Outside, the waves crashed on the shore, caressed by a gentle golf breeze. I, however, had the impeccably designed beach indoors — specifically, en suite white-tiled bathrooms next to my spacious bedroom — the dream look of a chandelier made of hundreds of beige shells hanging over the porcelain soaking tub. Maybe it was time for a lunch dip, I thought, to adjust the appropriate middle-aged tunic that I was wearing over my Capri pants. “This is my time,” I whispered in my glass of cold white wine. “My maturity, long independent woman. And I deserve it, ways. “
Then, as I was about to belt out the chorus of “Don’t Mount High enough” to brush my hair, I heard loudly arguing, followed by the sound of a bag of ripped Fritos open and singing to the term Rick and Morty. I Nancy Meyers is a fantasy film (to the The Holiday and Something must be given) reached a crashing stand. It’s hard to be a fancy Beach House Lady when your husband, young son, and elderly-citizen parents insist on joining you.
I decided to book our multigenerational stay off the Texas coast this spring after my vaxxed mom and dad told me they headed our way out of Nevada. My mom loves the water, and she hasn’t seen it, or us, in over a year. The Caribbean cruise was canceled long ago when they discovered that norovirus and a reputation for urinating in the pool was not the worst thing you could catch on board. I also wanted to make up for the last time all of us went to the Texas coast together. This time, we stayed in there Marin Lodge in Corpus Christi because my veteran military father got a good rate. If you’ve ever wanted to experience the equipment and poshness of a nuclear submarine, stay at a Marine Lodge. The front desk clerk handed a two-by-two-inch bar of soap and said, “Make it last.” This time we needed a place that fit both our joy of finally being reunited with our love of premium bath products.
On the advice of friends, I found a gorgeous rental in the “seaside village” of Cinnamon Shore, in Port Aransas, just a three-and-a-half hour drive from Austin. The cost per night for most of the offerings was more than I would usually pay for a vacation stay, but after the pandemic year we’d had, I decided to splurge for four nights in an almost brand-new, three-story house , just footprints from the Gulf.
For fifteen years, visitors have gathered at the original Cinnamon Shore resort, an upscale, pastel-colored vacation community on a thousand acres of beaches in Port Aransas. It looks at the design and concept of the WaterColor resort in Seaside, Florida, even down to the t-shirts at the gift shop. We chose to stay at Cinnamon Shore South-in-the-works, a new $ 1.3 billion, three-hundred-acre expansion located about a mile from the main office. Until the South’s food district, pool, and other amenities are open, guests are welcome to use the North’s three private pools, restaurants, and a supermarket. We didn’t mind the trips between the properties at all, mostly because my two sons were more than happy to blast proper songs in our resort’s rented golf cart while they zoomed along the sand, their grandparents holding on for love life many.
Like all Cinnamon Shore properties, the house we stayed in was beautifully, and professionally, decorated. I was relieved that my kids are not in the “must touch bright objects” phase or we would easily lose our rental deposit on a few crushed art objects. Kitchen cabinets in full glass in Rae Dunn beach-themed mugs or pieces mounted in coral, for example. (Keep that in mind if you’re traveling with curious toddler fingers — you’ll want to put things on higher shelves.) The interior design was like a spa visit for my senses after you even looked at my house wall for months. The aesthetic was so relaxing, in fact, with the multiple decks, comfortable couches, and sea view, that I continued to slip into my film imagination. And they continue to fail.
Like when I was in the spacious kitchen trying to cook dinner on bright yellow Italian-made Bertazzoni gas to fix. Meryl Streep would have sassily locked the crazy door with her hip while laughing with Rita Wilson about their many problems. “Nobody understands how hard it is to be a famous chef and author and castle owner!” I wanted to cheerfully announce with a drink in hand. What I actually said was, “How the hell does this thing heat up? Why not have a‘ popcorn ’button?” And it wasn’t just me confused in the kitchen; none of us were sophisticated enough to know how to turn on the oven. We spent a few hungry hours chatting, watching instructional YouTube videos, chatting again, and then finally calling the front office to send on someone to help us. It arrived with the easily lit professional-grade pilot light, and we then continued to warm up the $ 10 Costco Mac with the cheese meal we brought with us for dinner. We probably could have used candles to do the job. (Two seconds after the resort man left, my mom found the instructions crazy in a drawer.)
These doses of reality only remind me that wherever you go, you are who you are. Try as we might, we just aren’t the Kennedy family in our Cape Cod compound. But this fact worked in our favor as well. With 360 new homes rising in Cinnamon Shore South, continuous construction surrounded us during our stay, but we didn’t care. That’s because while my husband, mom, and I drank wine and built a puzzle, and my kids hung out upstairs in their private bunk-bed quarters, my dad happily sat in one of the chairs comfortable deck and look at the truck surely does its thing. “I’m going to go over them and talk to these guys,” he told us. “I have some questions about the processes!” Meryl definitely wouldn’t turn these lemons into construction-cat lemonade.
The best feature of the house, and Cinnamon Shore, is the proximity to the beach. Our house was literally stepping out of the water across a wooden path. My mother was thrilled. Every morning at 7 am, the resort put six bright-orange deck chairs and umbrellas in the sand, with our names on a small board, so there was no need to rush and rip them before someone else. That said, he was always out there at 7 am while I “slept in the best part of the day” like I did since I was a teenager. Because our visit was in the spring, the beach was windy, and not that hot, but that means it was also uncrowded and really peaceful. We sat by the water for hours, catching up on everything we’d missed over the past year so they weren’t together. We drank some strange agave wine my husband bought at HEB. And we went for a walk on the shore. Mostly, we let our shoulders fall away from our ears for a few days. (Note: the resort has reported record recordings for this summer, so if you’re looking for a similar experience, you might want to consider coming in the fall; Port A hosts both Texas SandFest and a music festival in October.)
We were happy to keep in mind and play our nightly games at Dysfunctional Family Vendors (this is actually a game we play), but there are enough opportunities for community and other family reunions at Cinnamon Shore, if you’re up for it. Things like yoga, kids activities, concerts, sandcastle lessons, surfing lessons, and movies on the lawn. It doesn’t bill itself as the Texas Coast’s original “New Urbanism” concept for anything. The resource is useful on arranging other extras as well, sometimes for a fee. Like the night we were s’mores on the beach after an employee built a fire in the sand and brought us all the supplies we needed. As I stood there watching my family, I was happy and relieved that we were once again together, and that we had this beautiful place to enjoy.
“That reminds me of that time my husband and I visited that monastery turning bakery in the south of France,” I whispered while looking at the flames. “We’ve never been to the south of France,” my husband whispered back before adding, “Look out, Diane Keaton. Your marshmallows are burning.”