I woke up very early yesterday morning (after not much sleep), and hopped the 6:45 a.m. Southwest flight from Detroit to Palm Beach International.
I had delayed booking my airfare for so long that the early morning flights on SWA were more than I was willing to pay. However, the flight to PBI was just right. In typical SWA fashion, I had layovers in Nashville and Tampa. I had a plane change at the latter and took the opportunity to have an overpriced airport salad and a local beer (Cigar City Brewing’s Jai Alai IPA-excellent), and to nearly miss my flight. And seriously, the flight from Tampa to Palm Beach was 50 minutes, with 35 of that actually in the air.
At PBI, I got my rental car and allowed the guy at Alamo to twist my arm into an upgrade to a convertible. On the two hour drive from West Palm Beach to Vero Beach I learned that I have the ideal haircut for driving down the freeway with the top down and pretty close to the opposite of the ideal skin. I’m very fair and didn’t put on sunblock before I took off. Now I have a very weird sunburn. But I am perfectly fine with that because I weighed it against the joy of driving past palm trees on a sunny day with the top down, and guess which came out the winner?
One brief stop for groceries in Vero Beach, and I was crossing over the bridge to that skinny strip of land on the East coast of Florida. I was on the phone with my mother trying to explain why I had not called to tell her I arrived at the hotel and I suddenly interjected “I can see the ocean!” as I got to the top of the bridge. Alas, it would be the last time I saw the ocean until I was actually in the lobby of the resort. That stretch of the A1A is lined with gated communities and hotels, so there’s not much to see. Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is actually located north of the city of Vero Beach, and it’s a pretty substantial drive to get there. Once again- palm trees, sun, convertible. The drive wasn’t so bad.
The lobby at the resort is beautiful, but I didn’t spend a lot of time there, and I was too distracted by the view from the back windows to really pay attention, honestly. One thing I did notice on a later walk-through was that the floor had what appeared to be lots of dents at first. My first thought was, Someone has some seriously heavy luggage. Then I realized, No, they are made to look like sea turtle tracks all over the lobby floor. It’s a neat little detail and a nice nod to Vero Beach’s most famous wildlife. Sea turtles nest on the beach here every summer and Disney has made sea turtle conservation a priority at the resort.
I didn’t make a room request, so my ocean view isn’t the best at the resort, but I’m not complaining. It’s at a corner and has an unusual layout.
It’s larger than I’m used to at DVC resorts. My balcony overlooks the pool, but I have a clear view of the ocean.
My only complaint with that is the music from the pool is a bit loud for me. I want to hear waves, not Smashmouth. Besides the balcony, I have windows that look directly at the ocean, so I can see it as soon as I sit up in bed and when I’m getting ready for the day (one window is opposite the vanity mirror). I’m very happy with the room.
After getting my groceries into the fridge, I changed into my swimsuit and headed down to the beach. The beach is coarser sand and there are a lot of shells and seaweed, but it is beautiful. After wading into the ocean a bit, I sat on a ledge formed by sand erosion (there’s a lot of that) and just stared at the ocean for a while. Honestly, I could do that for hours. I picked up some pretty shells and a piece of what is either coral or petrified bird poop. I honestly can’t tell, but it looks cool. Afterward, I took a brief swim in the pool and bought a refillable mug, then decided it was probably time to shower and have some dinner. I had originally intended to have dinner at the Green Cabin Room Lounge at the resort, but decided to head north into Sebastian to buy a beach chair and beach towel, then have dinner there. I also wanted to make a purchase at a liquor store, which was sort of extremely out of the way. I got to Squid Lips, a Sebastian restaurant that has a very good rep on the DIS Boards, at about 8:30. As I walked across the boardwalk to the restaurant, an employee called out to me that they had decided to close the kitchen early, because business was so slow that night. Um, what? I can understand the logic, but I was hungry.
So I ended up at the Green Cabin Room, anyway. I ordered a sangria and the appetizer sampler platter, which consisted of a crab cake, four Southwestern egg rolls, four of their citrus-sesame chicken wings, and a crock of spinach and artichoke dip with tortilla chips. It was all really excellent, particularly the wings. I sat out on the restaurant balcony with my Kindle, because I didn’t fly to the coast of Florida to sit in a restaurant. I wanted to hear the ocean! It was a bit breezy, though. The wind kept trying to steal my tortilla chips! After a little while, a quartet of ladies came out and sat at the table next to me to have a drink.. I got to talking to them a bit and found they were from the west side of the state. My state, not Florida! I meet Michiganders everywhere. We talked while I waited for my dessert to come out and, upon hearing that I was traveling alone, invited me to hang out with them by the pool some time, if I was so inclined. They understood my need for a totally selfish, get away from everyone vacation, but also noted that sometimes you need company, too. I absolutely agree. I am what I refer to as a “very social hermit.” I need huge amounts of time alone and prefer my own company to anyone else’s, but I love to meet and talk to people. The “don’t talk to strangers” thing never sunk in with me. But I figure, if you never talk to strangers, you miss out on people.
Anyway, I was exhausted from my long travel day, so I asked my server if I could get my dessert packed to go. She asked if I was staying at the resort, and then suggested that I just take the regular restaurant plating up to my room. So I ended the day having awesome banana chocolate chip bread pudding while watching TV in my jammies.
So that was my first day. Right now, pelicans keep flying over the hotel as if to tell me, “Jenna, you’re supposed to be going to Sebastian Inlet State Park and the Pelican Island Wildlife Refuge. Get off your butt and come see us.”
Okay, pelicans, I’m on my way!