The Adventures of BJ and Tony Morris

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St. George Island, Florida, USA
December 2011
"Beauty and the Beach"

We bought a BEACH HOUSE!!! We spent a number of years looking at beach property in various locations (Ireland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida). We finally settled on the Panhandle. First we bought a lot in Carrabelle, Florida, planning to build our dream home on it, but after many iterations of house plans and cost estimates, we decided the dream house would have to wait.

We found that there were furnished vacation rental homes right on the beach on St. George Island for less than we would spend to build a house on a lot we already owned. Our friends already owned a house on St. George Island which they had shared with us many many times over the years, so we knew we loved the island. We fell in love with "Beauty and the Beach", a short sale near the center of the island. We made an offer in June and after a bit of bargaining, had a contract with the owners in July. Since it was a short sale, we then had to wait for bank approval which didn't come until late September. Closing was in mid-October. We actually got to stay at the house the night before closing, and then not again until December because it was already rented out. We hadn't considered having a vacation rental property, but we decided we liked having someone else help us pay our bills, since we weren't planning to live there full-time (yet) anyway.

There were a few things we wanted to change about the house. The steps from the beach only had access to the lower deck, so the only entry from the beach was through the master bedroom. 

We thought this was unacceptable so we contracted to have the upper and lower decks expanded and steps added to the upper deck so beach goers could enter through the family room. This construction would take a few weeks and since we couldn't have renters in it during that time due to the liability, it was a great time for us to get to use the house. We blocked it for 3 weeks in December for the work. While it was blocked, we decided to have the worn carpet in the bedrooms replaced with tile. There was also a bit of touching up & minor repairs for us to do while there.

We loaded up the van with everything we could think of that we might need for a 3 week stay & drove down together. We dropped a car at the Atlanta airport since Tony would need to fly home to work during the week and come back down for the weekend.

The first week, BJ and the pets holed up in the Den while the workmen worked on the tile and the deck. Sleeping on the hide-a-bed revealed another item for our to-do list! Get a better mattress for the hide-a-bed!

BJ discovered the "Circle of Friends" that meets on Thursday nights. It is hosted by "Sometimes It's Hotter" and is a great place to meet locals and tourists alike. It is pet friendly so Lucy got to go too!

The tile guys finished up quickly so we were able to invite our friends Bobby & Wendy down for the weekend. We had a great time enjoying surprisingly warm weather for December. We enjoyed oysters at Eddy Teach's with Lucy in tow.

We took a walk on the old bridge that is now a fishing pier, and spent some time sitting on the beach soaking up some rays.

After the weekend, BJ and the pets were alone again with the workmen. A few tourists showed up at the surrounding houses and they made some friends.

BJ and Lucy took long walks on the beach picking up shells and studying the giant jellyfish that had washed up.  Some of them were bigger than Lucy!

There was a mix-up about the railings on the deck and the PVC ones we wanted were not available, so we had to settle for wooden ones until the PVC ones came in. That meant we would have to block the house again later to have them replaced. Darn. Another week at the beach. Poor us.

Tony made it back down on Christmas Eve and we spent a quiet night at the house. Christmas Day, there was a pot-luck dinner at Eddy Teach's. We took sweet potato casserole, deviled eggs & coleslaw. Our friends Pat and Steve came down in time for the feast. There was a huge spread and a great musician.

BJ's sister and her husband came down the day after Christmas to spend the week with us. Poor Tony had to go back home to work after the weekend.

BJ's college friend and her family were staying on Cape San Blas, less than an hour away, so BJ, Mary Jane, and Robert drove over to visit. On the way home, they stopped so Robert could find a few geocaches.

Christmas eve, there was to be a huge bonfire on the beach sponsored by the Civic Club. We enjoyed a glass of champagne at sunset and then spent the rest of the evening dancing around the bonfire.

New Year's Day, we packed up and began the 6 hour drive home.  Goodbye Beauty and the Beach.  We'll be back soon!

See our next Beauty and the Beach Adventure!

If you are interested in learning more about being one of our rental guests, please visit 'Beauty and the Beach" on facebook, or at one of the websites below:

BJ and Tony