I am a beach girl through and through! I love the ocean and I always thought that I would live by the ocean in Virginia Beach where I grew up for the rest of my days!
I pictured myself living there, no more than 5 miles away from the boardwalk and the sand where I learned to walk and made memories before I can even remember them. But, it’s funny how life happens and where our adventures take our hearts.
Now here I am with my family… living a bit farther from the ocean and the sand than I ever initially pictured, but a beach girl in my heart!
This little town actually stole our heart in a weird kind of way. I remember my friends telling me the kind of peace and sense of well being they felt when they use to drive over that bridge to the Outer Banks or when they flew over their homes after visiting! I never fully understood that feeling! I understood it in the sense of I heard what they were saying and I was happy for them, so extremely happy for them that they had that kind of a place; a place of peace and solitude and comfort! It wasn’t until Tuck and I came back in January to look at potential houses and we drove into Celebration with it’s Spanish moss hanging in arches that I finally understood! I understood having a home away from my home. That’s when I knew our “let’s go look at potential houses” talk of moving that was pretty serious at the time, was actually extremely, put an offer down very serious!
I haven’t spoken much of this little town on the blog and maybe that’s because I still have such a deep rooted love for my home town. Maybe it’s because this place also feels so much like home to us and for some reason I don’t want to jinx it!
Celebration reminds me of a different time, a time when you and I grew up as kids! It’s a town where we know everyone and everyone speaks or waves hello (and just about everyone knows who Linc is!) The town itself is about 10 miles long and you can walk, run or bike anywhere you need to go! There are so many charming things about this small town that might sound silly to some but they are all things that I love; things that made us fall in love with this town! Things that I feel I will always appreciate!
- We have maybe at most 2 stop lights and both are as you enter our town! Once you are in the town, there are only stop signs! (I actually never noticed this, or even thought about it! Elizabeth Friske brought it up when she visited and now I never forget it!)
- There are NEV’s and NEV designated parking spots only! Those are the neighborhood electric vehicles and a lot of people drive them! (They look like golf carts!)
- Most people walk, ride bikes or NEV places! We typically ride bikes if we can.
- There is one school for K-8 and one HS. This was a huge bonus for us because it meant, and still means, that Linc will have a core group of buds that he will remain solid friends with for his life! The kids he is forming friendships with right now in pre-school will be his core group all the way through HS!
- The only place that has delivery is upper crust pizza! So there is no eating out for us unless we go out. Even still our options are limited unless we decide to venture out of the “bubble”. So this is great for our family, we actually cook and eat as family together more now and I love that!
- Neighbors! We actually live closer to each other here in Celebration but it’s a different feel! Every so often each of the “alleys” or courts have block parties and these are pretty huge! Four or five streets come together (animals included) and provide food, drinks, and activities for all the kids for hours! It’s really amazing! There is such a sense of neighborly kindness here and friendship. In fact… our neighbor and I constantly text each other “hey stalker!” and wave whenever we walk the dogs! It’s a running joke but we love it! In fact… I usually walk with her and run out of the house to chat with her when I see her!
- Trails: Our town shares a conservation so we have these amazing boardwalk trails that run all through our town! We have several lakes that lead into these trails as well that are meant for walking and biking. Along each path, the town has set up stations that are “pet friendly”. Linc loves to take Tipper on “alligator walks” as he calls them and there is nothing I cherish more than the time I have with him and the talks we share while we look at all the different wildlife we have! (And friends, wildlife we have from deer that you can basically touch to birds and bugs and snakes and turtles!)
- Silence!!!! This is a huge one and something I didn’t think I would really notice but I do!! There is no real noise at night and by noise I mean no sirens at all. There is no jet noise at all. The only sound I hear are the frogs and the cicadas and well the fireworks!
- Disney Fireworks!!! Ok I would be a liar if I didn’t admit the benefit of Disney! We are in Disney’s backyard and every night if the wind is right we can see (and hear no matter what) Disney and/or Epcot fireworks! We can also see the stars here! I could see the stars in Virginia Beach, of course! Here, they are just so different. I can see a lot more and it might be because we are farther back and there are less lights but the sky is a lot more clear!
- Downtown: Downtown Celebration is cool!!! It’s modeled after Main street in the Magic Kingdom ( I think… I heard that somewhere and it may just be a rumor so don’t bet your life on that). It’s pretty awesome though and the colors remind me a lot of Charleston, SC! I adore that we can bike there, grab ice cream at Kilwins and then let Linc splash in the fountain until he wears himself out and then bike home!
- Celebrations!! Ok this is obvious the town is named Celebration! We haven’t quite been here for a celebration yet but I”m incredibly excited for this! We hear that Halloween is a big grande affair and we saw a taste of it when we were down here last year! The decorations in this town are amazing and the town goes all out! Several of the houses are featured on those crazy TV shoes for how amazingly crazy they get for both Halloween and Christmas. We know they have a fall celebration where the leaves fall from lanterns downtown; and also it “snows” in or snopes in the winter with a complete ice skating rink as well! These are all a part of the reason we chose to move down here because celebrations like this are all a part of the experience I had as a child growing up and I wanted Linc to have that!
- The town was built for community! The weather and the houses and the landscape of the town all has a purpose and it’s meant to create a sense of togetherness and community. Each village has a pool and a park and is meant to bring neighbors and kids together. This weekend for example, Tuck had to work so Linc and I spent the weekend at the pool and met so many new friends. Every night is a gathering whether you intend it to be or not. Play dates happen on the regular whether you intentionally set out to have one or it just happens by itself because the community lends itself for socialization! I love this and it’s been so great for our family! We walk out our door and find ourselves in bike rides with play mates or pool dates with friends and it gets us out of our house! I am a homebody by nature and sometimes I tend to want to hide in the house (and I did in our house in VB). Here, we have to walk our dog and we have to venture outside and when we do, we see everyone else walking their pets and taking their toddlers with them and magic just happens from there! Homebodies just aren’t really allowed here!
This move has taught me so much. Before, I always thought that I would live in Virginia Beach forever. I felt that because it was my home and because it was my heart! Moving will never change that! What moving taught me was that it’s ok to be adventurous and just like they say in one of my favorite movies “It’s ok to have roots and wings!” Can anyone guess what movie that’s from!!!
There are so many wonderful things this move has done for our family! We have been able to slow down a bit here and really take advantage of some great quality time together doing things outside with friends and away from electronic devices! It’s taught me that the rush and hustle and bustle of the creative work world will wait! My family is so important and these years, well they won’t wait!
Our house here is much smaller than our house in Virginia Beach… and you know what, we love that! We wanted that! It isn’t about the house friends. It’s about the people inside the house and the memories you create with them!
It isn’t about the stuff friends… it’s about the moments you make with the stuff whether that’s a cardboard box or a million dollars worth of the newest and greatest toys! My kid prefers a box honestly! Well that’s not entirely true, Linc prefers a mud puddle that he can sling against our back door window which he did just Monday!
Our little town is all of that… it’s mud puddles and friends that run half naked in the street! It’s barefoot alligator walks while we chase lizards and hunt for squirmy wormies! It’s back alley block parties and one stop light waving!
I love it all… and am grateful for it all! The ocean will always call to my heart but it’s OK… it’s either an hour drive away or a flight home!
Here are some of of favorite things to do and see around our town!