This past week was our annual Thanksgiving holiday here in the US. It is a wonderful time to get together with friends and loved ones without all of the busy-ness and pressures that are associated with the upcoming Christmas holiday. Ordinarily, I travel to Indiana to spend this holiday with relatives on my mom’s side of the family. This year I was invited by my aunt on my dad’s side of the family to join them in Florida. When I was younger, our family used to travel down to Florida frequently to visit, but I hadn’t been there in years. The last time I saw my aunt and cousins was in 1995! What a wonderful opportunity to get reacquainted and catch up. Also, even though I had been back from the trip to Turkey and Lebanon for a full 3 weeks, I didn’t feel fully recovered. I needed a vacation from my vacation!
My aunt rented a beach cottage on Sanibel Island that was within walking distance of her house. My cousin, her daughter and I stayed there, while my other cousin and his wife stayed with my aunt. So there was a lot of going back and forth, especially on Thanksgiving Day with the meal preparations. The weather was ideal, and it was so nice to reminisce about our childhoods. Activities included a lot of walking on the beach, a boat trip to an island north of there to a great seashell hunting beach, lots of good food, and my favorite, birding at the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which was just a 5 minute drive away. Sanibel Island has numerous wildlife refuges, and the bird watching was superb. Below are some photos.