Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Buttonwood bucket list--or not!

January 12-15, Cortez, Florida--Buttonwood Inlet RV Resort

Note: I am behind on my posts.  This one is from last week—having too much fun to keep up!

It never ceases to amaze me how busy our lives seem to be even in this retirement lifestyle. I may be partially to blame as I always make a “bucket list” when we arrive to a new area and it seems like the longer we stay, the longer the list becomes as we learn about new things to do and see. Here is the list I made when we arrived to this area on January 1:
  • Ringling Brothers Museum in Sarasota
  • Sarasota farmers market on Saturdays
  • Siesta Key drum circle on Sundays
  • Myakka State Park canopy walk and airboat tour
  • Powell Crosley Estate and Museum in Sarasota
  • Breakfast at Ginny & Jane E’s cafe on Anna Maria Island
  • Kayaking--–Two Sisters Keys, Little Manatee River, Robinson Preserve
  • Fish at the Rod & Reel Pier on Anna Maria Island
  • Historic Spanish point in Osprey
  • Lunch at Euphemia Haye restaurant on Longboat Key
  • Bike rides down Longboat Key and to Robinson Preserve
  • Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota
  • Ocean Blues night club in Sarasota (see Betty Fox and the Dirty Bastards)
It’s fun to have a list of possibilities, but the main reason we are here is to enjoy the beautiful nearby beaches, get some kayaking in, and eat our share of fresh seafood from the nearby fishing village. I also have signed up for Zumba classes a few miles from our resort which I try to attend four or five times a week.  Then there is also time needed to just hang out on our patio and socialize with the neighbors we are getting to know.  I had the pleasure of meeting a woman who used to teach English at a community college and learned that her late husband was a poet who was close friends with Billy Collins (one of my favorite poets). We also have gotten to know a couple of retired teachers who inspired us with their daily morning bike rides of 18 miles.  Another one of my favorite things to do in this lifestyle is to have a campfire.  This park does not provide fire rings, but they allow you to use a raised campfire bowl.  Fortunately, several folks have one and they seem to share in hosting “bonfire” gatherings which is something that makes me really happy. Everyone brings their own drinks and contributes snacks to share. Aside from getting to meet several new people, one night I even saw a small meteor shower while gathered around the fire. Love it.

We did accomplish a couple of things on my list this week. We made it to the Sarasota Farmer’s Market just in time to catch the last hour of it. (It runs from 7 am to 1 p.m. every Saturday.) We came to this market for the first time last year and agreed it was one of the best we had been to in our travels outside Oregon. We appreciated the variety of local goods like organic meats, bakery items, and some of the produce items offered (not all the produce is local--one of my common complaints of markets outside Oregon). The market has over 70 vendors with all kinds of things such as candles, jewelry, plants, coffee and teas, and live entertainment. The market is also dog friendly although we chose to leave our pooches at “home.”

The fresh flower arrangements here remind me of the ones we used to purchase every Saturday at our local market in Corvallis, Oregon—although I doubt if these flowers are grown in local gardens. I learned that the import of flowers from Central and South America has had a devastating effect on local growers throughout the U.S. Kind of explains why Costco and Sam’s Club can offer such inexpensive bouquets, so I try to think twice about purchasing imported flowers.

The vendor pictured below has an unique product that would probably sell very well in Oregon: hand-painted rain barrels. I looked into purchasing a rain barrel or two when we had our home in Oregon. The summers there are very dry and, as a result, our monthly water bills to irrigate our flower beds and garden were often over a hundred dollars. It sure makes sense to collect some of the rain  that is in abundance during the winter months for summer irrigation.

This double-decker coffee bus is another unique business idea. I love that it also has a rooftop seating area.  Seems like this mobile business would be fun to own if you could find the right spots to park it.

Like my favorite markets in Oregon, the Sarasota market has a variety of local musicians entertaining the crowds. This violinist was amazing. I wish I had thought to record a little video clip to capture his talented performance.

We came across this unusual performer who alternated between singing and miming on a busy street corner. He was also impressive at imitating a frozen statue—something I could never do!

Another fun thing to do in this area is to spend an afternoon at the historic Anna Maria City Pier. There is a lovely little beach here and a restaurant with decent seafood and cheap beer at the end of the pier.   You can even see the Sunshine Skyway Bridge off in the distance.

The pier itself is a popular place for what looks like tourists or people with young children to fish. There must be a lot of fish as the pelicans sure like to hang out here.

I also found a Snowy Egret showing off his characteristic golden slippers on one of the pier posts.

Just before we arrived in this area, I saw on the local news that Razorbills (birds from the north that look a little like penguins) had shown up on Anna Maria Island as a result of Hurricane Sandy chasing them out of their normal wintering spot. As we were walking down the pier, we heard people talking about watching at least one bird swimming underwater, but we missed it. Here is a photo from the internet that someone else took of these birds swimming at by the AMI pier. I wish we had been here when there were sightings of several Razorbills in this area.

But if you really want to see how we are spending our days, here is what you would be more likely to see!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you've been keeping busy and including some R&R on the beach ... what more could one want this time of the year when it's freezing up north?

    (I just don't get how those human statues can stand still for so long.)


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