Monday, December 16, 2013


Winter arrived early in our part of the world.  Cold, snow, ice, sleet, rain; you name it, we got it.  And winter doesn't even officially begin until the 21st!

So what's a warm-blooded person to do?

Escape the cold.  Fly south!!!  The birds are pretty smart about this stuff and that's what a lot of them do.

So...Sweetie and I flew out of Cincinnati to Tampa and drove south along the Gulf Coast of Florida to Anna Maria Island (AMI), and spent a nice, warm, sunny week there instead of at home where we saw more snow, ice, rain, sleet, and -5F wind chills!!!!

Sweetie's Newport Aquarium buddy has a gorgeous vacation home on AMI and let us stay for a week at a very discounted friends and family rate :)  I mean, this house was gorgeous!!  Larger than we needed at 3 bedrooms, but we had a wonderful time there.  This was a view out of the livingroom window and deck that wrapped around the back of the house.  Just a short walk - very short - and we were at the beach.  This is on the Bay side but we walked on the Gulf side, too and saw several flocks of birds just sitting sunning themselves on the white sand that was as fine as baby powder.  

A neighbor's sea grape "tree" was huge.  I liked the curvy, twisty trunks of these.  

It was a bit odd to see Christmas decorations around the neighborhood with the temps at 80F and sunny, not a snowflake or ice crystal in sight!

We drove down the island to Sarasota to view the Mote Aquarium and take in the Aquarium and see what was there - and to take a Sea Life Tour with a group that operates beside the Mote.

The tour took us away from the are and into the Bay, visiting a bird rookery with herons, egrets and pelicans as well as visiting white pelicans (not native to the island but here on a short visit, as we were!).

When we stopped at a small island to look around, Sweetie (the Marine Biologist) had to get out with the tour biologist to see what could be seen and brought onto the boat to share later.

Bottlenose Dolphins swam along the way with us and showed off at the front of the boat while we watched.

The white pelicans come to AMI to meet and mate.  No mating behavior from them yet.  They must be waiting for some sign.

Sure was great to be in a warm, sunny place while Kentucky was having record cold weather with lots of icy and snowy roads.  

More photos to come...

Hope you are staying safe and warm, wherever you are.

The above photos are all mine.  Here are some Sweetie took...

The AMI City Pier where people went to fish off the pier - or just sit in the sunshine and soak it up for a while.  They have a restaurant there and a little bar with outside tables.  And plenty of pelicans on the roof, along with a great blue heron.

This little snowy egret (snowys have the golden slippers) was sitting on the bench, posing for Jerry :)  Maybe he was saying, Welcome to Anna Maria Island.

Throughout the town, you'd set the Great White Egret (could have been the same one) walking - always at the crosswalk - across the street, with people and cars stopping to let him (or her) pass by!  Smart bird.

Ah, memories of the week there in AMI will keep me warm for a while...hope you are staying safe and warm and are getting all your decorating and shopping done.


Debbie Nolan said...

Rhonda - such lovely pics and it makes me warm just looking at them. You picked a wonderful time to fly south. Hope you are gathering a lot of good painting material to keep you busy when you come back to winter here. Have a great day.

Carol Blackburn said...

Rhonda, it sounds great. Did you bottle some of that heat to bring back home?

debwardart said...

Glad you had fun - and took lots of pix to paint from. Ahhhh, those white sand beaches of the Gulf Coast of Florida - nothing like them!

Sadami said...

Thank you, Rhonda, for sharing a lovely post and photos. But you have to come to Sydney or Australia! Middle of summer, sunshine!
Cheers, Sadami

Autumn Leaves said...

What a fabulous mini vacation!

RH Carpenter said...

It was warm and sunny and wonderful, knowing KY was in the middle of a deep freeze, Debbie.

We did bring a bit back, Carol - it's going to be 50F by this weekend here in KY :)

Deb, the white beaches were so pretty and the sand so soft...why did I talk Jerry into coming back? ha ha

Sadami, it only takes 2 hours to fly to AMI - but the last time I flew to Sydney (via San Francisco) it was at least 14 hours!!! Sorry, dear, but too long for me to be on a plane these days :(

Sherry, yes, a week away is a good long time and we could have stayed 2 weeks but being so close to the holidays, we had things to do here at home. We'll return again soon, I'm sure.