Destin, Florida

Our first family vacation

Our first family vacation

We took our first real family vacation as a foursome. But it was really more of an eighteensome. My family joined 4 other families at Destin, Florida. We all stayed in one big house together. And if you ever wanted to know what “The Real World” would look like with 8 kids under the age of 5, this was it. There was a great deal of nudity.  People were peeing on the floor and passing out on the beach.  There were more than a few physical fights. And there were glow-stick parties in the closet. The adults also managed to have their own late night pool party one night. In short, it was pure insanity.

The ladies at the beach

The ladies at the beach

Wild ones

Wild ones

We managed to get to the beach every single day. Beach access was only a few blocks away from the house we were staying in. One night we flew kites on the beach as the sun set. It was truly a magical moment.  My little ladies were surprisingly brave in the gulf waters and really found their sea legs in the pool. Edith even learned how to swim underwater by the end of the trip. She was deathly afraid of seeing crabs before we left for the trip she kept claiming she would not go to the beach because the crabs would bite her. After finding many hermit crabs and seeing one full sized crab, she repeatedly said “See, I told you there would be crabs!” In addition to the crab sightings, there was a stingray who swam a little too close to me, someone saw a shark, and there were several small fish in the waters that really enjoyed biting me.

Edith underwater

Edith underwater

Bette's favorite beach pastime

Bette’s favorite beach pastime

The small children drove their parents crazy. There were moments that I announced that I’d never do it again, but I think now that I have had a few days of distance, I can say that I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Weird photo-shopped picture of the lot of us (minus Bette)

Weird photo-shopped picture of the lot of us (minus Bette)

The Village of Brownville

Driving into Brownville we followed a car onto a winding road that we assumed was going into the main street.  What we found was a dead end, a trailer with a sign telling us that their driveway was NOT a turn around and we would be cussed out if we used it as such, and some random lot filled with a pile of dead trees.  Luckily, Main Street was just a few blocks away and provided us a much more cheerful welcome.  The village looks as though it has not changed since 1854.

Our first stop was Whiskey Run Creek Winery.  Before trying the lovely wine, we took a tour of “the cave”.  The cave was originally a holding space for beer back in the 1800’s when they had a brewery.   Now the cave is just a nice cool place to go on a hot humid Nebraska day.   The grounds of Whiskey Run Creek are landscaped with a lot of flowers and grasses, there is even a waterfall.  I will be the first to admit that local wine is often too sweet for my liking.  There were plenty of sweet wines but there were some very delicious dry white and red wines.  My favorite was a semi-dry red called Chambourcin, it reminded me of Apothic Wine which I discovered this year and love so much.  Brent and I both also enjoyed the Robert’s Back 40, it was a crisp white wine.  After our tasting, we sat outside and ate some crackers and Nebraska made cheese and summer sausage, while enjoying a glass of Robert’s Back 40.  It was hot as the blazes of hell but the patio was so nice.

After the winery we made our way to our hotel, The River Inn Resort, a river boat turned hotel. It was closed last year due to the flooding and you could tell that area really got hit hard.  The area heading up to the hotel used to be an RV park but now it’s just sand and weeds.  We got settled in our room and then boarded another river boat (one that actually moves) to go on the dinner cruise.  We ate our standard buffet food and enjoyed the trip up and down the Missouri River.  We met some lovely folks from a band, Bearfoot, that had been playing in Brownville for a few nights (which we unfortunately missed).  The ride was hot and humid (again) but it was nice and Edith was a big hit.

Our accommodations were nice.  We had a suite so we had an awesome shower that Brent was obsessed with, and a little kitchenette area.  The bed was super comfortable, and there was a seating area outside of our room with Adirondack chairs overlooking the river.  The boat’s walkways are covered in AstroTurf from Memorial stadium.  The top deck of the boat/hotel was also covered in the AstroTurf but it was much more obvious that it had come from Memorial Stadium. Edith was quick to discover the air conditioner, which provided her several minutes of entertainment.

Brownville was lovely and interesting but I strongly suggest visiting sometime between Wednesday and Sunday so you can experience more of what is has to offer. We did not do our homework apparently and missed out on visiting most of the shops and museums.  The only shop that was open on Monday was Brownville Mills, which sells grains and some organic supplements.  Nice to know they have organic food options in such a small town….but the store was slightly umm unorganized (see photo below).  The building used to be a hangout for Jesse James though so that’s pretty cool.   We walked up to the Antiquarium but they were closed…even though Tom, the owner, had served us breakfast at the Inn that morning and said he would be open.  Apparently, he serves breakfast at the Inn because he enjoys it and they feed him.  I guess that is how Brownville operates.

After checking out the “lookout” and some fancy houses, we decided to head to our next destination, Nebraska City.  I found Brownville to be quaint and mysterious; I had Hotel California playing in my head a lot of the time.  I think it would be a fun place to retire to (if it’s still there in 40 years).