Every year my husband, our two kids, and I pack up our suitcases and board a plane, anxiously awaiting our arrival to the sunshine state. We wave goodbye to Lake Erie and in only a few shorts hours wave hello to the mighty Atlantic. Once we’ve landed and are in a car, there is nothing quite like the excitement of crossing the Indian River knowing the ocean is only a few minutes away. And when you get your first glance of her, it takes your breath away. You hear the squeal of excitement from the kids in the backseat. You feel your heart swelling with happiness as you roll down your windows to taste the salty air.
Hutchinson Island is a beautiful island 2 hours south of Orlando, Florida. My hubby’s family has a condo there so we visit often. When you’re from Cleveland, a little extra vitamin D goes a long way, especially in the winter. I grew up going to Myrtle Beach for family vacation. Hutchinson island has a much different vibe than Myrtle. It’s slower paced and a lot quieter. If you ask me, it’s a little slice of heaven not too many folks know about. I am spending my week here on this beautiful island taking in the fresh salt water air. As I sit here feeling the sun on my shoulders, I am reminded of why this place is so special to me. First off, I am a sucker for tradition. I LOVE and appreciate a good family tradition. I love that this little island feels a lot like home. Visiting with family and spending quality time together cannot be beat.
I also love vacationing at the ocean because it isn’t a quick drive away. That just makes it feel more like a retreat. So many people say they would love to live by the sea and while I totally get why, I must say at this time in my life I don’t want to live on the coast. While it doesn’t compare to the ocean, I do live by one of the Great Lakes which provides plenty of summer fun. We enjoy going to many local beaches and enjoy visiting Kelley’s Island. Yes, winters tend to be long and cold here, but it makes spring and summer all that more exciting. Another reason for not wanting to take permanent residency seaside is because I never want to lose my absolute awe and wonder for the mighty Atlantic. When I visit this place, I am transported to a place of relaxation and given an opportunity to give my mind and body a break. I have nothing pressing to do. I can live in the moment and enjoy time with my family without any interruptions or distractions.
Visiting once or twice a year gives me something to look forward to. When I am here I’m able to be wild and free. My kids are able to be wild and free. Nothing compares to wave jumping with my children and laughing as each wave washes over us. And as for the sting of hot sand beneath our feet as we run back to our beach chairs, priceless. For me the ocean provides a place of ultimate healing. She doesn’t want you to fear her but she does demand respect and appreciation. She is fierce and holds many secrets. No matter what is going on in the world, her waves keep rolling in. The ocean has so much to teach us. She teaches us that every single grain of sand on her beaches is important, just as every human being is important. She teaches us the importance of taking care of her sacred water and respecting the many creatures that call her home. She teaches us that despite what kind of day we have, the sun will keep rising, the moon will keep glowing, and the water will keep churning. Perhaps most importantly, she teaches us to slow down and appreciate the magic of nature. She knows we all have a little healing to do. Hutchinson Island is so much more than an island on the treasure coast. It’s one of the only places that soothes my heart and soul. No matter where I am in my life, this little island invites me to visit and accepts me just as I am.