So what does a Florida girl who moved to Tennessee and comes back for a visit want to do on her first day here? Why, she goes to breathe in the sunshine and salt at the Gulf of Mexico of course! We headed out to the north end of Anna Maria Island the first day. You can read about it here at my other blog or here at her blog if you are interested.
The second day our destination was the south end of the same island to Coquina Beach. But before we went to the beautiful green waters and sugary white sand that defines our Gulf Coast Beaches we absolutely HAD TO STOP FOR LUNCH in Cortez. It is a sleepy little fishing town situated just before the bridge over to the island.
Mr. Meems and I have been buying our fresh seafood at this little shop for many years. And whenever we get anywhere close to the area we make certain we buy some, put it in a cooler and bring it home for supper.
This fishing community is unique in so many ways. The buildings bordering the intercoastal waterway cannot be seen until one travels through narrow streets several blocks off from the main highway. The small "old Florida" style cottage homes along the streets are built close together and the lawns are dotted with boats and fishing equipment.
There are maps and legends painted on the sides of the buildings in this little village making it even more quaint... at least to me... than its very essence already is.
Walk around to the back of the fresh seafood market to dine outside on wooden decks with picnic tables built over the waters' edge. Pelicans and egrets and gulls all standing close by in case the fishermen drop some fish in the water and they won't have to work for their dinner.
The cafe is small. The kitchen is small. So if you want to eat there during tourist season -- which is now --- one must be prepared to wait. Wait in line to order and then wait at a community table -- if you can find a seat -- until your name is called. When your food comes it will be in a thin cardboard folded box. But... it is fresh and it is worth the wait!
Beyond the open decks where the yummy eating is going on the fishing boats are strewn around up next to the docks and buildings in no particular order or arrangement. Not at all like sailboats and power boats you see all lined up in a straight row at the marinas.
It's the kind of place where the traps are left stacked up next to the boats and on the decks. Truly a casual and Florida style atmosphere that is kind of hard to find anymore. I'm very grateful it is still around when you know where to find it.
The pelicans really seem to like it and they seem to be quite used to people milling about and taking photos of them.
AND... the white pelicans are here for the winter. I'm always happy to see them floating along resembling a swan more than they do the typical brown pelicans.
There's an annual festival next weekend at Cortez Village where thousands of people will cram the streets of this tiny village. The crowds are not my thing but, hey, some people just can't resist a festival.