Saturday, December 7, 2013

Settling into our winter home in Cortez

December 1-6, 2013
Cortez, Florida
Holiday Cove RV Resort

After just an 80 mile drive from Zephyrhills, we pulled in to our new home for the next two months: Holiday Cove RV Resort in Cortez, just one mile from the beaches of Anna Maria Island.  After checking out various campgrounds and locations to stay in Florida the last two years, we both agree that this area is our favorite place to spend the winter. We love that we can walk or ride our bikes to the beach, launch our kayaks right from the park into a canal that leads to Sarasota Bay, or walk across the street to enjoy happy hour at a local tiki bar.

Another big bonus in staying here is having friends nearby. Two couples we met on the road our first fall are next door at Buttonwood Inlet RV Resort. We have spent time with them the last two winters in Florida at Seminole RV Park in North Fort Meyers and have even traveled to their home towns in South Central Illinois on more than one occasion. Buttonwood is close enough to walk or ride our bike to their sites and join them around a campfire.  Yay!  We are also lucky to be here at Holiday Cove with fellow bloggers Suzi and Dave of Beluga’s Excellent Adventure and their adorable dogs Lewis and Sasha. I have been following their blog for a few months and this has been our first chance to meet them. I had high hopes that Rico would play well with Lewis their standard poodle, but the first meeting did not go well as Rico acted nervous like I was going to leave him. He has some attachment issues with me. I think we would do better to get them off leash at a park nearby where they can play more freely. We joined them later for a very pleasant happy hour on their patio (with our dogs at “home”) and look forwaruo_stacked_facebook_smalld to getting to know them better even though they sport a big green O on the back of their motorhome. We forgive them for having a son who is an alumnus from our rival school, the University of Oregon.  And—I need to forgive myself for neglecting to take photos even when I bring my camera!

The past couple days we have enjoyed setting up our place for a longer stay than usual. It reminds me of when I was young and had a pretend house in the woods by our house. My girlfriends and I would sweep the dirt, arrange old cast-off furniture, and even decorate with flowers and borrowed housewares. Setting up a motorhome, after having been on the road awhile, sure feels like playing house. I really enjoy finding ways to make our new site cozy and comfortable—especially the outdoor area. Sadly, we have not had many opportunities to set up the outdoor patio since we were in Florida last winter. With Christmas around the corner too, it is fun to add some holiday d├ęcor to our new digs as well. We have a small tree and some white lights to string up on a palm tree—haven’t gotten to that yet. With storage space at a premium, I need to keep things pretty simple in spite of the temptation to add to our holiday bling.

We weren't here long before heading out to our favorite beach about three miles away just over the bridge onto Longboat Key.  There is public access here but no facilities such as showers or bathrooms, which makes it less popular than the sometimes crowded Coquina Beach.

The beaches are sugar white sand with a gentle surf and lots of shelling possibilities. On a good day, you can expect to find some sand dollars, whelks, conches, and olive shells. My first day here we happened to catch high tide, the least favorable time for shelling, but I still came up with a few treasures on my beach walk.

Another main attraction for me is watching and photographing the shore birds. They always seem to put a smile on my face.

Our park has a lovely swimming pool, small exercise room, shuffleboard, and perhaps best of all for us, a boat launch. The park is built along a small canal so some of the sites have their own dock where they can tie up a boat. This park has lots for private ownership and rent. Some of the folks who own their own lots have quite a few outdoor amenities on their site with more permanent looking furniture and big gorgeous potted plants.

The pool is a big deal to me as I really like to swim and the Gulf is not too warm this time of year (73 degrees today). They keep the pool at 87 degrees and it feels terrific. In addition to swimming, I joined a fitness club for women that is just a few miles away. They have Zumba classes 6 days a week and a variety of other classes I intend to at least try. This area is also one of the best we have stayed at for biking (other than Hilton Head).  You could actually stay here for the whole winter and never use your car as the beach, grocery stores, great restaurants, and even Starbucks are all a short bike ride away.

You might be able to tell we are excited to be here. This will be the longest we have stayed anywhere in our travels so far. It feels good to have a home base for a while and we are feeling more than fortunate with sunny weather in the low 80s while our hometown is experiencing record lows with an abundance of snow.  That would be fun for a few days, but we’ll gladly take the beach and palm trees for our holiday in the sun. Cheers!


  1. Oh my, what a beautiful resort. I love your spot and your red flowers with a lantern that says Joy is perfect. I so totally agree with you about the playing house part. And even share memories of raking straw into different "rooms" for a pretend house! What nice memories you have conjured up! Thanks.

    It is nice to settle down for awhile. Our first year out, we stayed at Emerald Coast RV Resort in Panama City Beach for 4 months. Joe and I both agree that was TOO long. But 2 months seems to be a nice length of time. At least we hope so...we just finished our first month here at LOL with one more to go before we pack and head back out west. Also, Christmas is the perfect time, I think, to stay a tad's fun to put out a few " special" things for the holidays.

    Glad you are having fun with "old" friends and meeting new of the nicest things about the life style we share!

  2. This park is really lovely and maybe someday we might pop for the 75 per night for non members. Beautiful place in a great part of Florida. I can't wait to get there this February. Beavers fans! Mo is an Oregon State alumnus.

  3. Here I sit in cold icy Ohio, while you two are in that gorgeous site. What a beautiful beach.
    If you know Susie and her husband, you will soon get to meet John and Pam. You will love them.
    Enjoy your winter home, I am so jealous.

  4. Looks like a great place in a wonderful part of FL:)

  5. Wow this definitely looks like a super place to spend two months. The never having to drive your car would have sold me for sure. Nice to have friends close by. Hope to see you at some point before your two months are gone. Looks like you are going to have a GREAT time!! Happy Holiday!!

  6. Looks like a great place to hang-out for a couple of months, especially given the weather most points north.

  7. A slice of heaven, for sure. I'd say enjoy your time there, but I already know you will! :c)

  8. too bad you are 100 miles north of us but I am sure we shall cross paths before you leave, we too have booked 2 months for the first time ever... enjoy!

  9. This looks so delightful. You're in a beautiful park. I would not mind being there at the moment, Tucson has taken a turn for the cold.

  10. Looks like you found a terrific place for the winter; will have to keep it in mind for when we return to Florida to explore the state someday. Enjoy!

  11. So glad to hear that you met Sue and Dave, as well as, Lewis and Sasha. Too bad Lewis and Rico didn't hit it off. Hope they have bevome friends.

    We are very excited that we get to meet again in March!! Looking forward to kayaking together.

    Enjoy your time in Cortez. Don't forget to visit Jose's in the late afternoon.


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