This past week, Rob and I spent five days at the beach, and it was even more glorious than I ever imagined and filled my heart to the brim. I don’t know about you, but I have been craving a change of scenery so much lately. For a couple who typically travels 25+ times a year (usually day trips or quick weekend getaways or to visit our families!), we haven’t spent a night away from our home in a year, minus seeing our family at the holidays. I love our home (so much so!), but I was feeling a bit stir crazy since we’ve been here so, so much this year. About three weeks ago, Rob came downstairs with the biggest grin on his face. I immediately knew something was up, and he surprised me with a winter beach getaway together! I burst into happy tears at the incredible thoughtfulness of my sweet husband, and we proceeded to spend the next three weeks counting down the days for our little trip. I am so glad he told me early, as the anticipation for our trip – especially in a season where there is so little on our calendar and essentially zero trips planned – was just what I needed. I haven’t been this ecstatic for something in a while! I also still can’t get over what an incredibly thoughtful and sweet gesture this was by my husband; I am still blown away by it and by him.
Holden Beach, just a quick 2.5 hour drive away, has become our special spot for the two of us over the last few years, and Rob rented out our favorite beach house from a family friend. We felt so safe going since we knew no one had been in it for a long time prior, and we had a very spacious and very beautiful oceanfront house all to ourselves. We’ve stayed at this house before, and it’s become such a special location for us. We are so incredibly grateful for the loving and generous family who let Rob rent it from them and surprise me! There really aren’t many places we feel comfortable staying overnight these days, so this was especially perfect and so well-timed. I don’t think the beach houses anywhere near us had any occupants, and we saw maybe ten people out in the distance the entire duration of our stay out on the beach. I have never seen the beach so empty, and we had miles of uninterrupted shoreline all to ourselves!
We had zero plans, of course, and anticipated days filled with quality time together, a change of scenery, watching and listening to the ocean, cozy time on the deck, endless reading, going on wintery beach walks, and eating seafood. For five days, that’s about all that we did, and it was truly glorious. We felt so relaxed and so at ease, and it was a really sweet and special time getting away together. Even though Rob and I are home together all day, every day, there is just something so special about getting away somewhere, blocking those days off from work, savoring the beauty of the ocean at wintertime, and getting to walk and talk and enjoy each other’s company all day long. I also feel closest to God at the ocean and overlooking His magnificent creation, and it was such a peaceful, awe-inspiring trip. There is just nothing like the majesty of the ocean, wildly vivid sunsets, watching dolphins swim, listening to the crashing of the waves, the ever-shifting clouds, and soaking up the incredible beauty of the beach during winter. We just love the beach during winter! If you’ve never experienced it, it’s unlike anything else and is just sublime, beautiful, and so peaceful. It’s hands-down one of our favorite times of the year to go and is so different than during summertime.
Our bedroom overlooks the ocean, so we’d wake up to the crashing waves every morning and drink our coffee and talk on the decks overlooking the ocean. With zero plans or an agenda for the day, it was glorious having so many days filled with nothing and everything, all at once. We bundled up to read on the deck for many luxurious hours every day, alternating between the porch swing, rocking chairs, and chaise lounges, and I’m not sure the last time I read so many books in so few days! I read and finished Friends & Strangers (4.75/5), The Four Winds (5/5), The Lager Queen of Minnesota (4/5), started Rules of Civility, and got in a lot of wonderful quiet time and prayer time, too. The house where we stayed is right on the beach, and overlooking the ocean and listening to the crashing waves is one of my favorite things in the world. We sat and talked for hours on end, and we went on at least three beach walks every single day. There’s just nothing like it! I also got in more steps every single day at the beach than any day in the past year, minus wedding days. On our walk on our first day, it was absolutely freezing and wildly windy, and then it started raining on our way back to the house. It took us so long to walk into the wind in the rain on the beach but we have the best memories and laughs! Our many, many other walks were a bit less adventurous but no less memorable. Rob and I barely saw another soul our entire time and enjoyed holding hands, looking for seashells, walking, and talking for hours. It was such a treat to watch a school of dolphins swim by one afternoon, too! We enjoyed brilliant sunsets every evening that took our breaths away, and one evening, took our wine down to the beach for a romantic sunset stroll. Such special memories together!
We also ate our weight in fresh seafood, of course! We were thrilled when our favorite local Holden Beach spot, Provision Company, opened back up, and we were able to do several takeout orders while we were there. They have such delicious, fresh peel & eat shrimp and their famous shrimp burgers, which we enjoyed almost every day back at our house. We brought plenty of food with us, so it was amazing leaving the house solely to pick up some takeout shrimp a couple times. Other than that, we simply enjoyed our time away from home at the coast and enjoying the majesty of the ocean. I’ve never been so thankful to bundle up in multiple layers (plus a blanket) to simply sit outside and read or talk while overlooking the ocean! And I’m still blown away that my amazing husband knew just how much I (and we!) would enjoy a getaway this winter to such a special and relaxing place. It was the perfect, relaxing, low-key, and joy-filled winter trip to a place that has become so very special to us, and I am deeply, deeply grateful for our time there – and uninterrupted quality time with my favorite person in the whole world! (And I already wish I could rewind time a live these days over again!!)
“Year after year, we are borne back to the islands, our arms stretched out to the sea and to each other, in rhapsodies we share, in reveries all our own. However well we know or think we know these gloriously plain sandbars and their grassy dunes, the winds and waters play endlessly upon them. And so we are always getting acquainted anew with the edge of the sea.” – Our State Magazine