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)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Amelia Island

Fernandina Beach is just one of the many destinations you wouldn't want to miss on Amelia Island. This month the Christmas lights are up and they are sure to draw lots of oooohhs and aaaahhhhs.

We go there as often as we can. If we get near the Northeast borders of this beautiful state we drive to the downtown area of Fernandina Beach.

The marina is breathtaking as well as peaceful and relaxing.

Sunset. A stroll around the short city blocks of downtown appointed with quaint shopping boutiques. Fabulous restaurants.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Downtown Tampa

As much as I adore "my Florida" it isn't the concrete side of it I'm ever particularly drawn to.
Along those lines I've actually never thought of Tampa as being an especially pretty 'city'.

That's not to say there aren't some very lovely places and locations within this well-populated metropolis.
I tend to prefer wide-open spaces and less congested situations.

In recent years Tampa has done a few things to improve the overall feel of the 'concrete city' that makes up the downtown area.

With the greatest companions on the planet at my side, and a beautifully crisp autumn day perfect enough to make us want to feel and touch it, somehow these tall buildings took on a beauty I'd not noticed before.

In spendid view across the Hillsborough River is the University of Tampa. One of Tampa's historical treasures and stunning architectural sites.

Characterized by dramatic minarets that grace the downtown skyline it is truly a landmark Tampa is proud to have.

We played so hard it was good to kick off our shoes and get in the mist for a cool-down.

You may have heard the round Rivergate Tower Building commonly referred to as "the beer can building" by locals.

Tampa will always be considered my hometown.

Funny how something like taking these photos can spark a string of memories from over the years taking place within these city blocks.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Horseshoe Beach

There isn't too much "beach" to speak of at this small town "nature coast" city. But there is plenty of "old Florida" to soak up.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Sleepy Coastal Island

Rising with the sun is not all that unusual.

Getting to view the rising sun from the vantage point of the shoreline as it crests above the waters? THAT is unusual for these east coast residents.

Living near the Gulf of Mexico means watching sunsets is fairly standard.

Visiting the Atlantic Coast it's a beautifully solemn time to rest in wait for that first peek from this most amazing star in the universe.

The coastal marshes cause me to swoon in wonder all over again at their loveliness as we drive northward and eastward out of Florida and into Georgia.

Sighting the majestic Sidney Lanier bridge in the distance we know we are getting closer to a familiar destination.

What a remarkable structure! Oh, but I DO say that about most bridges don't I!!!

Celebrating sacred times, Mr. Meems and I were off the radar for some fabulous alone time. Certainly it could not have been that long ago since we vowed our hearts and lives to each other ... committed for life!

Mr. Meems, those crystal clear blue eyes still do it for me. I'm just saying...

Our balcony overlooking the ocean washed in the softness of morning reflections.

Outstanding breakfast foods prepared by the chef each morning following a walk on the beach and or a long bike ride around the island. These were the fanciest home-fries I'd ever been served.

And a yummy, hot southwestern fritatta made to order.

The only thing better than seeing butterflies is seeing butterflies fluttering about on wildflowers ocean-side.

Our accommodations were perfectly delightful. In this economy there are some super deals available. We were upgraded to our place after doing some digging online. It doesn't hurt to make a few phone calls and ask some questions either.

The overflow parking area was designed with very familiar plant life.

Oh, the quiet and peaceful breezes from the Atlantic were so appreciated.

Outside, the exterior grounds were chocked full with knock out roses and palms and native grasses glowing in morning light.

Yucca plant blooms a magnificent display of what could be a perfect bridal bouquet.

Rarely do I take the time to do this when we are home. But often when we travel I get to ride along in the cart while Mr. Meems plays on some beautiful golf courses. He braces for me having my camera at the ready.

Mmm~mmm... I do LOVE to watch him swing those clubs. You did want to know that!

One of the best aspects of golf courses is the wildlife that lives in and around them. Many courses are now Audubon certified. This particular course was designed leaving the natural woodlands surrounding the fairways. It was beautiful.

Lighthouses are expected on islands. This one, the second built after the first was destroyed in the Civil War.

It wouldn't be a proper out-of-town trip if it didn't include a jaunt to the local garden center. This one, quaint and picturesque, nestled under tall shady pines. We weren't traveling straight home when we left the island or I would have been more tempted to snag a few treasures.

The tide goes out for shorebirds to instinctively gather on the sandbar.

The tide comes in making it necessary to move down the beach to find a suitable entry onto the sand.

Simple pleasures for simple people.

Long walks, bicycle rides, lingering talks, more than enough good food and numerous historical sites to visit made it a restful and yet energetic get away.

Watching the fishing boats trail along the shoreline in the diamond glistening waters relaxes, refreshes, and energizes our souls.

Soothing waters lapping in rythmn, sounds of shorebirds, breezes in the morning air, the gleam of the oceans surface every bit to be absorbed and added to the lasting memories of one of our favorite places.

Sunset from this coast is viewed through a horizon of structures. But the reflections on the marsh are magical. A bike ride in the evening hours after dinner and then back to the beach is our way to 'feel' the island and absorb all its vistas first hand.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Atlantic Coast

Clouds make for an even more stunning sunrise!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Beach ... and a Word About Backing Up Photos

I realize it's been a long while since I've made an entry on this blog. But it isn't because I haven't had photos to share.

There are hundreds ... no, thousands of photos filed away, neatly cataloged, in folders on my computer.

Several weeks ago the computer I save ALL my photos to blue-screened. To make a long story short subsequently it was decided by a true expert (not me obviously) that it was not worth salvaging.

We've been to the beach several times this summer even though it is not my favorite season to go. I much prefer fall or winter or spring for beaching. Why fight the heat when it is so pretty so many other months out of the year.

One thing for certain ~~ no matter the month, day, season or time of day ~~ the shores of the Gulf of Mexico will always provide fresh sights and sounds.
We just have to pay attention.

I cannot say enough about enlisting an outside service for backing up data on a computer. I do a double back-up using an external hard drive AND **Carbonite.

Once the new computer was up and running the process has been super-simple for **Carbonite to restore every jot and tittle of my data right back into their original file folders.

I would have cried a thousand buckets of tears if I had permanently lost precious memories and treasured faces to a blitzed computer.

All is well in my summer world especially now that we are sliding into autumn. Beach trips and outdoor adventures should come more often.

In the meantime, please enjoy just a few of the random beach photos from this summer. (And PLEASE be sure you back up your photos ~~ you just never know when it could happen to you).

** My plug for Carbonite was simply an example of how to back up your data... they are not aware of my admiration and praise.