The second week of our trip was spent in Stuart, Florida, up near West Palm Beach on Florida's west coast. Marcus's uncle and his wife have a great house there that they'll live in full-time when his aunt retires in a couple of years. On the drive down from Ft. Lauderdale, we stopped at a very cool kid's museum:
Marcus also had a good time:
He got really good at making enormous bubbles! At one point, there was even a crowd of kids just standing there watching him. I thought he should have gotten commission, but the smile on his face was enough. He needed this break like you wouldn't believe.
On our first night in Stuart, we all met up with Marcus's aunt and uncle and their puppy, Lucy, for a great dinner at Pelican Cafe, right on the water. Dean was on the best behavior we've ever seen from him in a restaurant. He snuck fries to Lucy under the table, talked to everyone, watched the boats pull into the marina, read some books, played with Batman toys and ate nearly every bite of his dinner. He even tried some of his G-Mama's coconut crusted mahi mahi and liked it! After dinner, we went for a walk on the dock, then played on the playground. All the playgrounds in Stuart have sand. Dean does not like sand in his sandals.
Our week was spent visiting different beaches, exploring Stuart, which is now where I'd like to retire, and fishing from the backyard:
What a view! The only bad thing about this place was that I had a slight heart attack every time Dean left the screened-in porch because I was CERTAIN he and his fearless half-fish self were going to dive head-first into the river. We made him wear his life vest, which went over about as well as you'd think it would, and just hovered over him like freaks every time he was out back.
This house was...interesting. We had read all about it online, even seen some pictures before selecting this one to rent. (My MIL had ultimate responsibility for choosing the house, but we got to chime in.) We knew it had an above-ground pool, which probably would be ok for us to wade in with Dean. When we arrived, we saw a pool that looked a bit like an oil drum and had no way for you to get into it. No ladder, steps, not even a sturdy rope. We quickly abandoned the idea of swimming. The house also had a trampoline. I"m not the biggest fan of them and Marcus HATES them, so we weren't ecstatic when Dean wanted to jump. Fortunately, this one had a big white circle right in the middle, so we could have Dean stand in the circle to jump. He immediately requested that Marcus and I jump with him, which we did a couple of times and which turned all of our feet, legs and the butts of our pants BLACK. (it came out with some Oxy Clean) One night he beeeegggggeeedddd to jump, so I got up there with him. First jump? FIVE SPRINGS flew off into the yard. The sucker was dry-rotted. And that, friends, was the end of trampoline time.
The inside of the house was, how you say?, DATED.
This four-foot-tall lamp and her sisters, the driftwood lamps, complete with creepy fake birds perched on them, were among my favorite decorations. There was also a gramophone (not just a record player, a GRAMOPHONE), a vintage sewing machine, bamboo furniture and this gem:
That is a 1968 Fridgidaire Flair Range. (The stove pulls out of the drawer below.) My great-grandma had one just like it. It. Is. A. MAZING! Yes, it still works, though you need an advanced degree in engineering to figure out which knob does what.
I think my favorite part of our Stuart trip were our visits to Indian Riverside Park. They have a kids' museum, which we never actually made it into, a spash park, a small beach and a great pier. There are tons of gazeboes for shade and clean restrooms. Dean enjoyed splashing around in the water park and we spotted several dolphins off the pier.
There were also some IN YOUR FACE nature moments, like the afternoon this manatee showed up right behind the house:
Florida also has its fair share of lizard-like creatures, including this little guy:
It was a fantastic, relaxing week in an absolutely adorable town. I'd go back in a heartbeat. (Like, now, please.)
Next time, I'll tell you about Thurston and Gladys (not their real names....at least I don't think so), the people who own the yacht parked outside the house!