 3 swimming pools, a private beach, a bathing pier over the ocean, a beach cafe, 3 bars, a gym and many other things. We just loved playing on the grass lawn, and swinging in the hammocks by the sea. I was very impressed by the care and maintenance of the Hotels, there was lots of staff that seemed happy in their jobs and it felt like a big family. I found this appealing and it contributed to the quality of our stay. The decor of the Hotel was lovely and fresh and very in keeping with the Key West style. Everywhere I looked around the hotel there were personal touches and artistic features. The Gardens were beautiful, the rooms, pools and beaches were clean…and the view was sensational…I could not have asked for more!
We are back! As with every holiday, it comes around slowly and goes by quickly! Once again home in Brooklyn, and able to now reflect on the amazing time we had. I am looking forward to sharing the adventure with you, but it might take me a week to edit and post a selection of the photos. Would you believe I took over 800 pictures….yes, I am sure you do believe it! With scenery like this, it was hard not to be camera crazy, capturing the memories of my beautiful family in the sublime destination.
The weather was perfect and so we dived straight into the water. We divided our time between the 3 Hotel pools and the picturesque Key West Beaches. The Girls prefer the pool, I prefer the ocean and so we did a bit of both. Starting first with the Beaches. Cam and I both did ocean swims off the end of the Hotel pier around to the beach.
The Hotel had a private beach that was adjacent to one of the swimming pools. Hotel guest were able to use beach chairs and umbrellas free of charge, and a waiter was there to get guests drinks from the nearby Beach Cafe and Bar. The beach was bordered by the Hotel and a pier that extended into a wall. Maya and I were brave bodies, swimming over to the wall at low tide and walking the length of the wall. We then scurried back to the shelter of the pool cabana and watched a spectacular afternoon tropical thunder storm. It is so lovely to see lightening over the sea.
I made a solo beach trip to Fort Zachary Taylor Park. A 10 minute bike ride down the road. It is a really beautiful beach, with plenty of trees for shade and hanging hammocks. There was a cute cafe, that I had breakfast at after a swim. I could have spent all my days (next time without the Children) lounging, snorkeling and swimming at Fort Zachary Taylor. The water was so warm, balmy and turquoise…just heavenly!
I have to apologise for my absence of late…5 days have gone by without a post. I can’t say that I have been very busy, but I have been preoccupied. For the first time since moving to America, we are going to go on a big (meaning it feels extravagant!) holiday, and I have been ‘busy’ working on this. Planning a Family holiday where all of us get on a plane and are gone for a week. We have had plenty of weekends away, but until now we have not, as a family, taken a family vacation we could not drive in our car to.
So….where are we going? Well believe it or not, this posed a difficult question, so many places to see! Which is why instead of writing on my blog each night I have been looking for the perfect holiday destination. You know life is in a good spot when the most pressing issue is to choose a place for a vacation. I can’t tell you how blessed, excited and happy I feel. I could not sleep last night with anticipation!
Cam has worked hard since moving to America (Did I mentioned he designed and built the official website for the Academy Awarding Winning Best Picture: The Kings Speech – yes, really Cam designed and built this website!) and for him to take a week off work so we can fly out of the City is a long time coming.
After much light talk, serious discussion and looking, we decided on Key West – Florida Keys. I had hoped to go to the Caribbean, with my sights set on Playa Del Carmen on the Mayan Rivera in Mexico. When it came time to book Cam decided he did not want to go to Mexico and wanted to see more of America. His other prerequisite were, somewhere warm with a pool, and no high rise condos. In the midst of New York Winter this pointed me South. I then started to look to Florida. While looking at Florida I was posed with the question “Should we go to Disney World?”. I ruled Disney World out pretty quickly. Once I had thought we would very much like to do this, but on closer research it seems really over the top, really expensive, long lines and an atmosphere that would proliferate Maya’s attraction to all thing princess. We then decided that a compromise to not going to Mexico would be to go to the Southernmost tip of USA, being Key West. The very last Island on the chain of Florida Keys, surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and the North Atlantic oceans, it is balmy turquoise waters and tropical temperatures. To drive there it is miles and miles of phenomenal bridges joining the Islands from Key Largo to Key West. Key West is known as a romantic destination and while it is not thought of as a Family destination, we decided that watching the sun set over the ocean was actually more valuable to the Girls than going to the previously mentioned “Family Destination”. Many Artists and Writers have made Key West their home. The most famous being Earnest Hemingway. The town is small and is said to have a unique creative laid back feeling…lots of people riding bikes, street performers, great cafes and boutiques and of course beautiful beaches…which could not suit us better. Looking forward to the next few weeks flying by until we get on the plane. Here are some of the images that helped us make up our minds!