Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

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The last day of our Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend was not only supposed to be the best weather-wise, it was my birthday, too!

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

Since my sister knows me (and my love of cake) so well, she made me a cake mini based on some of my recipes for breakfast!

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

She topped her cake minis with a warm blueberry topping. They were so good!

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

We soaked up the sun for most of the day. The weather was in the low to mid eighties, which was just right for our beach day. We hung out on the beach, swung by the pool, had a day-time drink (piña colada for me), and did our best to enjoy every fantastic minute.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

We kept lunch simple with leftovers from the previous days. I had spaghetti and meatballs. They were so good, I even enjoyed the leftovers!

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

And for dinner, we had a tasty soup with a side salad with chicken slices.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

And sis made me a two-tier cake mini for my birthday dessert!

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

It was so good, I didn’t want to stop eating it. Eventually, the plate was cleared of all cake and chocolate topping, so a stop was forced. Blast! The family was lucky I didn’t dig into theirs while they weren’t looking.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

In the morning, I took Bailey for a walk on the beach. I wanted to soak up every ounce of Kiawah Island that I could before the road trip home.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

And after a quick breakfast, it was time to say goodbye to Kiawah Island. Till next time!

Overall, we enjoyed a beautiful weekend at Kiawah Island that was made better by the company of my family, husband, and Bailey. The icing on the cake wasn’t chocolate or blueberry sauce. It was my sister planning and executing such a thoughtful and delicious menu the whole family could enjoy. She made a Google doc ahead of the weekend with every delicious meal planned out. No detail was too small, and the menu worked out great. Thanks, Sis!

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

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I almost didn’t take my DSLR camera on the boat ride at Mingo Point. I get kind of protective with my camera and the thought of anything happening to it made me a little nervous. But, the sun was starting to set, and I was hoping to get a couple good shots. Little did I know how many I’d take! We got to enjoy the most beautiful sunset on the marsh at Kiawah Island.

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

The sunset started off with a simple glow, but things really took off from there.

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

First we saw a full rainbow. As we continued down the marsh, the rainbow got brighter and more vibrant. I’d never seen a rainbow that was so clear and colorful.

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

And suddenly, the rainbow became a double-rainbow! The outer one wasn’t as vibrant, but it was also a full arch. Everyone on the boat tried to capture a photo, but we were too close to get the whole thing in one shot.

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

And as we continued, the sky caught on fire and glowed and glowed the whole way back to the pier.

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

We really lucked out with the timing of our boat ride. It couldn’t have been more perfect for so many amazing sunset photos! The views were truly breathtaking!

After the boat ride, we headed back to Mingo Point to grab dinner with the rest of the fam. So many great birthday treats in one day!

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

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After a great first day at Kiawah Island for my birthday beach weekend, I was looking forward to a relaxing Day 2. The weather called for rain all day, so I saved my bathing suit for the following day, which was supposed to be beautiful. Who’d have known that I’d actually capture some of my favorite photos of the trip on the rainy day, though?

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

{A preview of that evening}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Sis whipped up a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, and whole wheat pancakes with maple syrup.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

And for one of our meals out, we planned to visit my favorite Kiawah Island restaurant – Jasmine Porch for lunch.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Sis got the shrimp and grits.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Dad got the chickpea salad with grilled salmon. He’s mostly gone vegan but will eat fish once in awhile.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Mom and I got the same thing – Lunch on the Porch with crab cakes sliders, beet salad, and she crab soup. I opted for fries on mine. I actually got this last year, and it was so good, I wanted to enjoy it all over again.

Hubby got the sandwich with mahi mahi, bacon, lettuce, and tomato.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Jasmine Porch surprised me with a free birthday dessert – the chocolate mousse pie! They did something similar last year, and my Instagram photo was one of my favorites of the last trip. I actually ended up printing the photo on a sheet of Instagram photos for my Erin Condren Life Planner, which I placed on my birthday of this year’s calendar.

***

That night, we participated in an event at Mingo Point. To be honest, after being in the house relaxing during the rainy day, I wasn’t looking forward to doing something outdoors. We weren’t sure if the rain would hold off, and I hadn’t brought clothes for as cool a day as it was turning out to be. I’m so glad I went, though, because it was one of my favorite experiences of the weekend. Here are some photos from the night:

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

{Sangria}

***

After exploring the main area of Mingo Point for a bit, hubby, sis, and I went on a mini boat ride on the marsh. We wanted to go before dinner was served, but that boat was full, so we signed up for the next one. The timing worked out great for us because we got to enjoy the most beautiful sunset and saw a bonus surprise. I took so many photos, in fact, that I’m going to share those photos in a separate post. More photos on that next time!

***

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Back on land, dinner was served.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

They had a huge buffet set up with so many delicious options.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

We had a great meal of roasted pork, mahi mahi, rice, green beans, macaroni and cheese, and more. There was dessert on the buffet and I had a small slice of pecan pie. We thought we were done there, but then we remembered the fire pit from earlier and had to check it out.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Yes – s’mores!

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

We relaxed by the fire pit and just enjoyed the moment. It was very relaxing.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 2}

And we even had a special guest. I think this guy has done this before.

Thank you Jasmine Porch and Mingo Point for a great day of eats and relaxation!

***

Thanks for stopping by. Check back next time for photos from the boat ride on the marsh!

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

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When my parents first suggested going to Kiawah Island for my birthday weekend, I scoffed at the idea. To me, the beaches near Charleston (Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, etc.) were easier and faster to get to, so why bother driving an extra 30 minutes? Though I love road trips, I don’t like being in the car longer than I need to be. But, when I went to Kiawah Island for my birthday last year, I fell in love with the place. I couldn’t wait to go back, and I took off extra days this year to enjoy the island a little longer.

Last year, we made the mistake of planning to eat out for most of the meals. There aren’t many restaurants at Kiawah Island, and they’re all pretty pricey. Luckily, if you stay in a house or villa with a kitchen and plan ahead, you can enjoy home-cooked meals on the island. My sister took the lead on planning an efficient and delicious set of meals for our entire vacation, and she did a fantastic job. I can’t wait to share photos from the weekend of the beach and the eats!

Here are some photos from the first day. We got a later start than we expected on Thursday, so we only had time to enjoy dinner and head to bed. So, I’ll count Thursday night and all day Friday as “day 1″…

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Sis planned a light dinner for Thursday of chickpeas over bulgar.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

We had fried plantains for dessert.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

One of my favorite things about Kiawah is the lush scenery. There are tree-covered paths and boardwalks all around. If you stay in the right place, the beach is a short walk away.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

On Friday, we started with fresh-baked zucchini muffins, sausage, and spinach-pepper omelets.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

We lucked out on the weather. It was supposed to rain all day, but we caught some sunshine in the morning. It was just enough to hit up the beach for a couple hours.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

We thought we may be able to use these beach chairs, but they had reserved signs on them. There was plenty of space on the beach to spread out.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Mine?”

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

For lunch, we had breaded chicken, beans from the garden, and mashed potatoes with vegan gravy.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Yum!

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

After lunch, sis and I headed out for a bike ride around the island.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

We had pasta for dinner – vegan for dad.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

And sis went above and beyond and baked bread from scratch! She made two loaves of delicious rye bread.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

While dad had vegan pasta with whole wheat noodles, the rest of us had fresh-spaghetti with homemade meatballs.

We were off to a wonderful weekend already! I’ll share the rest of the photos soon!

Thanks for stopping by!

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

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For the last day of our Zumba Convention road trip, we originally planned to just hit the road straightaway. But, after getting rained out the day before, we decided to spent just a short time at the beach before heading home.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

The Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort is beautiful, and of course the weather was just perfect on the day we were leaving. From the beach to the pools, I definitely want to come back here!

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

We decided to hit up the Omni’s Sunrise Café for a quick breakfast. I had no intentions of getting the breakfast buffet, but I decided to take a look at it out of curiosity. The Omni’s breakfast buffet turned out to be the best breakfast buffet I think I’ve seen, mostly because of all of the health-conscious options, homemade goodies, and local choices. I had to try it!

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

Look at this cool honeycomb contraption.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

The honey drips down and into this little jar. I took a small spoonful to put on top of some oatmeal. I love honey in oatmeal.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

Do you see what I see? Almond milk, Chobani, and another great yogurt option. I don’t see these options often…maybe it’s where I live and travel, but still. I was impressed.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

{Healthy dried fruit cereal toppings}

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

{Homemade granola – nice!}

I added some of the homemade granola to my plate to taste. It was delicious!

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

I wanted a little bit of everything on this line of hot food, but I was short on stomach space. I did try the grits, which came from the Carolinas!

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

Steel cut oatmeal is always a nice touch in my opinion. They had some great toppings just next to the big pot of oats, including some whole pecans.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

If I remember correctly, many of these breads are baked on site.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

I think they made some of the jams, too.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

{Pastries and specialty butters}

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

One of the best features of the Sunrise Café is that it’s on the beach side of the Omni Amelia Island, so you get a great view of the ocean…and if you wake up early enough – the sunrise.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

Sarah got the French toast, which looked absolutely delicious and came with some sort of peach topping.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

I didn’t take pictures of it, but there was also a cool omelet bar where you could get some great mixins, including local shrimp. I went for spinach, ham, cheddar cheese, and onions.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

I only wished I had room to eat more. Everything looked so delicious.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

{The view from our hotel room}

After a quick change, we headed to the beach.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

I loved the canopy-covered beach chairs.

The beach was lovely – the sand, the breeze, the water! It was tough to leave, but soon enough, it was time to head home.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

And I used one of the beach photos to create a quote graphic with a line from one of my favorite songs.

With our 2014 Zumba Convention road trip done, I was feeling very thankful for the whole experience. Everything happened so fast, it was almost like a dream. I did my best to enjoy every moment, and there were many to love.

Until next year!

Check out my other 2014 Zumba Convention Road Trip Posts:

Thanks for reading!

Verandah Restaurant, Amelia Island

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After leaving Zumba Convention 2014, we headed north towards the last stop of our 2014 Zumba Convention road trip – Fernandina Beach, FL, which is on Amelia Island. We decided to stay at one of the hotels I’d researched previously – the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort.

Verandah Restaurant, Amelia Island

We’d planned to spend some QT on the beach, but almost as soon as we went out on the sand, a huge storm rolled in and we got rained out. So, we headed back to the room to plan dinner. We had no reservations at the time, so we had plenty of options to choose from. I remembered enjoying all the restaurants hubby and I had visited the year before in the downtown area of Amelia Island. But, with the storm going on, we decided to stay on the Omni grounds. They Omni had a sprawling area of restaurants, shops, and activities. I hadn’t realized how much the Omni had to offer until we got there. Bonus – everything was available via a free shuttle bus.

After researching the Omni restaurants, we decided to check out Verandah Restaurant since they were the one with the signature of using local ingredients. After experiencing dinner there, I can say we made the right choice.

Verandah Restaurant, Amelia Island

One of the things that drew me to their menu was their cocktail menu. They had some really unique combinations. I tried the Stormy Chai, which was really refreshing.

Verandah Restaurant, Amelia Island

Sarah and I spotted several things we wanted to try on Verandah’s regular menu, but we couldn’t pass on the Verandah Sunday Supper – multiple courses for only $24. It was a steal.

Verandah Restaurant, Amelia Island

We started with Verandah Restaurant’s house cornbread, yeast rolls, and signature corn coup. The bread came with butter with black salt on top, which was a luxurious and flavorful touch. I remembered seeing the corn soup on the menu and thinking it sounded interesting but not like something I would normally order. I would have been mistaken for not trying this one. It was delicious. I loved everything about it – the flavor, the texture, the creaminess, and how you could dunk pieces of the cornbread into the soup (a tip from our awesome waiter).

Verandah Restaurant, Amelia Island

The simple salad (succotash greens, and red wine vinaigrette) was light but tasty. The succotash seemed like another signature item, so I was glad we got to try it. Succotash seems like one of those things that can often be overcooked, but this was version was nice and crisp-tender.

Verandah Restaurant, Amelia Island

The real statement came with the next course. The main dishes were stacked on cylindrical pieces of wood for a beautiful presentation. The sides were served just in front. Everything tasted as good as it looked. For the sides, we had: mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts. At the top, you see local fried shrimp and pimento cheese hush puppies (oh yes, they went there!). The mains were pepper crusted steak and mahi mahi.

Upon ordering, our waiter told us the steak would be served medium rare. I know it’s not very foodie, but I like my steak medium well thanks to growing up eating steak cooked well done. Medium to medium well is about as rare as I get these days, though I’m working on going more rare. Since our waiter didn’t ask us how we wanted the steak, I figured I should just roll with it. I’m glad I did. I’ve had steak accidentally cooked less than medium before, and I wasn’t a fan. But this steak was perfect just like the chef made it. It was tender and delicious. Yup, Verandah’s chef made me like medium rare steak.

Sarah and I thoroughly enjoyed working our way through all the other dishes. We were at a food party, and we were partying hard, enjoying each and every bite.

Verandah Restaurant, Amelia Island

We were stuffed after the previous course, but we had to make room for dessert – banana pudding. I was glad this dessert was on the light side since I was already trying to figure out the best way to roll myself out of the restaurant. The banana pudding was the cherry on top of this fantastic meal. Somehow, we had little trouble finding space for this tasty dessert.

Before I wrap this post, I have to add that we loved the ambiance and service of Verandah. Our waiter took great care of us and the feel of the restaurant was upscale but still relaxed and somewhat casual – a tough balance. We liked how the restaurant was surrounded by lots of greenery. Sitting by the window, you almost felt like you were dining in a garden.

From the excellent service to the delicious food, we really enjoyed our dinner experience at Verandah Restaurant. The Sunday Supper is a great deal I recommend taking advantage of if you’re in the area and they’re still offering it. But, I’d absolutely come back here on any other night, deal or no deal, just to enjoy the food and overall dining experience.

Check out my other 2014 Zumba Convention Road Trip Posts:

Next time – my ideal breakfast buffet and a couple beach photos!

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