Dan and Linda have the “fun house” – with boating and tubing and pool and…Cousins! We had a great old fashioned Italian family dinner at Ray’s dad’s, the homestead. Kevin brought his family from the Tampa area. Charisma, John and Ben stopped by as well.
Brady & Tracey brought their kids this year for a Disney / Family adventure – we have all been having a wonderful time.
If you’re going to have a dream -it may as well be of paradise. We spent a gorgeous week visiting DiDi and Barry in the tropical clime of Freeport. They gave us “Figment” to stay on and we so enjoyed the resort/marina life. DiDi took us to beautiful beaches, out of the way little restaurants, and to some of the interesting sights on Grand Bahama. We had a serene day sailing on the ocean and another snorkeling among the fishies off Coral Beach. There was a Pirate Gathering, a Mardi Gras celebration, a Junkanoo Parade on the beach, an Oscar Party and fun activities every day.
Greg and Karen have been transforming an overgrown plot of land in South Florida to a serene and beautiful home. This pair of artists embrace the lush landscape and augment it with natural structures and interesting creations of their own. The house and pool were once nothing special but keep evolving as a airy gallery and comfortable outdoor living area. We so look forward to seeing the changes from year to year – always something new.
Of course the best part is being with them. They took us kayaking thru the mangroves to a gorgeous beach, to see the Elvis for a fun night and then to a fabulous concert with the incredible Tommy Emmanuel. Busy Naples offers all kinds of shopping, activities and events. Every evening our return to “the Grove” gave us a perfect retreat.
Swinging thru Southern Florida we get to visit some great places and very cool people. We were lucky to catch up with the Reeses, their family and spent some fun time with Cathy & Gordon Stevens on their new boat. What a lifestyle! Their catamaran has a spacious cabin and galley, comfortable sleeping berths and beautiful wide decks, upper and lower docked at a quiet marina within walking distance to stores and (very important) Cathy’s tennis club.
We also had some fun with Ray’s brother, Doug, and family as we passed thru Miami. Those kids sorta like their Uncle Ray!
Since we’re all having the coldest winter ever – it seems that many people who might have gone to Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head said “Forget that!” and headed to the Keys. We’ve never seen it so packed… or pricey! Our favorite hotel was charging $$$550/night and our favorite B&B wanted $$500 so - we developed new favorites! - found an old style clean and quiet motel just two blocks from our little beach bar with the beautiful sunset. We enjoyed the funky music and characters, as usual. All our time is spent out of doors – soaking up the sun and the Key West vibe.
We skirted the continuing snow storms in the midAtlantic and even the South. Our normal meander along country roads wouldn’t work this time as the roads were choked with snow covered ice. So we stayed on the Interstates ( all well tended) and pulled into Flagler Beach after two days.
There we met the crew From American Huey 369 – John Walker and the gang who had retrieved a couple of Hueys to take back to the forthcoming American Huey Museum in Peru Indiana. It was great to see our wonderful friends. We found some delicious Minorcan chowder and a nice little Art Festival in Flagler Beach wich is still an “old Florida” beach town.
Then off to Miami where we attended a serious Art Festival in Coconut Grove with Doug and kids.
Our Next Stop was Marathon. Stone crab claws at our favorite sunset bar with our favorite Marathon Youngstown crowd. We visited Gordon and Cathy’s gorgeous new boat and will stop back there when we leave here….. Key West!