Archive for the ‘Florida’ Category

A little R&R on a Carnival Cruise

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

Paul dropped me off at the Palm Springs airport where I will be taking a flight to Miami and meeting up with Stephanie and my 2 sister-in-laws, Cindy and Nancy.  We are going to take a 5 day cruise to the Caribbean.  I haven’t been on a cruise in several years so I am looking forward to Sailing a Way.

The weather was perfect, and we had lots of time on the ship to enjoy the lounge chairs and cocktails!  People watching and playing cards so also.

Stephanie and I had a couple of adventures on our stops in the islands.  We rented a Jeep and did some 4 wheeling on Turks & Caicos.  Beautiful, tiny island  The most exciting was we took a bus to a hiking spot to swim in some natural water slides.  Very exciting, a couple I had to bypass.  The water was refreshing and the hike helped with all the meals we are having.  The high lite of the cruise for me was Stephanie and I went to a monkey preserve at Amber Cove, Dominican Republic.  Amazing, I would go back just for this experience.

There were so many and they love the treats we were giving them.

After the cruise, Cindy, Stephanie and I spent a couple days exploring.  We stood in line to see an exhibit by Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese Artist.  I thought it was fascinating and definitely different.  Stephanie was not impressed!

Onto Key Biscane.  We enjoyed the beach and did a couple touristy things.  We went to a Waterlife park and enjoyed the flamingos and the dancing dolphins.

This is the beach that our hotel was on.  The hotel was not fancy at all but was in an amazing location with a very nice pool. We found a lighthouse and looked at the huts out in the ocean, to realize that Cindy and I had been here before, years before.  Neither one of us remembered until we saw the huts!



Key West

Friday, February 1st, 2019



Love Love Love!    It’s beautiful and very alive.  We stayed at Boyd’s RV on Stone Key which is just over a tiny bridge from Key West and had a tiny spot with a sliver of a view to the bay.  The park was beautiful and had an amazing gift shop.  We hit all the tourist spots and some hidden gems off the beaten path in a rented golf cart.

Chickens rule the islands except at The Hemingway House

It says to preserve the furniture keep off! Cats don’t listen

There were 3 on the bed!

So many cats, many with 6 toes on their paws.  They had a special housing area just for the cats

Cat Condos

Hemmingway was a very interesting man.  He was a great aurthor but not so good at marriage.  He had 4.

The landscape is beautiful here and Sunsets are perfect.  So many spots to get an amazing view of the sunset

Southern most point in the US

There was a line a block long to get a photo!  We did a drive by, the people in the photo will never know they are in my blog!

Great food, excellent Bloody Marys

We opted for a spot that wasn’t famous for lunch on Duval Street and it may have been our best meal on the island!  And they had a Bloody Mary bar where you could custom build yours however you like as long as your CC balance was in good shape.  I just had the bartender build mine a little spicy and it was perfect.

The gulf from somewhere near the southern point

The fort

The wall of the fort

Paul went into the fort to see the canons, Duke and I walked the perimeter.

Around town, Cupid’s hanging on the porch


Interesting trees

Loved this Lighthouse right in town

The local cemetery had lots of Roberts!  Maybe Paul’s family is from Cuba and not Ireland😊

Fresh made ice cream from cream only. They used dry ice to freeze it and when it got too hard they used a torch to warm the side of the bowl. The creamiest I’ve ever had.


Had to go!

And finally! Great margaritas and ok food. Looked like all the others but I prefer the one in Capitola on the beach.  I just think a Margarita with a sunset over the ocean is just about perfection.




Thursday, January 24th, 2019

picked up Paul’s sisters from their cruise ship and spotted this little piece of art.  It was in a small park near the railways and the ports.


From there we we found a little park and had lunch before dropping Nancy for her flight.  Cindy has a later flight so we checked out downtown St. Petersburg.  Lots of galleries and expensive yauhts.

A cool old hotel right near the harbor.

St. Pete’s Beach

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

Our first Air B&B so that I can get out of the Minivan!  It’s not fancy and at first look it felt a bit creepy but it is a block from the beach and walking distance to Waffle House so it will work for this week while Paul works and Duke and I enjoy the sunshine and some space.

Fun in the sun

A little different than the west coast

The shells are abundant! How do you pick just 1

More feet, loving the sand and surf

Dining out is not usually our first choice but when they offer spectacular 360 views, and you can see forever from your seat how can you resist?

Spinners, dining in the round

First we had a cocktail on the beach after a beautiful 1 mile walk along the shore.  Ok, not Paul’s favorite thing but he is really trying to keep me happy in the Minivan so I get time in the sand.  Then we went upstairs to a fantastic view and then a beautiful dinner.  Yes the cost was our weekly food budget but we can eat peanut butter for a few days!

The view from Spinners

the sunset as not the best because the sky was so clear with not a cloud anywhere!  But just wIt a day and here you go!

Tuesday evening after another perfect day at the beach

so far Florida has delivered a pretty good visit!  The weather has been great and Paul is getting to do so work so everyone is happy.  

Sunshine, Sand and Waves, Perfection

Friday, January 18th, 2019

New Smyrna Beach is your typical east coast beach;  people sunbathing, splashing in the Atlantic Ocean and CARS!    There are people sunbathing and playing frisbee while cars pass right by.  Very interesting.

When it looks like a catch everyone stops

Taking a walk along the beach I found the most interesting jellyfish.


Cindy and I played a round of golf at Hidden Lakes Golf Course near New Smyrna Beach.  And I got my first Birdie!  Yeah me

Par 4, 265 yds! BIRDIE!

And now we are off to the Gulf Coast,  and more beach time


We made it

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

3000 miles in 5 days!  We wont be repeating that again.  The weather is still a bit chilly but I’m wearing capris and a tee shirt so it’s looking up.  We arrived in New Smyrna Beach just in time for dinner with Paul’s sister Cindy.  I’m going to spend a couple days at her time share and Paul is off to work.  We will meet up Saturday in Tampa where Cindy and another of Paul’s sisters, Nancy will be sailing on a Carnival cruisefor 5 days.  Paul and I will be chillin on the beach in St. Petersburg where I have booked us a cottage for the week!  It’s a good time to ditch the van for a few days and spread out.

Today Cindy and I visited the cute little town of DeLand.   A very friendly town with many unique shops.  We found a brewery and sat a bit, enjoying some craft beers

Persimmon Hollow Craft Brewery

Drink Sensibly, But Get Weird  

That was their label,  it was fun to sip some local beers while chatting g with some locals and wAt hi g the crafter working with the hops.

Local artist painted these wings in an alley way. Everyone loved them and started taking photos and now the artist has 5 sets around Florida and has all kinds of merchandise to go along. I’m glad they still let us take photos without paying.

After a nice lunch in a local diner we headed to the Blue Springs Stars Park where we watched the Manatees enjoying the warm waters of the spring.




They are beautiful to watch and the water is so clear.  There was all kinds of other fish to and watching the interactions was amazing.

Tomorrow is the beach and golf!



The most gentle of creatures

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Come along with us underwater to see the Manatee in their world.

Lets go see some Manatees!

Lets go see some Manatees!

We finally got the underwater pictures!  We purchased a throw away underwater camera from Captain Mikes so that we could get documentation that we really did swim with these magnificient creatures.  Because I was focusing on getting to swim in the crystal clear waters I didn’t even think of a camera.  So we got one last minute and all the shop had was a disposable camera with real film!  What are you suppose to do with that?  Well we found out you need a real camera shop unless you have time to send them out which will take a week!  We don’t stay anywhere a week so that was a problem.  We found a great photo shop in Fort Walton that took our camera and returned us digital images of what we filmed in 24 hours.  They are not great quality but fun no the less!

There were so many just resting along the bottom of the river near a spring.

There were so many just resting along the bottom of the river near a spring.

Going up for air

Going up for air

Hello there

Hello there



Up close and personal

Up close and personal

Lets see how close Denise will venture

Lets see how close Denise will venture



Ok, that is as far as I am willing to go

Ok, that is as far as I am willing to go

The closest encounter on film

The closest encounter on film

Just beautiful

Just beautiful

Those are some memories that will take a very long time to fade!


Amazing is the only way to describe this

Friday, February 27th, 2015

I have wanted to do this for a very long time.  Paul told me about Manatee and diving with them in the late 70’s and I have remembered.  We finally found the time and booked a tour with Captain Mikes Manatee Tours.  The weather has been less than perfect in Florida this winter so I was concerned about booking and it being cold or rainy but went ahead and I am so glad!

Watching a mom and her juvenile pass beside our boat

Watching a mom and her juvenile pass beside our boat

These gentle giants are so much fun to watch.  They don’t even seem concerned that there are black suited humans wearing snorkles and masks swimming right near them.

Captian Yeve telling us about our tour

Captian Yves telling us about our tour

Our captain was so interested in us having a great experience and the Manatee being taken care of.  We set out into Crystal River about 8:30 am.  It was still quite cold (64 degrees)  but we were cozy with a heater inside the houseboat and we slowly made our way to the springs where we were going to be snorkling with the Manatee.



The banks of this area are littered with homes.  It is a beautiful area with crystal clear water.  Our first stop was were there were two small springs and we found 4 manatee resting on the bottom.  The water was only about 10 feet at the deepest.  The manatee come to the springs because that is where the warmest water is.  We spend quite awhile just floating a watching the manatee rest on the bottom and surface for air.  Eventually we left and moved to the Three Sisters area.  While we moved up the river towards the area we found lots more tour boats and knew the viewing was going to be great.

A small spring

A small spring

There were lots of these areas that our captain pointed out.   The really light area is a small spring area.

Everyone out to view the manatee

Everyone out to view the manatee

We finally arrived at the springs and there were so many boats we figured the viewing would be hard as so many snorklers would muddy the waters.  Wrong!  There we so many manatee and they were pretty active.  We found lots moving into and out of the springs.  Two swam right under me on my way in.  They are definitely not bothered by us as the manatee didn’t even stop.  I could have reached out and touched her but I am afraid of breaking rules and there are very strick rules about Manatee protection.  You are not suppose to approach them but when the approach you that is fine.  Paul and I watch one guy stand in the spring in only swim trunks and a manatee  began chewing on his shorts!  He almost was pants!

After awhile I was getting cold, even though the water is about 70, it was still cold outside!  We returned to our boat and continued to watch the manatee swim by.  We had another guest on our boat, Janine from Germany.  She was here on vacation.

Manatee right under Janine

Manatee right under Janine

None of us had a really personal interaction like a kiss but we all were close enough to be able to really experience them.  It was definitely as cool as I thought for over 30 years!  Next trip to Florida we will definitely do this again!


Memories of Friday Night Movies

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Tampa has a Drive In Movie theater and Paul had it on his bucket list.  We saw Kingsmen.  An interesting movie.



We arrived about 30 minutes before showtime and had our pick of spots as no one was there.  The first thing I noticed is they no longer have the bumps to angle your front window for the best viewing.  They also don’t have heaters.  I brought blankets as it has been cold here.  Finally about 5 minutes before the movie started a few more cars showed up.  Everyone wanted to be in the center so we had neighbors.  We took Duke with us and he was very unsure of why we were sitting in the dark, listening to the radio. Everytime there was a dramatic sound Duke was up and searching out the windows.  The snack bar was scary but that is ok, we popped our own popcorn and brought drinks.

Based on this experience I am thinking there won’t be a comeback of Drive In Movie Theaters.  The price is definitely a plus but going to a nice comfortable theater with Dolby sound and clean restrooms is worth the extra $3 to me!  Or, just stay home, invite a friend over and have your own private movie screening!  Then you can have popcorn your way!

Back to the real world

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Back in the city with all the ammenities and noise.  We are in a very noise, crowded RV park for a week while Paul takes care of some business in Tampa – I’ll get to the beach!


That should be interesting!

That should be interesting!

That is a first.  The owner was talking to him just like we talk to Duke.  I just kept wondering how comfortable that would be in a motorhome?  He didn’t bark so I guess that is a plus.

Sand Key Beach was a bit chilly on Thursday but I bundled up and off I went for a really nice walk.

Sand Key Beach

Sand Key Beach

No, I didn't buy these!

No, I didn’t buy these!

Sand Key Beach is near St. Petersburg and has the beautiful blue water of the Gulf.  The sand is cluttered with shells and lots of fun.  I found lots of immature conch shells.  I found one that was perfect and about 4 inches long, however when I picked it up it was still occupied!

A very big boy

A very big boy

I spotted this guy hanging out near the breakwater.  He stood about 3 feet high and I was waiting to capture him on take off.   He was smarted than I and waited until I checked for a text message and off he went.  No noise at all!  I didn’t even know he left.