When I was a young child, my family would go to Silvershells beach in Destin, Florida for a week each summer. I remember that once you had to endure the ten hour drive down there, the paradise that was waiting always made it worth it. I suppose that Destin’s trademark was the smell of Banana Boat suntan lotion that lingered in the lobby of the condo. This is the most heavily air-conditioned room without a doubt. The Victorian-style architecture pillars fell in the middle of the room.
Once you’re able to get settled in your room, standing on the balcony is ideal while you wait for everybody else to get ready. The view from here is always what my brain pictures when I think of Destin. Depending on the time of day, you’d be able to little dots on the beach that are people milling around on the flour-white sands of the shoreline. Even though I was fourteen stories in the above the ground; there was water disappearing into the horizon line as far as my eye could see. Up here on the balcony, you are unable to hear much due to the cawing of seagulls passing by religiously. The stargazing view from this balcony at night is clear and vivid.
Depending on what time one woke up the following morning, when you walked outside you would get a whiff of the Sandbar’s burgers on the charcoal grill that would instantly capture your stomach’s attention. If that did not draw you near to the shack-like bar, the Beach Boys music that was blasting loud would. Since we normally go in the summer, I am used to watching the PGA Masters event on the Sandbar’s Sony 72” flat screen. Below the Sandbar’s deck are a flight of stairs. The bottom 3 steps are covered in sand that has a consistency similar to that of flour. As you step onto the sand for the first time of the day, you would find it hot from hours of exposure to the morning sun. The sand would be rather tossed at the step-in spot from where earlier beach patrons had previously stepped and are now walking around in front of you either wearing sunglasses or squinting their eyes. If you got too hot, you could just walk 30 feet from your relaxation spot on the shoreline back to the Sandbar for a tart, fruity drink or a juicy, succulent cheeseburger.
After just a few hours of playing, the tops of your shoulders will burn slightly as well as turn a bright color of red. Normally, you can find people skipping down the pavement path to the pool behind the Sandbar due to the heat of the pavement. As you neared the pool, the smell of beer will become extremely prevalent from the “young parent” aged people that are babysitting their kids in the peanut shaped body of water. If you were to dive in the deep end of the pool, you would receive that satisfying feeling of cool and rejuvenating water enveloping you into itself as you sink deeper and deeper. At the end of each day, when families and lovers and people of all types are packing up their beach toys to leave, the sky will be significantly darker than when you had arrived. The sun should be projecting a gorgeous color behind the horizon.
This causes the sand to turn to a light pink color, which is easily visible without all of the umbrellas and towels strewn across the beach. With the tide high due to the time of say, the salty spray taste in your mouth becomes almost overwhelming. With the lack of the music playing at the Sandbar, the only thing to be heard is the crashing of the dark waves and they race up the shoreline. Without city lights to block out the brightness of the stars, the beach is lit throughout the night in a certain gloom that would be deemed eerie, had it not been lighting up this beach. Late night teens and couples would stroll along the shoreline pointing at stars and sharing memories.
Among the night-walkers are also crab hunters. Complete with a net and a storage bucket, you would see a big variety of people (mostly fathers and sons) hoping to catch a crab that was bigger than last night’s. As you trudged up the beach toward the condo, you would occasionally see a little white flash of something about as big as a computer mouse darting in and out of shadows and running from the crabbers. It is never hard to leave this type of beauty, and the idea of getting rested up for another day of it is about the only thing that will make you leave it. Once again, finding the pavement path leading through the pool deck up to Silvershells Resort, you glace back at the sand dunes that are visible from this point and take that last breath of salty (yet fresh) oxygen that can only be found in Destin, Florida.