Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Naples and season is a coming

Naples is starting to get busy. Not anywhere close to what it will be after the holidays, but enough. Season here is a major event that bumps the population up to double. The beach will not look like the above, peaceful and quiet, unless I go first thing in the morning. The people are coming in mostly from the mid-west and Canada, with a smattering of other countries like Germany, England, France, Italy,and Denmark (yup, Denmark). It is quite beautiful here with perfect 70 degree days in the winter so I get it, but boy, you have to plan for crowds and traffic.

Some interesting skies the last couple of weeks including full moon, and it's been warmer than normal. I'm back in the Florida white sand and swaying palm trees mode, having a hard time realizing other places are getting cold. Star Mountain is getting colder but no snow yet. Opening day on the ski mountain is Thanksgiving and they make snow too, so likely the machines will be working hard soon if they're not already.

looking for buried treasure
Another beach visit - got to do some sketching, photography, and a little reading. Mighty peaceful. Just me and the birds (and an occasional human.)

One of the mangled banyan trees. Look at that new growth - fabulous. Every single one along the road has new leaves. Resilience indeed.

A few creatures scattered around. That's a gathering of ibis and an ugly duck waiting for breadcrumbs from Mark and the cute little frog was perched just like that next to the front door at eye level.

A day on the golf course. Lots of birds but no alligator sightings yet. Gorgeous weather and the course is in great shape especially considering they lost 140 trees in the hurricane. I've been playing wife golf on Sundays. Yes, that's a phrase around here. Enjoying it.

Can't believe Thanksgiving is next week. We're flying  Miami to Charleston and I'm packing pecan tassies which I haven't baked yet. These are a must and instantly became a tradition when I found the recipe. Cheers!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Charleston

The Charleston visit was great and I'm so happy that Tiffany, Chris, and the girls are loving being there after their whirlwind move. It seems they are not alone in thinking Charleston is a great place to live. Masses of people are flocking there and Tiffany and Chris have already met a number of families who have relocated from the DC area in this past year. Slower pace, lower cost of living, beaches nearby, and no real winter weather. Sounds good right?

I was there for Halloween which was a hoot. They take their decorating seriously there, and it had a bit of a deep south spooky feel. Anyone remember Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil? That kind of spooky feel, even though that was Savannah and this is Charleston. Everyone was super friendly though, and Penny & Juliet had a great time.

Tiffany took me to an early birthday dinner downtown to a sushi restaurant called O-Ku which was excellent. Chris was so nice and stayed home with the girls while we played. Definitely would go back - love my sushi! A major foodie town.

Strolling through the neighborhood on the way to a small park on the grounds of an old 1700's plantation. Richmond Plantation was the name and the house is long gone. The homes in the neighborhood close to Tiffany are gorgeous and fairly new but built in the plantation style that is so attractive.
Juliet wished to ride in the stroller to the park - conserving energy I think

What a hidden gem. I'd be here everyday maybe painting if I was around more.

Very low key and relaxed visit. It's a 9 hour drive but that's the beauty of plane travel. There's nothing direct from Ft. Myers, so while jumping from Ft Myers to Charlotte to Charleston does not make geographic sense, still takes a lot less time to get there.

Bizarre lizard sighting I've never seen. Top photo was taken in Tiffany's courtyard and bottom photo same place next day. Never seen a lizard (and this is a Carolina anole) do a partial color change.

A pod of dolphins live around there - caught one on camera anyway
Coloring is very important at restaurants
Headed to a marina restaurant in Isle of Palm called The Boathouse with the whole family. Beautiful location where the beaches are and we caught it right as the sun was going down.

Went to a fun quaint restaurant  called Vintage Coffee Cafe for breakfast before Tiffany dropped me off at the airport. Yup, that's a truck in the middle of outdoor seating. The kids love it and it has really great and unique breakfast food. Thumbs up on the Walker city of choice! We'll be back for Thanksgiving and Mark will get a chance to see what it's all about.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Naples, art, reconnecting with friends, beach, and recovery

And now I'm in Naples with a slight delay in posting. I was in a 3 day art workshop taught by my previous teacher and good friend Patty which kinda put everything else to the side. Great workshop and saw many old faces and met some new ones. Patty and I got to catch up after the workshop as it's been over a year since she moved to the other side of Florida. We stepped right in as if it had been 5 minutes ago. Nice when time and distance don't mean a thing.

As predicted by Mark there's been enough time since the hurricane before I got down that a lot of clean up has happened. So much damage as of course Naples took a direct hit. We were extremely lucky and our place is whole but many were not as lucky. Very impressed with how much hard work in clearing has gone on. Everywhere you look though, homes with roof damage, pool screens ripped off, and gaping holes where immense trees once stood. That's minor of course compared to those people who remain homeless and there are many. There is still FEMA presence here for some time to come. Below are the 25 year old banyan trees on my morning walk that were mostly flattened and upended. The crews have tried to right a number of them to see if they might survive. Sure hope so.

Our "new" ugly duck. She, at least I think it's a she, showed up in the first 10 minutes I was at the condo looking for a bread handout. She squeaks which is different than all the others. They've been completely mute.

Patty and I made it to the beach her last morning. We both love this particular one (Delnor-Wiggins) for the same reasons - its been kept fairly wild, nature in glory. Hardly any people but those that were there were busy: fishing, painting or just enjoying. So happy the beach was not destroyed by Irma.

The weather has cooled off to lovely 70's. Don't know if that's it for summer heat but enjoying the heck out of it now. When you can open up your lanai and enjoy the outside you do understand why people flock to Florida. I am off on another trip out of town this week, this time to Charleston to see Tiffany and family in their new home. Can't wait!