Now a report about my fabulous vacation:
I had a wonderfully relaxing time. I read a book and started another. Finished a cross stitch project. Took 3 bubble baths and a few naps. Slept in a couple of mornings. Watched a few movies on TV. Scott enjoyed jogging on the beach a few times. And we hit the hot tub a couple of times. I loved walking on the beach and also finding shells and watching the ocean.
Before I left I had very different expectations of what our vacation would be. I imagined myself sunning and reading on the beach and swimming in the waves of the ocean. Also swimming in the pool at the resort. I was looking forward to canoeing down a river (something I had read about)and seeing all kinds of alligators in the wild. It wasn't quite like that, as the weather was cold. But it was still a great vacation.
It was so fun to get off of the plane in Tampa and see more than gray skies and grayish snow. There were green trees everywhere. So beautiful. After eating and driving to Sarasota, we spent the first evening checking into our condo and then buying groceries for the week--mostly snacks (because of course we want to eat out)but also a meal for Sunday. We stayed at the Suntide Island Beach Resort on Lido Beach.
On Sunday morning we found a church to attend and went to sacrament meeting and then drove a little to sight see. Then we went back and walked along the beach and then read and took naps on the beach. It was a little chili but still great! The beach is about 150 steps from our condo door. Later Scott made dinner while I napped some more on the bed.
It was very sunny, yet not really warm. They say it is the coldest here that it has been in years. But it was still lots warmer than Utah! And so colorful.
Monday we drove to the other side of the state to the Atlantic coast (Vero Beach) to meet one of Scott’s clients and have lunch with him. He is a talker for sure. Interesting business was discussed, much of I didn’t understand, but it was entertaining and the food was good. We ate the Oceanside Grille, which was right on the beach and I enjoyed watching the waves crash. After lunch and we said our goodbye’s, Scott and I hit the beach with our swim suits. What I have been waiting for! I only got a little bit wet but had a great time taking pictures and enjoying the whole of it. Scott ended up diving in head first. I wasn’t that brave. Mostly because its not that warm and we didn’t bring towels. I should have taken this opportunity to hit the waves though because that was the warmest day we had.
Tuesday we mostly stayed in. It was way windy. I was amazed at how big the waves were on the beach! I much enjoyed a very lazy day of reading and cross stitching and watching TV. Scott worked some. We went to dinner and did some shopping.
Wednesday we went to Mixon Fruit Farms and took a tour of the orange groves and also saw some animals they keep there in a animal rescue place on the orchard. And guess what! We did see an alligator, Wally. But he was in the pond too, so our tour guide, Justin, who happens to be the animal rescue guy, walked into the pond (which is enclosed by a fence) and pulled Wally out by his tail. But Wally kept going back in and wouldn't stay out to entertain us. It was quite a show watching Justin try to get the alligator out of the pond. Finally after about 10 or 15 minutes he apologized and we went on to the other animals, which included a deer, a raccoon, a possum, an owl and falcon or hawk. Most of the animals he takes home and they sleep in his house. Hmmm. He said there are usually a few other reptiles there but they are home in his living room because its too cold for them. Anyway, the orange place was pretty cool. We got samples of different citrus fruits they grow there, like tangelos and kumquats, and had orange juice and grapefruit juice as well as orange swirl ice cream.
We went to Myakka State Park on Thursday where there is a lot of wildlife, including alligators. But wouldn't you know it, it was too cold for the alligators. They were all hiding in the water where they could stay warm. We saw birds and squirrels. Cool birds though, like herons and egrets. We also got to walk along the trees on a canopy walk (photo below) and climb above the trees up a 74 ft tower. Pretty cool, as long as you didn't think about being up high. The forest of palm trees and other trees we were in is called a hammock. We rented a canoe but never got past the lake to the river--the river seemed too far and a lot of effort to get to, and we figured there weren't any alligators to see anyway. So we just canoed around in the lake for a while and enjoyed the sun.
Later that evening (or late afternoon) I spent a lot of time on the beach. I had my sweatshirt and jeans and tennis shoes on but I loved just watching the waves and the little birds and seaguls. I also picked up lots of shells.
Friday we enjoyed Sarasota Jungle Gardens. Also known as the "zoo"logical gardens. We saw all different varieties of trees and plants, as well as reptiles and birds. We got to "pet" an American Alligator and saw two crocodiles. My favorite though was the flamingos. They let you get right next to them and even jabbered at us. Photos are below.
It warmed up on Saturday and we spent an hour or so on the beach up north from where we stayed and then drove to the airport to return to winter and our kids. It was a great week, but it's always good to get home to your own bed.