I woke up at my usual early hour and took in the sights and sounds one last time. There is certainly something soothing to the sound of the waves and astounding about the sun rising from, rather than setting in, the ocean. JR must have sensed the inevitable and was next to get up. She sat looking out the window at the sea and asked how soon we can go out. "As soon as you are done with your breakfast," I responded. But of course with Yousef's waking up, soon got delayed into later. After coffee from the cafe, last few bites of oatmeal from the paper cup, several runs to the car for coats, back to the room for hats, and a bathroom stop, we headed out the hotel back door onto the boardwalk.
We had our little bag of stale break with us so our first stop was feeding the sea gulls. But while the sea gulls were ecstatic with us, Yousef was not as happy about them!
We decided, then, to build a sand castle. It turned out to be a number of sand towers standing together!
So we moved on to the cement sand castle built as an attraction on the board walk and JR and Yousef attempted to restore it to its original sandy state by moving the surrounding sand onto the construct.
Ten thirty was getting close, so it was time to say goodbye to the beach. As we were walking back to finish packing, JR calls out, "here is Yousef's choo-choo!" pointing to the plus toy in the window. It was stuck behind the couch and must have gotten there yesterday at breakfast. I was not even aware we were missing a toy, so to have found it before too late was a blessing. JR is a great observer and a wonderful helper and this was extra proof that she is always looking out for her little brother. "I can get it," she remarked upon our entrance and she proudly presented it back to Yousef.
Back in the room and while the parents packed, the kids found the monkey bars! Climbing on the luggage cart apparently is a lot of fun, although JR did not appreciate her hair getting stuck on the hooks.
We left town shortly after eleven heading towards one last adventure. Little did we know, though, that much more than an adventure was waiting for us!
When we had booked our mini-vacation we chose to return on Saturday to beat the holiday traffic. "Everyone will be coming back on Sunday," we had declared, so a Saturday drive would be a smart idea. It turned out to be a rather misinformed decision, and I found myself looking back to our first visit to VA Beach and wishing we had done this year what we did then.
In 2010 North America was hit by a massive snow storm that closed businesses and roads, caused power outages and massive destruction, and brought life to a complete stop for a while. Virginia Beach was not spared and got near 14 inches of snow. I remember looking out our window and seeing nothing but white. We were stranded miles away from home, with nothing to eat but the leftovers in the fridge. That year, we had to extend our stay at the hotel by another day in the hopes that the roads would be plowed. Even the hotel staff had to remain on site and were given rooms for the night. The cafe had little to feed us, but coffee was a plenty.
And while the weather this year was nowhere near a storm with temperatures hovering in the 50's and 60's, part of me wished, as we slowly made our way through the masses of cars on the freeway, that we had nevertheless extended our stay. For a brief moment that morning, and wanting to stretch the enjoyment even more, I had contemplated extending our stay into Sunday, and yet I chose not to act on the idea. Everything has to come to an end, I told myself, and moved forward with the departure.
For hours we sat in the car, inching our way towards Maryland. We took the back roads; those were overwhelmed, too. Luckily we had had our fill of sightseeing and food having visited at the Virginia Air and Space Museum (more on that in another post) and lunched at Jason's Deli before hitting traffic so we weren't in a too bad of a shape. And with the kids crashed in their car seats from fatigue it was a long while before I got impatient with the long drive and ready to arrive. And arrive we finally did, though not at our house! We called it a day at 6:30 that evening at my parent's apartment in Arlington.