Monday, March 31, 2014

Part Two: Checking off the Cortez area bucket list

March 20-26, 2014
Cortez, Florida
Holiday Cove Resort

When we arrived in Holiday Cove in December, we joined the Monday biking group for several trips around the area. One trip I was really looking forward to was riding to St. Armands Circle in Sarasota. At thirty miles (round-trip) that would be my longest ride to date, but the lovely route along the Gulf made it seem worth trying—not to mention the reward of a light lunch somewhere in the Circle.  Well, it looked like this item on my local bucket list wasn’t going to happen until Karen, the wife of the biking group leader, knocked on our door one morning with an invitation to ride with her there. The weather looked perfect—mid seventies and light winds—plus Vic offered to be on standby if we needed a ride back. So off we went.
The ride there was great with little traffic and a bit of a tail wind. We made it to the Circle in about an hour and fifteen minutes—pretty good time for me on my mountain bike with fat tires. (I now know that I am in the market for a much lighter road bike at some point.)  I didn’t take any photos along the way, but had some fun with the camera when we visited a hammock store.

You might think we had wine (judging by our silly faces) with our lunch at The Shore Diner, but we were happy with our lemon water and delicious salads. I ordered a roasted beet, pistachio-encrusted goat cheese and citrus salad. The food was so good (our first time there), we both vowed to go back with our husbands for dinner, but alas—I now know it will have to be another year for us.

beet salad at the shores

Before heading back to Cortez, we amped up with some espresso as we knew the ride back could be challenging as the wind was now blowing 15-20 knots with much stronger occasional gusts.  Consequently, we stopped a number of times with my excuse of needing to take some photos.

It took us about twice as long to get back fighting head winds all the way, but we never once considered calling Vic for a rescue ride. When we returned, I spent about an hour in the 85 degree pool at our park, enjoying being weightless after accomplishing my personal challenge of riding to Sarasota.

st armands bike ride

Another activity we talked about doing shortly after we first arrived here was taking a tour of the Southeastern Guide Dog school. We learned about the school and its tours from Suzi and Dave of Beluga’s Excellent Adventure. Aside from being passionate dog owners themselves, they have, over the years, raised thirteen guide dog puppies. Their sweet Sasha Maria, a black lab, was one of those puppies who did not make it to the guide dog level, but they were able to keep her. They arranged this tour for us along with Pam (of Oh the Places They Go) and Karen, my new biking pal.  The best part of the tour, as evidenced by my photos, is when they let you play with the puppies as part of their socialization.  All I can say is that it was a good thing that none of these pups was available for adoption.

After puppy play time, we were able to peek in on a mom with three-week-old pups and meet some of the two-year-old dogs who are available to be matched with visually-impaired applicants.

The older dogs were not in their harnesses, so they were off duty as evidenced by some of their antics.

A black lab named Norton stole my heart with the yearning for love look on his face. I bet he makes an incredibly loyal guide dog for some lucky soul.

After our tour, we stopped for lunch at a place on the Manatee River that I had heard was full of old Florida charm: Woody’s River Roo. I finally figured out the Roo is short for Kangaroo.


Pam and Karen’s husbands, John and David, joined us for lunch, making our time together even more festive. The food was good, but too bad we were not there for their popular live music events.

Little wooly plant droppings were landing in our drinks, so the engineer in John (he was actually a former principal) came up with a unique drink cover.

Next up: our final days in Cortez bring stormy weather and tough goodbyes.


  1. Now that salad sound delicious. I have never had a roasted beet. But I sure do love them.

    Oh we love Pam and John. We met up at Yellowstone and then they stopped her last year on their way to PA. They are going to stop again when the leave PA to head west. You are in great company. John is soooo smart, but don't tell him I said

  2. That was most definitely a feat riding to St Armond's Circle. Forget the distance, the wind riding is the problem. It always feels so good to accomplish something like this. Great job:)

    I love your hammock photos:)

    Thanks again for a nice last night. We'll see down the road for sure.

  3. Wow 30 miles and riding back against the wind. You GO GIRL! I could hardly walk back against it on the beach 3 miles the other day. Clearly this is a place you love. We really do have to try to check it out next year.

  4. Wow...that was some bike ride! What a great sense of accomplishment! I for one like those " I did it! " days.....

    Those puppies are the cutest ever! Since we rescued all of our pups, we didn't have the wonderful opportunity to experience puppy days or puppy breath.

    Safe travels Pam.....

  5. Good job on the biking. 30 miles on a mountain bike is a LONG way. Safe travels for the summer months!

  6. I or we have not done a 30 mile ride, good job on yours and fortunately you had a heated pool to sooth your muscles.

    It appeared that you all had fun in that little corner of yours. Have a safe travel wherever it might be.


Don't be shy. We would love to hear your comments!