Thursday, March 22, 2012

Top Ten Things I Loved about Florida (Part 1)

Photo by Simply S Photograpy

My blogger husband, Shawn, used to do these little “Top Ten” lists, back when his blog was a mere toddler. But now that he’s all grown up in the blogosphere, he’s abandoned the “Top Tens” for heavier subjects like theology and women’s rights. Today, I shall take up his mantle and treat you to a good ol' fashioned countdown, however, it will come to you in two installments. I know you live time sensitive lives, but my fingers couldn't be stopped.

On Tuesday we left the Sunshine State after 2 1/2 weeks in her warm splendor. I felt she needed a fonder farewell, so without further ado (the clock is ticking):

The Top Ten Things I Loved about Florida (in a very particular order)

10. Buying a flat of strawberries at Detweiler's for $7 in the middle of March- I ‘m not sure about the rest of you out there, but I have most certainly noticed the hike in food prices, especially since leaving on this trip. Back in Lancaster County, I did most (if not all) of my grocery shopping at BB’s Grocery Outlet, where I could get 32oz. containers of organic yogurt for $0.99. That’s not reality, folks. So when a whopping huge tray of strawberries presents itself for the measly price of $7, I see snack time taken care of for the whole entire week and pounce on that deal.

9. The Bat Sanctuary in Gainesville- Towards the end our adventurous day out with Tamara Lunardo & Co., she mentioned that perhaps we might want to meet up with her later that evening to watch thousands of bats fly around the University of Florida campus. Okay, so those weren’t her exact words, but that was the gist of it. I was intrigued and freaked out at the same time, but thought, “Hey, this is a chance of a lifetime. Twilight be damned, I’m going to see the bats!” And what a spectacle it was! Two houses built on really high stilts sit in a small clearing right in the middle of the university. In these houses, thousands of bats live, and each night, at dusk, they all fly out toward the lake just across the road. The night we went, the show had an added feature when a hungry hawk showed up for a dinner at the bat smorgasboard As the flying mammals came streaming from their homes (really, they just look like birds; it wasn’t that creepy), the hawk would slice through the air, picking off the ill-fated ones. Greedy little monster made at least 3 or 4 trips to the buffet (but it did make it all the more exciting for us onlookers).

8. The Sand of Lido Beach- I realize that just about a week ago I wrote a post, cursing the beach and it’s grainy counterpart, sand. I, in fact, wrote that post before going to Lido Beach and sinking my calloused toes beneath the powdered-sugar sand that surrounds it. Really, it was lovely, and the whole family got into the fascination. We were there for a family picture session with Shawn’s sister, Shar, but our youngest daughter simply couldn’t resist the allure of the sand. In her flouncy little dress, she laid her body right down, face first, and began making snow angels in the sand. “Mama, I just love this sand; it’s so soft!” she kept shouting. If I was 30 years younger and less concerned about showing my underwear in public, I would have done the same thing.

7. Pinecraft- I first came to this Amish/Mennonite/Beachy/"Any group that requires women to where a head-covering” neighborhood back in the early days of our marriage. If you’ve never experienced this little nook of the universe, consider taking a detour and check it out if you are ever in Sarasota. It's truly a walk back in time, where bikes rule the roads and the local ice cream stand is filled to bursting each and every night of the week (except Sundays, of course). And the part I probably enjoyed the most (besides the ice cream; that’s a given) was playing Black Rook with Shawn’s family in the evenings. It’s a card game, yes, but they throw in these coy little terms like “trump” and “bump” that keep it edgy all at the same time.

6. Three-wheel Bikes- Without #7, this line item wouldn’t exist. Why in heaven’s name these overgrown tricycles haven’t hit the mainstream, I will never know. Honestly, I love these bikes. Fun, because you feel like a 3-year old all over again, and practical, because they have a gigantic basket attached to the back, perfect for hauling anything from laundry, to groceries, to small children. I’m sure there are drawbacks, but I have yet to find one.

By now I am sure I have eaten up at least 3 to 4 minutes of your much-cherished lunch break, so I shall save the remainder of my list for tomorrow. Till then, I leave you with bated breath, I’m sure.


  1. When our son was little, we fashioned him a "seat belt" out of a strap from a gym bag,(black nylon strap, with black clasp/click thingy) and put him in the basket on my 3 wheel bike... he had a BLAST!! I loved going to the little meat market down the street from our house and being able to throw our goodies into the front basket and Devon into the back basket. As he got older , i had to upgrade him to a "bike seat" on a regular bike BUT I still have fond memories of my gold spray painted three wheeler... I am glad you and your family enjoyed out little corner of Heaven here in Sarasota :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by,Dawn, and thanks for letting me enjoy your little corner of Heaven!

  2. These are some of my favorites too. I'm so glad you go to spend a bunch of time in Sarasota (where I'm from and where my parents still live). Next time, I want to come with you so we can have ice cream and sand angels together! And if anyone sees our undies, that's their problem-- we'll be having too much fun to care. :)

    1. Tamara, I shall one day take you up on the offer of both ice cream and sand angels, complete with undies showing!