Okay, we didn’t actually go to Florida again. Gotcha! Continuing the adventure…
Wednesday we decided to check out the Robinson Wildlife Preserve. It was hot. It was stinky. But we got our exercise! We also stopped by Five Guys on the way home in order to counteract any calorie burning that may have occurred. I think this was also the day we came back into Bradenton (where Ray’s parents live) to eat at Anna Maria Oyster Bar. Umm. That place was delightful! Its title made us all suspicious, but they had lots of good food for a reasonable price. And you didn’t have to eat oysters. The crab cake was probably the highlight for me. Evie had a big old bowl of Macaroni and Cheese and she devoured all of it, as pictured below.
Thursday was our boat ride adventure! Since Ray Sr and Vicki have a boat in their backyard (complete with a channel of water that leads into the Sarasota Bay, and conveniently into our little backyard bay! So they zipped on over to us on Thursday morning and took us out on the water! It was a lot of fun, however, Evie had trouble wearing her life jacket, and it was semi-stressful making sure she was happy and safe at the same time. We made our way around the Sarasota Bay, saw some crazy mansions on the beach, ate sandwiches, and went out to what the locals call “Beer Can Beach,” which at low tide, is a sandbar that pops up out in the middle of the bay. Boaters can anchor down and walk around in shin deep water, lounge on a tiny beach, and I guess pop a few tops too, by the sound of the name. Lots of fun! Evie had a pretty good time in the water when there were no waves to put us in danger! The Jansens took us home and stayed for an early supper of hamburgers, potatoes, green beans, and fresh Florida fruit. And… we had ice cream for a midnight snack. Mooooooose Traaaaacks.
Friday. We went and toured Ray and Holly’s new house in Tampa (actually, it’s in Seffner)! It’s quite a nice little place they have! They closed on it the following Monday, but we got a special tour scheduled while we were in town. How exciting! After that, the “adults” went on a Florida countryside tour (Chuck, Janine, and Grandma), while the kids hit up Ellenton Outlet Mall. It was slightly disappointing, since the outlet part didn’t seem to really exist. It had all the right stores, but none of the right prices for outlet shopping! What the heck? We did run across Evie’s Tavern. That totally made the long, hot trip worth it. Kinda. Since we didn’t actually go in and all… Check out the picture below for little tiny Evie lounging on their porch furniture. Ha ha! We went back to our island home after that, and got to eat at a place called The Sandbar, which was a restaurant right on the beach. You could even sit outside and dig your toes into the sand! It was super yummy, and we got a few minutes down on the beach after eating our victuals. It was an absolutely gorgeous evening to be on the beach!
On our last day in Florida, our little family of three decided to stay in and get some rest before the big trip in the morning. Actually, Logan and I went on a breakfast date while Janine watched the little ankle biter for a few hours. We took two of the bicycles from the garage and pedaled our way to The Donut Experiment for our first stop, where you can buy made to order cake donuts. They were super tasty! Raspberry Chocolate, Sea Salt Caramel, Peanut Butter Chocolate, and Cinnamon Caramel were our ‘nuts of choice. After ingesting our breakfast, we walked over to the Bean Point(ish) beach where there were a bunch of women doing Beach Yoga. We were really tempted (especially Logan) to join them, but instead, we skirted past them with our beach chairs and dug our tootsies into the surf and chatted. Another beautiful day at the beach. The rest of the day, Logan, Evie, and I just hung out while the rest of the crew went for an afternoon at the Jansens’ “cocktail pool,” (I was kind of getting sick of being in freak-out-because-nothing-around-here-is-safe-for-Evie mode, so we opted to stay at the house) and then we finally “ate in” to finish off the rest of our food before departure.
At the crack o’ dawn, we rushed out the door to get on our flight, and made it back without a hitch at around 11:15am. We met Kristy and Craig at Granite City in Kansas City, and then made the three hour trek home to Salina, USA! What a memorable adventure we had! A colossal shout out and thank you to Chuck and Janine for making our first family beach vacation happen! You guys are such a blessing to our family.