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)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

To The Gulf Beaches We Go

My sister, Marmee, is here visiting from Tennessee. She purposely came this time of year to get away from the frigid cold weather they've been experiencing this winter. Tennessee has had its share of snow and record breaking cold so her outdoor days there are surrounded by all things grey and brown.

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.


marmee said...

meems, thanks so much for an original dining place where life and the art of living are at home together. it was a memorable day. i really loved it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for all the wonderful words about Anna Maria Island and Cortez. We at the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau appreciate the positive comments.

Gentry Baumline

N.T. said...

Great post Meems. I love the sights of the marina. I can almost smell the smells and hear the sounds through your pictures.

Now I am craving some fresh seafood from Stars.

Meems said...

So glad we were able to fit in a trip to Starfish to eat. And then we got to eat fresh fish again... how good does it get?

It's not hard to come up with words for a couple of my favorite beaches in the whole world. LOL

I know what you mean about almost smelling with photos... isn't it great to see images of the things you love so much and it sort of transports you there... we brought home stone crabs and shrimp to garlic sautee. It was mmmm-mmmm yummy!
Meems @ For the Love of Florida