Tuesday, February 15, 2011

And Now They're Gone....

My friends Cindi and Glennda are now back up in Michigan - but it was SO wonderful having them visit for a few days. I think on my last blog I had spent one day with them (we did the Palm Beach AVA walk) and then the next day we moved. I very seldom feel disappointed by a park, but I have to admit that initially I was kind of bummed about Sebastian Inlet State Park. BUT.... when we arrived, it was raining and horribly windy and the fish smell was almost unbearable. Plus our front TV blew out and I had no idea why. All in all, I was just in a "funk" (which is actually not very much like me, to be honest!). But now, only a few days later, I absolutely LOVE this park. In fact we've already decided to come back for two weeks next year. But more about that later. The first thing I have to do is report on the rest of my visit with my friends!

Since Thursday was our moving day, I didn't see them at all, but I know they were shopping and having a ball. On Friday, I drove down to their hotel - a place called Homewood Suites, which is a Hilton franchise apparently. And, BOY, did they get a good deal. Their suite was really, really nice, with a very functional kitchen (full size frig, microwave, dishwasher, a real stove, and stocked cupboards - I've attached a picture). There was also a "living room" area with a couch that could pull out, and then a bedroom with two king size beds and a nice big bathroom. And they got it for $70 a night - I was amazed, to be honest! That Glennda - she's quite the little bargain hunter! Anyway, I spent all afternoon with the girls just hanging out - they gave me a "show and tell" of all their shopping from the previous day. Then we drove into downtown Stuart to find a place for dinner (but we got totally turned around, which apparently has been a recurring theme for them!). We ended up at this great restaurant called The Black Marlin - really excellent! It was so nice to spend the whole day just hanging out.

I didn't get home until about 10:00 (which is WAY late for me-it was after dark!) and I just spent Saturday in the park. The weather was still pretty cool - low 60's - and windy and it still smelled pretty fishy! Dave had a good morning, because he had the chance to go to a seminar on fishing in the Inlet - it lasted about two hours and he said it was really interesting. It's great that the park offers something like this. We did find a nice little bar about 5 miles north of the park. It's called the SBI (for Sebastian Bay Inn). We met the nicest little bartender, named Casey - I've attached a picture of her because she is now our new BFF. The bar has a cool history - it's this long, low building with lots of arches and stuff inside - Dave insisted that it must have been something else before it was a bar, and sure enough - it was actually a Coast Guard Station. Isn't that crazy? It was actually built in 1903 and by the mid 1980's it was going to be demolished, but the present owner bought it and renovated it into this funky, cozy bar. And it has the world's biggest deck looking out over the ocean. Really cool!

So on Sunday I headed back to spend one last day with the girls, and it was wonderful! We went to a State Park Preserve and went on a little hike - nothing special, but it showed the girls what a typical "Florida scrub" is like. Then we went back to the heavenly hotel and sat outside by the pool for a while, and then headed back into town for dinner. We had 6:30 reservations at this great Italian restaurant named Tutta Fresca - but we didn't get there until 7:00 because (guess what!) we got all turned around again. And this was WITH a GPS system! Anyway, we had a great time - I had a wonderful shrimp dish with a delicious tangy lemon and white wine sauce. One of the owners of the restaurant (an older Italian gentleman) came up to our table a couple of times and kind of flirted a bit - we told ourselves he must think we were "cougars" but I told the girls that I think we're really just grizzled old mountain lions, scars and all. Anyway, he told us there was a wonderful tenor in the other room, and he would personally see to it that we got seats at the bar after we were done with our meals. We, of course, were absolutely NOT interested but smiled and nodded politely. But then, when we had paid our check, he came back and had the waiter bring us a round of lemoncellos. I'm not sure that's spelled right, but I remember this STUFF from our trip to Italy - it is a BRIGHT yellow "liquor" made from lemon juice, vodka and sugar and it it tastes like drinking Lemon Pledge (according to Cindi!). We were getting scared that we were going to get trapped into going into the "other room!" so Cindi put me on alert - my job was to watch this guy and, as soon as he got out of site, we RAN for the door! Whew! We MUST be getting old! We got a good laugh out of it though.

By 9:00 we were back at the hotel for hugs and kisses and good-byes. Plus, I took the BIG UPS box that they had packed up with all of their shoes and the spoils from their many, MANY shopping trips. I told them I would mail it out for them on Monday so they could head right for the airport. (By the way, girls - the guys at the UPS Store said to tell you "thank you" for your contribution to Florida's economy!) It was so nice seeing them and I was sorry to see them leave - but we've all promised each other that we'll do it again next year! (And I'm holding you to it!)

So now - back to the park - I actually do really like the park now. The weather is much nicer, the fish smell is almost gone, and I've found some nice walking trails. Dave's been biking every day, and today I went for a ride too. The fishing has been fantastic for Dave - he's having a ball! - and every day he sees dolphins and manatees. In fact, he had a dolphin swimming around about 30 or 40 feet from him for the better part of an hour the other day. VERY cool! He's been catching a lot of fish, plus other stuff too. He "caught" a starfish the other day, plus yesterday he pulled in a couple of weird "spiny things" that he has NO idea what they are. And because it's salt water, a lot of the fish are unfamiliar to him - but he's loving it! Yesterday we went kayaking for most of the afternoon, which was fun. So overall, I've totally changed my mind about the park. It is in a beautiful location, with our campsite RIGHT on the inlet - we're probably 25 feet from the water's edge - and the ocean is right on the edge of the park. I'm attaching a few pictures, but they don't begin to show what it's like. We found the Walmart, we found a great bar, plus we got the TV problem fixed - and life is good! We're here for one more week, and it's supposed to be between 75 and 80 and sunny the whole time. Doesn't get much better than that, does it?

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