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)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Where Am I? Revealed: A Walk In The Park

Back when it was just hot ... you know temperatures had started creeping into the high seventies/low eighties (during the day mind you-- not at night like this week)... the Jacarandas were so very stunning poking out above the tree tops. I always look forward to seeing their purple bounty once a year in some of the older neighborhoods in the area.

There were other things blooming as well. Trees full of white blossoms lining the streets and parkingn lots. I don't know the name of this blooming tree but if you do I'd love to know too.

I'm remembering back to April before this awful, sweltering heat we have now was upon us. When days were warm but, my goodness, not like this week. I'd take that warm weather in a flash at this point.

Downtown St. Petersburg is home to the Vinoy Resort as well as plenty of shopping and restaurants where outdoor dining is commonplace. It is a bustling area on nice-weather weekends with three city parks hugging the scenic waterfront across the street.

The St. Petersburg Pier featuring the Pier Aquarium is in that location as well.

Mr. Meems had the big idea to head over to Vinoy Park on one of those weekends in April when we weren't committed to other family activities.

It was a pleasant morning with a cool breeze early in the day. Live music performed by a family of musicians was the background sound until we had a seat under the tent to eat some lunch and listen close up.
Mr. Meems had read about the Mainsail Art Festival at Vinoy Park and thought it would be a fun April outing for the two of us.
There are lots of eccentric artsy items at a typical art show. But Mr. Meems knew I'd want to see the paintings and chat it up with the various artists.

This artist painting scenes from Italy is from our own little town.

Isn't it fascinating how this artist uses fiery colors to spark up the visual effects of an ordinary palm tree.
As the sunshine cranked up the heat after lunch my interest for walking around from booth to booth was waning fast. That was just about the time the Kettle Korn vendor was noticed.
Fresh out of the giant kettles came the highlight of my day! A sadly true fact.
A hugely large portion of kettle corn was about to be consumed. Handfuls of goodness.

We found some shade over by the bay, spread out an extra piece of clothing onto the ground and commenced to eat our coveted kettle korn.

The breeze blew and we watched the locals enjoying all kinds of water activities.
Oh, and we ate kettle korn.

So many boats passing by giving us hope the economy is not as bad as it seems at times.
And we ate kettle korn.
Yummy. Hot. Crunchy. Salty. Sweet. Fresh. Kettle. Korn.
Now, where is the next art festival ... where that guy with the funny is cooking?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Where Am I?

For all you Florida enthusiast and even those who have an occasional interest in my beautiful state... here's how this works: I thought it might be fun to occasionally post some of the random photos I've taken from my romp-abouts in Florida and then you get to guess where I was when I took the photo... or where the scene is that the photo represents (whichever applies). If you'd like to include your thoughts (or your own experience) about the photo or the area it represents I'd love to hear about that, too.
Thanks for playing along. Meems

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Beach Scenes from Longboat Key

My sister and I are back home today after a splendid five days of relaxation, sunshine, endless chatting, long walks, good food and glorious sleep. We were staying at a small inn on Longboat Key, FL.

You might want to pour yourself a cup of piping hot coffee or maybe a good glass of iced tea. I'm giving you fair warning now I couldn't quit snapping photos of so many tropical flowers and lush beach foliage. So... brace yourself for image overload.

The Inn...

The Beach...

Sandwich Tern

Royal Tern ( I think???)

So much beauty to breathe in each day. Thanks for coming by to see it with us.

Monday, June 1, 2009

One Can Never Spend Too Much Time at the Beach

Royal Poinciana, Delonix regia

The drive south to the beach this time of year is dotted with the flame-red blooms of the Royal Poinciana trees crowning above the residential areas and the highways. This amazingly showy tree is just one example of the imaginery line drawn just south of our county. There are many tropicals that flourish better than where I live and yet they are only a few miles south of us . Somehow I have managed another beach getaway right on the heels of my last one. Mr. Meems would say I'm pretty good at figuring out ways to get to the beach as often as possible. And he would be right. But shussshh, we don't have to tell him so.

I couldn't be more blessed actually. How very fortunate for me that my sister and I decided to split up some of her Florida visiting time between my house and the beach.
She is in town for two weeks visiting from her home in Tennessee. This time of year the beaches are still not crowded so we decided to spend about 5 days away from the misters and the kiddos. Can anyone say relaxing? Or better yet, hallelujah?
Other than a brief interruption, when I left one evening to attend the wedding of a dear friend's son on Treasure Island beach, my sister and I are completely and resolutely soaking up every minute of solitude together.

It's a quiet place on my favorite beach with beautiful tropical plantings and our unit faces the gulf. A screened porch and large gazebo next to the pool is providing outdoor living space for us even at night.
No matter how many times one visits the beach there is so much to see and exhilerating sights to capture. The first afternoon/evening we were here there was a host of birds flying together along the shoreline. A closer look at the photo above will reveal the tiny bait fish surfacing that lured hundreds of birds for their evening forage. It was an awesome display that went on for over an hour. Gulls, terns, shorebirds, pelicans all together dipping in and out of the water as far as the eye could see up and down the beach.

Conditions are ever evolving on the coastline. Just sit and wait. From one location, in the course of a day, there is so much to capture with one's heart and soul.

Light changes. The sky changes. Tides come and go. Waves swell and calm to glassy green stillness. Temperatures and breezes and sunshine and beach critters and sand and salty smells all there to simply breathe in and be thankful one is alive!
God paints the sky all day long with brilliant displays of His wonders. And at the end of the day, we sit and watch its magnificence fade away. And with it so many familiar beach sights and sounds.
Even the nighttime beach offers a certain and almost equally marvelous environment with its vastness, beauty, and punctuality hardly going to sleep ... just waiting for another sunrise to signal another day of ... well, whatever one desires... for this beach break anyway.