dining room 2007
Only thirteen more days here in snowy but warming Ohio until I fly to Venice, Florida on March 1st. I feel so lucky to be able to enjoy this lovely little town which is so much like “Old Florida” probably because the key parts of the island were laid out and built in the 1920s and have not really changed all that much. In 2007 Paul and Andy and I flew down and spent most of January there, and Alice, Mike and Nathan joined us for about a week, I think. I had hoped that the stimulus of a new location would be good for Paul and I think he really enjoyed it! I know the rest of us did too.
I chose Venice as a destination because I have two good friends who spend most of the winter down there, Mary Alice who was a high school classmate and Nancy who has been a friend since our children were in pre-school together. We’ve also been Girl Scout leaders together and belong to a very informal quilt group as well. And now a third friend is here, Suzanne from our church in Medina County is becoming a permanent resident as well.
Sofia on the beach - February 2009
The next year I went again. Andy came down with me. I think Alice was there some of the time, too, with Nathan. We went to another house because the condo we rented the first year had been sold. This vacation is a tiny bit of a blur because Paul had died so recently. But it was the beginning of a tradition. I think my sister in law came for part of this month. We spent lovely days on the beach looking for seashells, days at the astonishing number of thrift stores, at Spanish Point, a great historical site, and the Aquarium and the lovely Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Paul and I had been to all these places too, the year before.
I just realized that most of my Florida pictures are on my net book downstairs. So you may not see many other pictures until I’m actually in Florida this year. I arrive March 1st and will be there all month. Alice, Nathan, Stephen, Em, Sofia and Clara will arrive on the 4th. Alice & Co stay one week and Em will stay two weeks with the girls. I am so looking forward to this time at the beach with my daughters and grandchildren. We spent 2009 and 2010 renting a house nearer the airport and only staying for two weeks, but this year we are closer to Venice Beach and in a new house which looks very nice. Really we’ve had a lot of winter this year and I feel incredibly lucky to have these balmy sunny days to look forward to!
the boat tour on the Myakka River at Snook Haven
the model for the train station in Disney's Dumbo
Another favorite place is Snook Haven which is a restaurant/complex on the Myakka River. We take the boat tour every year. When the kids are a little older I’ll probably take them all up to Myakka State Park which has more fascinating things to see but I think they are a little young for that. But one sure destination is the Mote Aquarium in Sarasota. That’s another family tradition. It is much smaller than, for instance, the lovely Aquarium we visit in Atlanta when we spend time with my brother and his family, but somehow, with such young children, smaller is better!
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