Welcome to my "Florida" blog

Being a third generation Florida native, I'm completely enamored with the diverse beauty of this gorgeous peninsula. For most of the year the weather is divine which makes exploring its unlimited nooks and crannies fun and easy.

Wherever I go I appreciate nature and the world around me. Come along with me as I share the places I visit and perhaps a few other amusements I find interesting along the way.

(FYI: Every post prior to January 1, 2009 was previously published and imported from my garden blog)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Unspoiled Paradise

This is the first official post ever on this new blog created January 1, 2009. All but the "under construction" posts previous to this one have been imported from my gardening blog, Hoe and Shovel. If you read back through some of those writings there will most likely be reference to my garden.


We had a Happy New Year much the same as every other year. Only this year our grand children were staying with us the day before and the following day. When once they were all picked up and all was quiet again Mr. Meems parked himself in a garden chair on the back patio and decided we should leave immediately to drive south.
We like to find Florida getaways that are quiet. Places that have resisted time and places where the crowds don't go.... out of the way of the ordinary hustle and bustle.
We'd been talking about checking out Manasota Key but hadn't made our way down there yet. So... on the road we went with very little notice, mind you, to get ready.
Now the whole thought of "Honey, pack your bag and be ready in two hours" might sound romantic to some and in theory I can see why. BUT, anyone who knows me, knows I'm a pragmatic sort and I like to be prepared. It wasn't as easy as all that to just pack my bag (I could only take one) on the spur of the moment and gallivant away leaving all my lists and things to do for another day.
It's good to get out of our comfy places sometimes, right? So, I went along with my man's impromptu ideas and knew I'd be glad I did.

Was I ever!
For some reason the seven miles of Manasota Key, bordered by the Gulf of Mexico on the west and the intercoastal waterway on the east, is virtually a hidden and untouched paradise.

No high rise condos. No restaurants. No traffic lights.
This quaint, magical place gives one very much an "Old Florida" feel while traveling through on its one road. It reminded me of days gone by when as a child my family spent weekends on Boca Grande Beach and there was absolutely nothing there but us and the mosquitoes. Lots of them I might add.
We found the only 12 room, recently renovated, old hotel on the entire strip of beach and snagged a room for the night. From our front door you can see the view (above) to the south. Doing a little snooping we discovered the only reason the hotel was even there was the fact that it was "grandfathered-in" to the residential area since it had been in existence before many of the current homes on the beach.

A stroll at dawn on any beach is teeming with birds and wildlife coming alive as the sun crests from the east.

There is something inside of me that comes alive when I'm at the beach. The smells, the sounds, the life, the water... all nurturing the deepest parts of my soul. It is a world a million miles away from the usual-ness of everyday life.

I wouldn't say our accomodations were the most lavish but they were right on the Gulf of Mexico. Our room was not more than 50 feet from the water's edge. A hammock was perfectly situated along the side path shaded by the tall and lush seagrapes.

Blooms from some kind of succulent. Whatever it was, they were crammed in and standing tall along with all the other naturally growing foliage that camouflaged the enormous homes facing the beach side.

Bouganvilleas are blooming everywhere right now. So many colors of them in every imaginable hue. Many like this one overflowing from high walls and billowing out into the landscape creating a tropical feast for the eyes.

An abundance of tropical foliage and live oak trees were plentiful on oversized pieces of property where the enormous homes had been built not to disturb the natural setting.

We took the long way home the next day. Choosing outdoor eateries and driving north through all the coastal towns. Feeling the warm breeze on our faces we breathed in the refreshing winter air. The beaches were crowded with tourists thrilled to be in their bathing suits and basking in the sunny Florida rays.

It was well worth being caught off guard and deciding to go along with Mr. Meems' unplanned plan. See, even after all these many (many) years, we are still surprising each other!


Patricia said...

How perfectly delightful. This looks like our kind of place, Meems. I have the feeling that this blog of yours will be my favorite!

Sunita said...

Ditto what Patricia said ... looks like my kind of place! I love what you've started over here, Meems. Have fun with your new blog (no, you can never have too many of them!).

Anonymous said...

Well, I have to say I am partial to this new blog of yours ;) Florida is a beautiful place, isn't it? I love it here. I can't wait to read more of your Florida blog.


Meems said...

Patricia, Great! I hope you visit often and I hope I can keep it up. LOL

Sunita, Blogs are too much fun... also too much time. Ha. Thanks for coming over for a visit.

Susie, I do love my Florida which was the inspiration for this new blog.Look forward to you enjoying it with me.

seniorgardner said...

i first thought i had been missing something for the last year or so! i found this blog by accident from another family member's site! this blog is going to be so interesting, since i don't really garden as much as i used to, but i love my native state of birth! and your trips into places and byways i have never even seen before after seven decades of residency in Florida is like a travelogue of discovery! good idea, honey, and as always, your pics are mahvelous!!

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...


I know how you feel about your Florida. I'm the same way about my North Carolina. Isn't it wonderful to love where you live?

The beach looks so serene and peaceful this time of year. I look forward to visiting your "other than gardening" blog.


islandgal246 said...

Great Blog Meems I just love dropping everything and going off somewhere new to explore.

Rissalee said...

This blog ROCKS! I love everything about it...well, almost everything. I love the background page, the photos, the designs, the layout, the places you've featured...I just don't like that I wasn't along on any of these trips!!! :o) Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you.

Meems said...

S. G. aka Mom, thanks for popping over via the other bloggers in the family. Isn't it amazing how many places there are to see in Florida and even though we've lived here all our lives we haven't fully discovered them? We are determined to do it... at least the places we want to see anyway.

Cameron, I LOVE your North Carolina, too. One of my other very favorite places in the whole world! So diverse with mountains AND beach. Thanks for checking out my Florida blog... hope you come back.

Helen, Ooooohhhh, you must be better at it than I am if you love it. I prefer a plan. But you know what, it worked out this time and hubby was thrilled I went along with it... thought I had turned into a new woman. Geez, men are easily fooled. LOL

RissaLee, Such kudos, my sweet! Thanks a bunch for all the kind words. I had lots of fun creating this blog.

I was wondering though???? Wasn't that you I saw everyday in St. Simon's???

Connie said...

Wow, now that is what I call a great date! So glad you could enjoy each other and get some refreshing. I think we sometimes don't realize just how important that is in our lives. Time to RECHARGE!

Your new blog is very nice. I was just thinking about doing a second one myself, after looking through all the folders of photos on my computer. Mine would be just photos and very little text, as that is all I have time for.

marmee said...

good for you, no great for you on the impromptu trip and great for mr. meems for thinking of it.
love the fact that you did go with the flow and then had the audacity to enjoy yourself. my, how things are changing. i love it. i will want to visit this isolated travel spot but we will keep it to ourselves so it will stay that way.
i do love the fact of having this second blog i think, i mean i love the content and the idea i just hope you feel inspired to do both.
i know it will be fantastic to see all the fun trips you make around florida. you will definitely make some of us who live further north so homesick and wanting a visit. it is much easier to think of fl as congested and over populated when you don't live there anymore but the sun, the beach, the ablity to garden nearly year-round is a strong pull.
your header and the background are great! i love that part of blogging getting to add those personal touches.
can't wait to see all that 09 holds for you florida girl.

Susan said...

Meems...I love your new blog. These darn blogs are addictive aren't they? I know that I will enjoy your posts on our native state. I very much look forward to them. Happy New Year!

Meems said...

Connie, recharging is an important thing isn't it? Sometimes you just have to get away from the normal to get a different perspective of things in general. I'd love to do a blog with just photos... somehow I can't get away from the text. I'll watch to see how you do it.

marmee, you know me well and that means you know how my mind went into a spin when challenged to "walk away" after three days of grandchildren and not enough time to re-group. Since it was only for a day, I knew I could handle anything. Brave me right? Ha.

Susan, VERY addictive... you have a few yourself. Thanks... I hope you do come back to see how we progress.