The best vacations leave a little sea-breeze in my world. That unfettered feeling of life without chores, life to be lived for adventure, days to be filled with memories rather than to-do-lists, is wonderful. Not to be left behind entirely. We had a great trip. We visited Big Sur, the aquarium, My Museum, consignment stores, and more. The fog was constant. Damp, clinging, sweatshirt fog that we haven't seen here in the foothills for months. We drove to Big Sur to chase the sun. We visited the River Inn that hugged the banks of a river-creek with Adirondack chairs in the burbling current. Ian played happily along the bank and on grassy stretches. We took inner tubes and an inflatable boat up-river to ride the gentle current through rapids just fast enough to make Anika and I laugh uncontrollably as the boat spun against a rock or drifted under low-growing branches.
We visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium one morning. Mornings along Cannery Row work well for parking with a disabled placard before the metered spots fill. We visited the new seahorse exhibit. Pretty. Played in the Splash Zone. Then, by the big tank, Anika shouted, "My tooth!" She had a loose tooth all week and there by the big tank it finally came out. She calls it her shark tooth because she lost it by the shark tank and it has a sharp edge.
We left at 1 when it the crowds really started. Luck was with us as that night was the aquarium members' picnic. Our family is members so we brought our sandwiches and ate in front of the big tank. Ian sat in front of the tank where tuna cruised past looking huge in front of his small body. We then explored tanks where crowds usually stood two or three people-deep. We ened in the splash zone again. Ian stood on his very tip-toes straining to reach his little fingers up to the fish fountain. And I remember Anika standing there the same way, reaching her own tiny hand into the water. Now she towered over the babies and quickly left to play in the big kids playground. Time slips like so much water through our hands. We cannot hold on.
Anika's highlight of the trip was My Musuem, a museum just for kids. The wide tall room features a treehouse, mini-golf holes, play-hospital, stage with backstage and constumes, mini-house, farm with Velcro food that can be harvested, a boat on a waterbed-ocean, and more. A craft area stuffed with resources is open for all ideas. Anika spent three hours running from area to area and still asks to go back tomorrow. One very cool thing was a camera creating kaleidoscopes, which we caught a couple of Ian. Every town needs a My Museum where kids delight in childhood. It was a real treat.
Another discovery was local consignment stores. We loved Plato's Closet, which featured fashions for young adults, but had racks of blue jeans and skirts and shirts that were not too young for me :). Even Anika found a couple of shirts to use as dresses. We also visited a kids consignment in Monterey which had great deals and a variety of goodies from strollers to toys.
We spent some time in Pacific Grove this trip, visiting the Natural History Museum there. Going to that museum brought me back in time a little, as many of the displays are dead-animals. The scent of old carpet and dusty feathers brought me back to museums of my childhood. The people there were marvelously involved, and volunteers helped Anika make toothpaste and cut geodes in half. It was a special day where we chose a few nondescript rocks and docents sawed them in half so we could discover the crystals inside. Beautiful.
That night we were again lucky to see the Festival of Lanterns in Pacific Grove. Houses around town hung lanterns around their gardens. Crowds gathered aong the beach by Lover's Point for a pageant featuring princesses and a swimming dragon that breathed smoke thanks to the rescue divers under the dragon-float. Afterwards, fireworks flared over the sky, popping snapping sizzling fireworks in rainbow colors.