An absolutely magical day in Cocoa Beach, Florida

The storm was a no show, so we decided to drive down to Cocoa Beach for the afternoon (which turned into the evening too, as one does). It’s now one of our favorite little towns in Florida.

This, my friends, is a schefflera tree. I am going to find one for our backyard. The leaves are incredible, the blooms even more so. I can’t even begin to describe how gorgeous this little courtyard was in person.

This is what was left of the storm off of the coast.

Elise was in love with this sunken sitting area along one of the sidewalks. She made us keep coming back to it throughout the day.

We stopped into El Bodegon, a Spanish restaurant, for a (very late) lunch of tapas. It is now my mission to return on a Friday evening to see their flamenco dancing.

Here are ham croquettes and lamb with chimichurri.

Squid (one of Elise’s favorites).

This was shrimp with a cheese mixture, 3/4 Manchego, 1/4 some sort of bleu cheese.

Stuffed mushrooms.

The interior of the restaurant.

One block of the city was covered in murals like this. It was impossible to get an image of the whole thing. The murals highlight the diversity of the people living in Florida and the natural world here.

This is a toy store, believe it or not. Annie’s Toy Store has a lot of classic toys, including logic-based board games and figurines of mythological creatures. It put Cocoa Beach on the map for Elise.

There was a store where all the art was made from natural elements. I was overwhelmed by the paintings where the birds and other creatures were made from real feathers and shells.

Break for Cuban coffee. I had never understood why the folks in the Caribbean drink hot drinks in the middle of the day, but now I think I get it… The caffeine helps wake your brain after being baked by the sun all day.

We spent hours in the Village Biergarten, mostly due to the musician that was playing (no, really). He taught all the kids present to play various traditional musical instruments from different cultures. It was an odd, impromptu educational experience for Elise. Here she is playing a washboard with another child. You can tell from the look on her face how much she enjoyed it.

One of those crazy Nordic horns. I have to say, I was not expecting the sound that came out of it.

Spaten and enormous pretzels.

Learning how to play a saw with a violin bow.

This is one of the windows from The Dinosaur Store, which is full of fossils and legitimate dinosaur bones. It was closed by the time we arrived, but we plan to return for this store alone.

Some wisdom from the beach.

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