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.
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!