Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Magnificent Everglades National Park

DSCN0469

All good times must come to an end as happened with our stay in Key West, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t have some fun on the way home. It would be a five hour drive back to Bonita Springs but luckily for us Shark Valley in the Everglades National Park happened to be  a little more than halfway home. For anyone like us who enjoys seeing lots of birds and alligators, this is a wonderful place to visit …

Below is the photographic proof of the great day we had…

DSCN0434DSCN0438DSCN0445DSCN0439DSCN0436DSCN0449DSCN0451DSCN0466DSCN0479DSCN0486DSCN0490DSCN0498DSCN0471Image may contain: plant, outdoor and nature

NOTE: We are back at our winter site until March 1st in Bonita Springs, Florida…

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Quintessentially Key West…

There is never a dull moment in Key West Florida so we felt very fortunate to have been able to spend a week there. What did we do? Not a whole lot because upon arriving in Key West the pace immediately slowed way down allowing us to completely relax while simply enjoying the Island vibe.

Image may contain: sky, tree, ocean, shoes, outdoor and natureImage may contain: sky, ocean, cloud, tree, outdoor and nature

The house we stayed at had a fabulous bay view of the turquoise blue waters the Florida Keys are widely known for. Lounging on the back porch became an activity in itself. Also on the porch was a hot tub I actively used as I love to sit and soak. It was fabulous.

Image may contain: ocean, sky and outdoorImage may contain: Sharon Hinton and John Hinton, people smiling, sky, hat, sunglasses, outdoor and closeup

In the evening as darkness fell an underwater light came on right near where the owner’s jet skis were parked.I was completely entertained watching schools of fish flit about in the reflected light. Occasionally tarpon as large as 6 feet in length would pass by the light sending the schooling fish in flight, hiding under the jet skis. I even saw a large nurse shark pass by the nighttime lights. Indeed this was a fun and relaxing activity…

Image may contain: plant, outdoor and nature

Happy hours were another enjoyable activity we both loved while in the Keys. The Keys actually have some of the best happy hours in Florida as they offer inexpensive drinks and eats. Our favorite spots were the Boathouse under the Commodore Hotel and the Half Shell Oyster Bar. We always sat at the bar whenever possible knowing we had to arrive early in order to do so.

Image may contain: outdoorImage may contain: ocean, tree, sky, plant, outdoor, nature and water

Sitting at the bar usually ensured we would meet the people on either side of us and was a great way to get to know new people and maybe make future friends. It is after all, how we first met Kathleen and Jerry, who allowed us the use of their beautiful home in Key West. You never know who you’ll meet as sometimes it is other vacationers or often a local as happened one night when we met a lady who has lived in Key West 23 years.  Everyone we met at happy hours was in a great mood as it seems the island vibe overtakes all who stay in this wonderful place!

Image may contain: plant, flower, outdoor and natureImage may contain: one or more people, people sitting and indoorImage may contain: outdoor

Walking down Duval Street prior to Happy Hour, was also a treat for people watching. Often a cruise ship was in port so we would see cruisers or we would pass by  foreign visitors speaking other languages. In addition we noticed many Key West “characters” such as street entertainers or once we saw one gentleman at Sloppy Joe’s wearing only his hotel bathrobe! While walking we would often pause at the bars to listen to the live music mingled with the laughter and conversation of the customers.  It was just such a happy place to be….…

Image may contain: one or more people, tree, plant, house and outdoorImage may contain: bird, sky, tree, plant and outdoor

But alas our week ended and we made our way back to Bonita Springs to finish out the month of February as we continue our journeys on our Road of Retirement…

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting and drinkNo photo description available.

NOTE: We are back at our winter site until March 1st in Bonita Springs, Florida…

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A Visit to Shark Valley on Our Way to a Mini-Vacation…

DSCN0413

All work and no play?… hell no! When a friend of ours we met on the road contacted us and asked us if we wanted to come down to Key West to stay at his house, what do you thing we said? Wow! Yes, yes, yes!!! And so we did…

DSCN0370DSCN0369

On the first of February we packed up the car and settled the RV for our mini-vacation. After turning off all the A/C’s, heat, water etc. we closed up and hit the road. It is a five plus hour drive down to Key West but we love the drive down.

DSCN0357DSCN0352 

After about an hour and a half into the drive we pulled into Shark Valley a part of the Everglades National Park. It would be a perfect stop for lunch and a stroll. We have visited this park many times and always enjoyed a walk through the park taking in the sights of the abundant wildlife. While we didn’t see anywhere as many alligators as we have seen in the past we still saw enough critters to delight us. Our favorite sighting was watching a Purple Gallinule working its way along the reed edge picking up its very large feet and looking for lunch. This was a great stop and we are thinking of doing it again on our return trip home.

DSCN0364DSCN0368

Back in the car and several hours later we pulled into our friends beautiful home on Stock Island just a few miles north of Key West. Our friends were still there that night but were leaving the next morning. We purposely came down when we did so we could see them before they headed back to Virginia. We always have fun with Jerry and Kathleen and it was great to see them. We feel so very fortunate that they invited us stay in their fabulous home while they are away… what great friends!

DSCN0377DSCN0380

That night we feasted on grilled steak and chicken while reminiscing about old times and catching up on what we had done since we last met. The next day came way too soon as we took them to the Key West airport for their departure flight. Arriving back at the house we looked at one another in wonderment thinking about how blessed we were to have this great opportunity. The views are breathtaking and the house is amazing.

Image may contain: cloud, sky, ocean, outdoor and natureImage may contain: cloud, sky, ocean, outdoor, nature and water

We will stay in Key West for several days. How many… we don’t really know. But one thing we do know is that each day we stay we realize how very lucky we are to be able to do so. It is guaranteed to be a great, romantic and relaxing mini-vacation for us…

Image may contain: sky, cloud, tree, outdoor and natureImage may contain: one or more people, people standing, sky and outdoor

NOTE: Our RV is still at our winter site until March 1st in Bonita Springs, Florida while we are on a mini vacation in Key West Florida…