After a month of sitting still we are back to moving for a few days before we get to Ft. Myers and wait for family to come visit. As I mentioned in my last post we said goodbye, or hopefully see you later, to some great friends we met very early on in our Loop. We hope to see them again soon. We also said goodbye to Gulfport and St. Petersburg but not without some last bits of fun. We got to ride along in the Treasure Island light parade on our friend John and Gabi’s boat. The girls both wrote about that so I won’t repeat it all here but it was a lot of fun!
We soaked up the pool time. Took one more dinghy ride into Gulfport. Went to the Farmer’s Market there finally. Went to the library there one last time. Cruised around Boca Ciega Bay on the dinghy and found my Great Aunt Lill’s house. Took the dinghy to Madeira Beach and collected shells on the beach in the fog with Gabi. Walked around John’s Pass. And then Thursday morning we decided to pull lines and head south.
Thursday we traveled to Sarasota. A fairly calm trip other than Tampa Bay. Glad we are past that. We spent two nights in Sarasota. Ben and I have visited many times as Ben’s grandmother used to live across the street from Marina Jack’s. Molly was there once at about 4-6 months old. Fond memories of Adelle on the floor with Molly playing with her. It was fun to show the girls her old apartment building.
It was close to 80 and sunny both days we were there. The girls walked 5 miles yesterday! We took the concierge shuttle into St. Armands and spent the morning walking around, shopping and having lunch there. Then we took an Uber to the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy. A fellow looper, Robert from Errante, told us to go. His sister owns the museum and he promised it would be lots of fun. It did not disappoint. We loved it. I highly recommend if you stop in Sarasota that you check it out. The art work is fun, the outside gardens are great. The kids loved that they could touch any of the art in the gardens. The people that volunteer at the museum clearly enjoy what they do and were so happy to tell us about the various artists and pieces in the museum.
After the museum we walked down the street about a mile to play some mini golf. You know we looked and looked but never spotted an Alligator on the rivers. But we saw them at Smugglers’ Cove! It’s almost the same. We took an Uber back to the marina and then the girls and I and their dolls set out walking again to the park and out to the point to see the dolphin fountain. They also wanted to take another look at the famous statue there of a soldier kissing a nurse from WWII. Wonderful walking paths all along the water here. Maddy was appalled that we then suggested walking to dinner. But she made it. All in all a full and great day.
This morning we set off south again after spending some time on a boat on our dock. Turns out they are from Chicago and have done the loop. They sold their house a couple of years ago to live on their boat full time. They gave us a tour of their boat and gave us blog information for some old dock neighbors of theirs from Chicago who are around our ages and have left the city to move to Tortola with their kids. Island life! Anyway, enough about that. Although did I mention it’s 80 and sunny in Florida? I hear it’s a bit cooler than that in Chicago.
Today we headed south to Boca Grande. The Gulf was super calm. We took the ICW to Venice and then Ben went outside and picked up the pace the rest of the way south. While on the ICW we had to have a couple of draw bridges raised for us and went through one swing bridge.
It’s beautiful here. I have a feeling I am going to be saying that a lot. Everyone we meet tells us that it just gets prettier from here. We rented a golf cart for our stay and explored the island. There is beach access all over. We were golf carting around just before sunset so we stopped at one beach and collected a few more shells. We went to check out the old lighthouse as well. Maddy really wanted to experience a golf cart in the dark so we went back out after sunset and cruised around in the dark to see Christmas lights on the restaurants and houses. More exploring tomorrow and hopefully some beach time.
We will leave here tomorrow afternoon and anchor near Useppa and Cabbage Key. Another area we’ve been told not to miss. We plan to dinghy to Cabbage Key for dinner at the restaurant on the island. Monday I think we will head to Ft. Myers to begin our stay there. Can’t believe Christmas is a week from tomorrow! We’re excited for all of the family coming to visit!