The hills I walk I've walked before. I will give them space. They will give me more...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Cold Truth About Florida: Not Much Funnin' or Sunnin' This Winter (2014)


Winter Storm Leon's Ice Leans On The Pool Enclosure Last Night (I warm up by imagining Chihuly's Persian Ceiling covering the icy white canvas)
Once we recovered from the flu-like illness that plagued us for most of December, SAM and I headed south to the Florida Keys for some funnin' and sunnin', hoping to escape the cold air those Canadians keep sending our way...

Arctic blasts chase us as we wind our way down the west coast of Florida. We take our sweet time, stopping along the way at Crystal River (much too cold to swim with the manatees)...



Homosassa Springs...

Park Ranger tossing heads of lettuce (looks like Romaine) to manatees taking a "Spring Break" from the cold

and Naples (love the warm, indoor exhibits--Chihuly's Ceiling and other works--at The Baker Museum; "sorry, no cameras or other recording devices to be used inside")...



as well as various walking places along the Tamiami Trail through the Everglades.

We finally make it to the Keys where we enjoy a few days of sunny warmth, a fishing expedition with Cap'n Perry Scuderi among the mangrove islands...

Good eatin' size snapper and sea trout

and some mighty fine food at various local restaurants, including Lazy Days Restaurant, recommended by Cap'n Perry for its "you hook 'em, we cook 'em" preparation of fresh snapper.

Once we have our fill of fun and sun in the Keys (not really! I wanna go back!), we drive part way up the east coast to visit some of SAM's relatives. One of them, 97 now, seems to go on forever like the lady in Tom Petty's song. Her kids joke that she's determined to outlive them.



Sobered by the visit, yet somehow fortified or steeled by it too (remember the irascible someone from another trip?), we cross the state again. We stop in Clermont and find Lakeridge Winery, complete with a wonderful wine host (Doug) who breaks up the monotony of highway travel with his lighthearted banter. Who knew that wine (and its imbibers) could be so funny?


One of our last stops on the way home is Fanning Springs State Park. Though it is close to sunset, and the evening is predicted to be another cold one, we need a place to stretch our legs and use the "facilities" so we pay the entrance fee and take a short walk to the springs.


Once again, we find that the manatees have made their way inland to warm up for the night. I hope for their sake (and ours!) that this cold weather ends soon. Truth be told, most of Florida just ain't fit for much funnin' or sunnin' so far, this winter of 2014 :(

12 comments:

KaHolly said...

At least you got away for a bit? It's not so warm here in S. TX, either!

walk2write said...

I know, Karen! This has been the coldest winter we can remember in the 10 years we have lived (off and on) in Florida. Yes, we did manage to escape the cold for at least a few days. The Keys are the best option for doing just that.

Brigitta Huegel said...

Dear Walk2Write,
even if you didn't find as much sunshine as expected, it sounds as if you had a good time! We sometimes see news about winter hitting Florida (unprepared), so we're not the only ones 'snowed under'.
Interesting the vintner - Californian wine gets more and more fans over here - I love them more than the French, which are often too barrel-matured, giving me a headache (even in small glasses)

Sarah Laurence said...

It's sounds like a fun visit despite the chill. I'm sorry to hear you were so sick. This is one of the coldest and least snowy Januarys I can remember in Maine.

walk2write said...

Britta, I think it was a bit unfair of the news media to focus so much on the Atlanta area's difficulties with the storm. SAM had quite an experience trying to return home from a business trip this week. Since our local airport was closed, he had to fly into Tallahassee and catch a ride from there. The interstate highway he normally takes was closed until just yesterday, and the alternate route took twice as long as normal to get home. He felt a bit like the two guys in the movie PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES.

It's interesting that California wine has become popular there in Germany. I wish there were more varieties of German wines to choose from here. The distribution system for alcohol in this country is seriously flawed.

Thanks, Sarah, we did have a wonderful time and didn't seem to mind the cold so much as we were busy visiting interesting places. The best part about being sick was this recovery trip we gave ourselves. I felt stronger with every delightful step I took and every delicious morsel of fresh fish that I consumed.

I think that the folks in the Midwest have snagged the snow that your part of the country usually gets. Friends and relatives in Illinois are ready for it to go somewhere else!

A Cuban In London said...

Wasn't there a year when you had almost zero temperatures? I seem to remember that a friend of mine living in Miami at the time and looking to relocate to New York wrote to his mum in Cuba saying that he was wearing a thick coat due to the cold temperatures! :-) Go figure. Great post and nice photos.

Greetings from London.

walk2write said...

I'm not sure what year that might have been, ACIL, but around here this year's temps plunged to zero more than once, if you're talkin' Centigrade. I've got the dead and/or dying plants to prove it! Thanks for the visit and compliment.

Rose said...

Glad to know you are feeling better, W2W, and were able to travel to warmer areas for awhile. My niece went to Florida a few weeks ago and posted pictures of her husband on the beach one day--in a sweatshirt and jacket, covered with a blanket:) I've been wishing this winter that my daughter still lived in Phoenix--I would have been on a plane weeks ago!

Julie said...

What a great trip around Florida from top to bottom, east and west! LOVELY!!! We just visited Homassassa about 6 weeks ago! I love it there! Have never been to Fanning Springs though...hmmm...looking forward to it now! Will investigate online! Thanks!

Skeeter said...

I wanna swim with the manatee! Such large yet docile critters that I would love to get to know up close....

It has been one nasty Winter for us folks in the Deep South! Am afraid my garden has taken a hit from all this as well....

Spring, come on down!

troutbirder said...

We still had a great time at Cedar Key and Sebastian/Vero Beach. Looking at the TV weather showing -20's in Minnesota made the 50's and 60's in Florida see mighty good. It's all relative,I guess....:) Didn't see a manatee like I hoped though.

cosmos said...

Hi w2w,
How is the weather now? Here at this part of the world, we had a second snow weekend in a row. Where I'm living, it was for the first time in 18 years that snow accumlated, so some of my friends didn't want to miss the chance to take photos of snowscape in the city. Beautiful scenery it was but I'd like to see the back of winter sooner.

Looks like you were having a good time at a warm resort. You hooked the one in the picture!? You got it cooked? Actually we(six people) are planning an overnight trip near Japan Sea to enjoy eating blowfish. Keep my fingers crossed snow won't cause us any trouble.