Florida vacations don’t lend themselves to blogging. Theme parks wring all the energy out of us. More to the point, we feel uncomfortable leaving a theme park until we’ve gotten our money’s worth. A person can’t have gotten their money’s worth out of a theme park until multiple theme park employees are shooing him out of the park at closing time. That doesn’t leave a lot of time and energy for writing and formatting.
So we knew what was ahead of us for the latter half of the week. For the earlier part, we booked a restful visit with Cousin Karen and her family on the southern reaches of the Atlantic Florida coastline. This seemed like our more traditional wandering around but leaving time to reflect. Except that Cousin Karen has kept up on our travels and set things up so that we would have lots to do on the southern reaches of the Atlantic Florida coastline. It’s been difficult to sit down and tell about it all. But we’ll try…
First, we flew out on a Saturday evening from the local airport at Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth. It was a comfortable day — the flight left in the early evening and Nadia even got to go to the stables in the morning — if not a particularly comfortable flight. We wound up at Karen’s after 11 pm. We chatted for a while and enjoyed everyone’s enthusiastic hospitality (especially given that we arrived so late). Besides Karen, our hosts are Double D, Emily (who was flower girl at our wedding), and Travis (who likes horses as much as Nadia, and who very generously gave up his bedroom so Zoe, Nadia, and Lanie had a place to sleep). The enthusiastic hospitality extended through our whole visit, including French toast the next morning and a pool that Lanie jumped in every chance she got. When she wasn’t jumping in the pool, Lanie was playing with Lilly the dog and Mikko the cat.
We had never traveled so far south for our February break. Well, except last year when we went significantly farther south. It was definitely warm enough for Lanie to swim, though our hosts thought it was a little odd. I don’t think their pool had been used since October. At some point Zoe popped in, too, for a quick dip. It wasn’t exactly in the middle of her comfort zone, but Lanie thought it was fine.
Once we started hitting the tourist trail we found that we were all very comfortable in shorts and t-shirts. Our first stop also required our rain coats — isn’t this supposed to be the dry season? — because of intermittent sprinkles along the boardwalk at the Green Caye Nature Preserve. Double D was in favor of waiting the storm out under one of the pavilion roofs along the boardwalk, but we persevered, because warm rain is better than anything those poor saps back in New Hampshire could hope for in February. Also, it was a very beautiful walk, with many, many birds to look at. That kept us wanting to see what was around the next corner. A turtle? A stork? In New Hampshire all they’re looking at is snow, ice and mud. Suckers.
About a mile into the walk, with h half mile to go, the rain stopped and the sun came out. The air very quickly got hot, and we got to see a great big alligator slosh out of the marsh and onto a bank. The first draft of our travel plans had us visiting Everglades National Park this week, but that eventually got squeezed out of the itinerary. This was a good substitute. We got a manageable dose of swampy nature much closer to home.
We also definitely got the feeling we were walking in the footsteps of Grandma, Aunt Rosemarie and Aunt Kathryn, who circumnavigated this very boardwalk trail (all 1 1/2 miles!) only a few years ago next month. We could almost hear the ghostly echoes of Grandma saying, “Oh, murder” when the gator hefted itself onto the shore and smiled at us.
After that historic trek, we visited other spots Grandma had told us about, including the place where they grow strawberries hydroponically and you don’t have to bend down to pick them. It was surprising that she never
mentioned the petting zoo that was right next door. It had parrots that were rescued from unpleasant home situations or that had been re-captured after having been released by unpleasant owners. Karen says people in Florida feel the climate is so mild here that they just turn loose any old pet they don’t want any more. The things Karen tells us about people in Florida!
That took up the morning — well, we also stopped at a cool farmer’s market and bought ice cream (before lunch!) because it was local and hand-made. Then, for the afternoon’s entertainment, I’ll turn it over to Nadia:
We went to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. We watched a junior hunter trial. There was lots of tack for sale in tents.
As you can see, that Nadia sure loves to write.