Saturday, November 23, 2013

Greetings from Florida!

Back when the Captain and I went to Punta Gorda this Spring, it seemed like it was a promising start to a busy and adventurous Florida summer since we have both retired and have all this time on our hands.  We both had all kinds of ideas for Florida adventures we could experience and share on this blog.

Nature had another thing in mind.

I don't remember a summer when the weather was so nasty and rainy with storms every day to where it was difficult to do anything outdoors and have a good time.  No hurricanes this year, but more waterlogged than ever!  We haven't even been back to Busch Gardens since the beginning of the year.

It has been an eventful season of hardship that doesn't seem to end.  The huge tree that fell on our big storage shed is still there, crushing the building more every day.  All my treasures and memories are in there and it breaks my heart!

Big bummer and lots of work needs to be
 completed before the adventures begin again.

But wait . . . after the tree incident, our water well system broke down.  The municipality we live in . . . within the city limits of the City of Tampa . . . does not even offer water hookup in our neighborhood.  Imagine that in a big city like Tampa . . . we pay city taxes!  But they will do the necessary prep work for a modest $15,000 just for the pleasure of having the option to hook up to city water . . . oh yes, and three others in our neighborhood have to pony up $15,000 too before they will even consider it.  They spend millions of dollars on crap stuff, yet don't provide basic infrastructure to all the tax paying citizens who live within their city limits.  Amazing!  Don't buy a house with well water!

Sorry for the rant!

It is nearly impossible to get the well people to fix our well . . . too many trees and obstructions have to be removed before they can get the truck to where the well is.  The Captain has had to troubleshoot the well problem and will be the one doing the repairs manually.  The experts are not forthcoming with helpful hints since they are all about making money.  It is a learning situation and a lot of work!  All of a sudden, in comparison, that one tree smashing the storage shed is like an ant in the forest. 

The removing of the tree adventure
will not begin until we have
running water again.

Anyway, that is why there have been no happy adventures in Florida posts!

All in all, we are still so grateful for what we do have and it is not the end of the world . . . we have each other.  Just a little inconvenience to remind us to be grateful for every little thing we have been blessed with.  

The autumn weather has been awesome and we are looking forward to spending a warm Thanksgiving with family.

Happy Holidays everybody . . . keep us in your prayers!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Punta Gorda . . . a jewel in the sun

Although the Sarasota area is by far my favorite Florida destination, The Captain and I were pleasantly surprised with a sweet jewel in the sun, Punta Gorda, located approximately one hour south of Sarasota.

The Captain's parents and brother invited us on their spring break adventure to the southwest Florida resort . . . the guys wanted a deep sea fishing adventure and I was very pleased to find a beautiful little town to relax and take in some sun with our dog Kiki.

We stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton Punta Gorda Harborside which is located on the edge of the Charlotte Harbor waterfront in beautiful Punta Gorda.

The grounds were beautifully landscaped in a tropical setting, the hotel itself was decorated with a pleasant nautical theme, the rooms were super comfy with especially comfortable beds/fluffy pillows and the staff was friendly and helpful.  I was very surprised that they accepted dogs and Kiki was very happy in her familiar kennel in a new room.

A huge complaint about the hotel is that it is 100% non-smoking, which can be a form of torture for two smokers who had to escape to the vehicle in the middle of the night and in the midst of a rainstorm for a smoke (even though we tried to go smoke free with patches).  If we return to the area, that one inconvenience may be the thing that keeps us from staying at the hotel again.  It is my belief they could accommodate both smokers and non-smokers with their own areas.

Another negative was no microwave or refrigerator, but available for an additional charge.  A nice coffee/tea bar was included in the room.

The pool area was very relaxing and perfect for what we were looking for . . . relaxing in the sun . . . the surrounding landscape was awesome!  I appreciated that our dog Kiki was welcome at the pool area.

Photos of Dean's South of the Border, Punta Gorda
This photo of Dean's South of the Border is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Dean's South of the Border was another pleasant surprise!  The Captain and I ordered an overflowing plate of Nachos Supreme loaded with meat and cheese that was reasonably priced and very tasty and delicious.  The portions were so generous that we took home a doggie bag to enjoy later.  The service was friendly, but slow.  The atmosphere was awesome and so festive!  A live band was playing in the outdoor dining area.  I would definitely recommend this restaurant and dine there again and again.

Laishley Crab House advertises waterfront dining and the freshest seafood available.  The atmosphere was absolutely awesome . . . sadly, the food was very pricey and not so great . . . the service was less than desirable.  

For example, I ordered the Fried Shrimp plate which was just OK at the steep price of $18.00 for a moderate amount of shrimp.  It included a skimpy portion of french fries and a shriveled little piece of frozen corn on the cob . . . no salad included.  Others dining with us left most of their food because it lacked flavor.  Huge disappointment!  I do not recommend this restaurant!

Unfortunately, it rained all but one day of our stay, so we did not take our own photos and we didn't get to venture out much to explore this wonderful little town.  However, I would love to return and explore more!

The guys chartered an all-day deep sea fishing boat and came back with what equated to a freezer full of fish . . . it was worth the trip and the guys had an awesome time out on the Gulf of Mexico.  They wanted to do it again another day, but the weather did not permit another fishing adventure.

Most of the photos were taken from The Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce website.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blooming Busch Gardens!

The Captain and I took advantage of an early morning special for Busch Gardens passholders, and we really enjoyed having the park pretty much to ourselves for quite some time, so I took advantage of the unusually peaceful time at the park to take landscape photographs.

While much of the country is buried in snow, check out these beautiful blooms that reminds me that Spring is here in Tampa.  I especially enjoyed this section of the park with all the color!

Sheikra reopened this month for those adventurous and brave enough to hang from the ride and get flung upward, upside down, sideways and even through the water from this huge roller coaster.  For a taste of the ride, click on the photo for a video The Captain made . . . he's a bit obsessed with the ride!

We really enjoyed the concert featuring Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., formerly of the Fifth Dimension and multiple grammy winners.  They put on a fabulous show that was part of the Real Music Concert Series. We plan on going back next week to see Herman's Hermits featuring Peter Noone.  Their music specials are getting better and better . . . The Doobie Brothers will be there tomorrow!

It was a gorgeous February day with temps in the 70's-80's!

This is why we love living in Florida :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Coming soon to Busch Gardens!

I'm so excited that one of my favorite cartoon characters, King Julien, will be a part of a new original live musical show featuring singers, dancers and rock/pop music performed by a live band!

"Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation" coming to Busch Gardens Tampa in May 2013, will bring exciting changes to Stanleyville Theater, which will be refurbished and become enclosed and air-conditioned.

Click here for more details.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wonderful Florida Winter

Winter in Florida can be wonderful!

The Captain and I recently spent a leisurely day at Busch Gardens Tampa.  This is one of our favorite spots to enjoy a cup of coffee while snapping photos of the lovely landscaping that surrounds this area.

The weather was typical for what we have been experiencing this winter . . . temps in the upper 70's with no humidity and no threats of afternoon storms.  Paradise!  As we relaxed and took in the sights and sounds of the park and enjoyed the wonderful weather, my thoughts went to my friends in other parts of the country who have been bombarded with snow.  I've lived in Florida all of my life and have never experienced snow, and although we have had to ensure some colder winters, this is a typical winter in Central Florida.  

I would not want to live anywhere else!

What gorgeous landscaping!  This is another view of the same area where we were sitting.  Bromeliads, orchids, tropicals and everyday houseplants are featured in this area.

These landscape photos are just a taste of one of our favorite relaxing spots at Busch Gardens.  The landscaping throughout the theme park are varied and equally as impressive.  They will be featured in future posts.

There is so much to do at Busch Gardens!  It can't all be seen in one day for sure.  In addition to the regular features of the park, there is the occasional concert series and special presentations.  This is one of the lineups for this year!  Another series features The Doobie Brothers and the Goo Goo Dolls!

If you are visiting the Tampa Bay area, 
don't miss out on a visit to Busch Gardens!