Anna Maria Island with miles of white sandy beaches, crystal clear gulf waters and fabulous seafood restaurants is one great place to visit. I always look for accommodations that have that feeling of "old Florida" with a laid-back linger-longer sort of style in peaceful cottages. No highrises or condominiums for this beach goer. No, I look for wood floors, lots of windows, porches, foundations built off the ground, small properties and lots of lush foliage. If you are a regular reader of Hoe and Shovel you will remember that I am a Florida native and a lover of all things "beach". Which makes it a good thing I live in Florida.
Hubby and I are beginning to fit right in with the 'snow-birds' making our weekend get-away trips to beaches in the winter like all the northerners. While I recommend our beaches anytime of the year (except July and August when the heat makes it a lot less fun) the winter is a perfect time to enjoy Florida's great beaches. I can see why it is the height of tourist season.
As a side note: Just in case you want to plan a trip to Florida- the fall is a beautiful time to be on the sand and surf too and the rates drop dramatically.
This past weekend we stayed on Anna Maria Island. The weather was 'Florida perfect' with 50's at night which gives us cool mornings and 70's by mid-day. A Floridian couldn't ask for more!
The simple garden pathway leading to the beach from our cottage.
A pleasant 1.5 hours drive south of the Tampa Bay Area you will find what I conclude as some of the best coastline beaches in Florida. We often make day trips to this area due to the convenience and smaller town feel as compared to the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area in Pinellas County. Don't get me wrong, there are some wonderful places there, too. We just prefer Manatee County beaches.
The private area for sunbathing. I took this photo very early before the loungers stake their claim to a chair.
If this powdery white sand with tracks in it were not dappled with sea oats and gulf waters in the background one might mistaken it for snow. It's what I think of when I see it anyway.
Laughing Gulls making their squawky music together in their early morning glee. Or maybe that was me with the glee and the birds with their squawking???
We witnessed an extraordinary sunset as so often happens this time of year. This is the beginning of how it unfolded on this crisp, clear Saturday evening.
In the minutes prior to the sun rotating out of sight all the wildlife seems to come alive with activity. The birds are especially visible scouting about for their last meal of the day.
It was one of those sunsets that painted the sky from its setting-position to the other side of the horizon with vivid pinks, purples, orange colors & cloud designs --we couldn't stop ooooing and awwwing. "Oh, look over there." "Wow, look up at that cloud now." "Look, look how deep those colors have gotten." And on it goes admiring the handiwork of God.
As is the case so often with sunsets here-- the variations of color progress and evolve long after the sun is set. As every minute passes, more color and deeper colors appear.
So refreshing is the sun, the sand beneathe my feet, the salty air, the birds and their song. My soul is renewed from the rest, the walks on the beach, the uninterrupted lounging and reading, the lush tropical greenery and flora that accompanies beach habitat.
I'll post next on the birds, trees and such... stay tuned for part 2.