We decided to avoid the hassle of traveling to St Barts, returning home, and then traveling to Fort Lauderdale for a mid December cruise. Instead rented a house on Anna Maria Island, Fl.
November 7th We used Marriott points and checked into the Tampa Airport Hotel for a couple of nights before driving to Anna Maria Island on the 10th. Carl and Mary Corrello met us for a pleasant lunch and reunion on Monday. I worked with Carl for many years, so we had a lot to catch up on.
November 10th It was only about an hour drive to Anna Maria. We stopped at a couple of stores along the way to pick up staples we would need during our four weeks on the Island. We heard about Anna Maria from several acquaintances we met in St Barts. The Island is extremely laid back and a throw back to the Florida of many years ago. The house we rented was very clean, modern, and well stocked. It was located about a three minute walk from a wonderful beach that stretches for many miles.
Eleanor immediately got into her beach walking routine; first thing in the morning and then again in the late afternoon. I would meet her at the beach in the evening to watch the sunset. Our friends the Coles also decided to take a break from St Barts and were visiting Anna Maria. We met them several nights for dinner.
November 18th The house we stayed at had a 2nd bedroom, so we invited our good friend Scott Guthrie to join us for a mini vacation. We both enjoy Scott's company and he shares my passion for photography. We traveled to various birding locations during his four day visit.
While Anna Maria Island can not complete with the glamour of St Bart's we found it extremely comfortable. The beaches stretch for miles on end. Everyone we met was very friendly and laid back. It is definitely a place we plan to return to.
December 8th We relocated to the Eastern side of Florida for a week and stayed at an incredible little resort by the name of Beachside Village Resort in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. This place far exceeded our expectations. While it is anolder resort, it has been totally modernized. It was quaint and very comfortable with a wonderful and helpful staff. It was within easy walking distance of the town center which had many restaurants and coffee shops. Our current plans are to return there in the spring for a short stay before returning home at the conclusion of our cruise.
We had a busy week running errands, but I did manage to get our one morning for some birding photography.
December 15th We checked out of the resort, turned in our rental car and boarded the Seabourn Odyssey in Port Everglades. All went smoothly.