Saturday, December 14, 2013

Enjoying a week of fun in the sun

December 7-14, 2013
Cortez, Florida
Holiday Cove RV Resort

With most of the nation in a deep freeze, we have been especially grateful to be enjoying temperatures here in the low 80s and high 70s. It has been a glorious week here while our hometown of Corvallis, Oregon has had record cold and snow with school cancelled five days in a row!  I do admit to missing the thrill of those early morning calls saying that school was canceled. When you retire and have every day “off,” you do lose something of the pure joy of an unexpected day of freedom. Perhaps the trick is to live each day as a “snow day” or in our case a “beach day”--the perfect trade-off.

On Saturdays though, I still like to keep the ritual of strolling through a farmer’s market.  Even in winter in Corvallis, there is an indoor farmer’s market with fall vegetables and lettuce and other organic goodies and baked goods. The best farmer's market we have found in Florida is the one in downtown Sarasota. It has many locally grown fruits and vegetables and a potpourri of other offerings including unusual entertainment.

sarasota market sculpture

didgeredoo player

java dawg bus


Sarasota is a beautiful waterfront city that reminds me in many ways of Portland with its thriving art scene, hip clubs and cafes, and great shopping (think St. Armands Circle). If we drive down Longboat Key from our park, it takes about a half hour to get there and it is well worth the visit. We are looking forward to checking out Sarasota's more notable attractions such as the Ringling Brothers Museum, Mote Aquarium, and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Yes, the local bucket list of things to do here this winter is ever growing.

We also need to keep the dogs in mind when thinking of things to do in the area. One favorite is to take the dogs to a small neighborhood park about two miles from here which is on the bay. It is not advertised as a dog park, but they allow dogs off leash. They are in heaven playing in the water and running free—something they need to do on a regular basis.

We also like to find doggie daycare places nearby when we are staying somewhere for a while. After quite a bit of internet research, we chose one that we wanted to tour, Bayside Pet Resort and Spa. It is about 15 minutes from us and is the cleanest, most inviting place we have ever seen for dogs. We haven’t left them often overnight, but would have no qualms about them staying here where they get plenty of play time outside with other dogs and lots of individual attention. We plan to take them here for a few half-day sessions in the weeks ahead just to give it a try.

Other pastimes this week included having dinner with our new friends Dave and Suzi of Beluga’s Excellent Adventure. Dave has a sixth sense for dogs (probably from raising several guide dogs) as Jetta is usually shy with new people, but she was in Dave’s lap in no time. All I managed to get was one blurry photo. I am hoping we will have more photo ops of their new relationship.

We also went with our friends who are staying at the campground next to us to try out Jose’s Real Cuban Food Restaurant, a place that has been featured on Guy Fiero’s show Diners Drive-In’s and Dives. The place is a little bit of a hole in the wall café with only a few tables and long counter, but it was spic and span with lots of good spicy smells emanating from the tiny kitchen. We tried their pulled pork and Cuban sandwiches with black beans and rice. The food was good and very reasonably priced. They also offer samples of their specialties which is quite helpful for choosing from several offerings.

joses cuban food dive

Other joys of the week were spending time at our favorite beach on Longboat Key, getting the kayaks wet for the first time since we were at Glacier National Park in September, and eating my first soft shell crab sandwich at the Starfish Café, a well-known local spot just a few blocks from us on the bay.

starfish cafe

softshell crab sandwich

We have also been enjoying our pool here at the park as the water is kept at a perfect temperature and it is large enough to be able to swim laps and get some decent exercise. Every Wednesday the park holds a happy hour by the pool where everyone brings an appetizer to share. It is a lovely way to get to know both the long-term residents and many short-term guests who flow in and out of the 97 sites available here at the park. Suffice it to say, we are enjoying this locale.

vic in holiday cove pool

Whenever we are in Florida, I become a little obsessed with taking photos of birds. Here are just a few of the shots I took this week while kayaking at Robinson Preserve. Too bad I couldn't get any photos of the jumping mullet: the salt marsh was teeming with them, but they disappeared every time I clicked the shutter.


  1. My vote for best photo, the soft shell crab sandwich.

  2. I feel exactly the same in Florida enjoying the many beautiful birds. Loving also the sunny days! Your park sounds will be a great winter!

  3. I agree...the water birds sure are showy and fun to photograph. But, I an with Jim and Judy...that sandwich is huge and looks so yummy. I have never had soft shell crab... gonna have to change that!

    Sounds like a lot to do to stay busy and get exercise...nice combination!

  4. Wow...are you two living the good life!

    We haven't been to Sarasota. Looks and sounds gorgeous.

    The soft shell crab looks delicious. Keep enjoying that great weather. I will be thinking of you two while I am here in Ohio visiting family in 18 degree weather and 8" of snow.

  5. Gorgeous pictures. How did you get so many white pelicans to stand at attention for you? The spot you hsve chosen looks wonderful. So much to do. I envy you the kayaking. The wind has sure gotten in the way here.

  6. Yes, every day is a snow day for us!! Or beach day, as you said.

    Glad you got to Jose's. I can't wait!

    I am really looking forward to meeting your dogs. They are so cute.

    Good to see you are keeping busy:)

  7. The white sand beaches are just gorgeous. It looks like an amazing spot for winter.

  8. That's one wild looking sandwich! How on earth do you eat it?!?!?!? :-)

  9. First my mouth started watering when you mentioned Cuban sandwiches and black beans and rice. Then you had to post that picture of the soft shell carb sandwich. How can you be so cruel!!! ;c)


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