Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Crystal Cove: A very public private oasis

Vacations. They're usually just as busy and just as scheduled as our regular routines. It seems like we can't break away from the "performance plan" mentality...even when we're on vacation.

When we decided on spending 5 days at a beachfront cottage at Crystal Cove State Park, I was determined that this vacation would be different. Vacationing in California, the temptation was great to plan a day trip here, and a day trip there. But I stood firm, and we had nothing planned.

Except for cell phones (for emergencies and traveling info) and a few mp3 players we left all electronics home. Instead, we brought a stack of books and stack of boardgames. Cottage #27 (pictured) is known as the "Dive Shack" and is furnished with marine paraphernalia. It is a mere 120 ft or so from the beach. The interior is very rustic but with just the bare essentials to make it pleasant. We did a little shopping at the local Albertson's to get some essentials for breakfast and lunch.

I cannot express the importance of having 5 full and completely unstructured days to unwind and decompress. There was definitely something calming about the unceasing rhythmic sound of the waves on the beach. Without alarm clocks we woke up pretty early in the morning and caught families of sand pipers flitting around the water's edge. Ate a little breakfast and watched dolphins bopping through the water. The day-visitors to the beach would appear and the beach came to life... and we had a front-row seat to it all.

The wooden deck out-front was great for catching some sun, reading a good book, and people watching. Around lunchtime, we individually would grab a snack out of the fridge (no formal lunch). The afternoon was spent doing the same kind of nothing and walking the beach. As dinnertime rolled around, we'd watch the day-visitors leave and we would go out to a nice restaurant. After dinner, watch the sun go down, and play a few boardgames. By 9:30 we were totally wiped out and ready to turn in. Who would've thought that doing absolutely nothing was such hard work!

Each day seemed like a week. But by the end, it seemed like the 5 days went by too quickly. In spite of the drive there and back to California, it was absolutely the most restful vacation I've taken...ever. I highly recommend this type of do-nothing vacation to everyone... especially in this overly-connected world.


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