During our Labor Day courtes vacantes, nothing could have been better. For those three days, time slowed to a familiar and comfortable cadence, and my mind put on its blinders. Few activities seemed as important as waking with the sunlight, running along the low tide of the Atlantic, and traipsing out to sunbathe late afternoon, at the sun’s lowest intensity.
For me, my parents, my mate Stephen, and our many guests over the past two years, our beach cottage is cheerful and endearing. A pleasant change from life in more modern, sterile structures. It is rustic, enough to remind us of the oppressive humidity and various insect species native to North Florida, but not so much as to be uncomfortable.
There is a formula to a relaxing beach vacation, and so far as you don’t focus too closely on the surroundings, Crescent Beach satisfies the equation.
It is, quite on purpose, idyllic. The small community at the intersection of A1A and CR 206 has been kept low-density for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the Hamilton Family. They’re local landowners, activists, real estate mavens, small business owners, and political renegades. They are vocal, and unafraid to advocate for preservation of what was present before humans occupied the area.
My mom grew up with two of the Hamilton brothers, hence our close familial ties to them throughout my entire life.
The beach itself is quite pleasant too. Wide tracts of powdery white sand separate massive dunes from a salty, wavy surf that is more appropriate for getting a good workout than floating on an inner tube. Head to the Gulf for that!
If you enjoy tattooed muscular blue collar men, a special aesthetic and intrinsic part of North Florida, you will also enjoy the St. Johns County public beaches. 4×4 trucks abound. This is not South Beach, with all its glitz and plastic.
Our house, on Cubbedge Road, completes the ambiance of purity. It is not particularly plush, but rather airy and mostly a beachy shade of white. It creaks and smells like a hundred year old cottage should. My parents recently added a record player to the house’s amenities, furthering the sense of time travel one gets while staying there.
I find it captivating, the way you need vacation lodging to be.
Leave the immediate neighborhood, and you find yourself back in metropolitan North Florida. Which is not a compliment. I find it mostly depressing, all strip malls and oppressive heat. To each his own, but it would not be my choice. I don’t think it would be my parents’ either, were it not for the haven of Crescent Beach.
The distinctive experience that is this small community, and on a greater level, staying at 251 Cubbedge, can only be described as rhythmic. As in, slower than almost anywhere else I have ever been. And in this modern life, of warp speed and immediate gratification, such a change is welcome.