Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Trip South

Snow outside a Cracker Barrel in North Carolina.
Last week I logged in 3,072 miles on a one-week road trip. My husband drove every mile of it. We picked up my mom in PA, and hightailed it down to sunny Florida. On the way, we went through unusually cold southern weather, including SNOW in North Carolina.

 We enjoyed a quick lunch outside of Jacksonville, Florida with my dad's cousin, Helen, and two of her sons, Bill and Tom. We also enjoyed the homemade cookies Tom baked and brought.

Dave and Cheryl, Shirley, Tom, Bill and Helen Poje
Then we hurried to see a sunset at Anna Maria Island, where my parents had wintered for fifteen years.

Ahhhhhhh. 6:24 sunset (before 5:30 at home), aqua water, 64 degrees.

We headed off for Rotten Ralph's, a funky joint on a marina with great clam chowder, where the beer if always free (tomorrow).

Alas, it was gone. Gonzo!  :  (

Dave and Mom in the glow of a sunset at Leffis Key.
The rest of the week included a sunset walk at Leffis Key, where fish were literally jumping out of the water...

... and a walk at Robinson's Preserve in Bradenton. (It was built in 2008, with bike and walking paths, a viewing tower, boardwalks through mangroves, kayak and canoe launches. It's a great addition to the area.

Mom enjoying the view from below.

Dave enjoyed a few rounds of golf, and Mom and I enjoyed a few rounds of shopping. We also went to Historic Spanish Point (more about that later). And, of course, another sunset at Anna Maria, followed by dinner at the Anna Maria Oyster Bar, which, oddly enough, has 3 locations, none of them on Anna Maria. It has a bit of Rotten Ralph's vibe... paper towels on hangers for napkins, and a sign on the wall:

"No Mothers In Law.  
No Trouble Makers. 
 No Loose Women.  
No Drunks." 

Fortunately, then let my mother in, anyway! 

A fun detail on the viewing tower.

Shirley, Dave, Cheryl, Jim and Jo Heck
After a delightful dinner at the Crab Shack with our friends, the Hecks, they whisked Mom away for another week in sunny Florida, and Dave drove a thousand miles while I finished Lauren Oliver's YA novel, "Before I Fall," which I loved. I also read (and recommend) Barbara O'Connor's young middle grade book, "The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester," and a YA called "Fly Girl" by Sherri L. Smith.

It was a great trip, AND I'm happy to home.