20 Years From Now...

"20 YEARS FROM NOW," Mark Twain said, “you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than the ones you did.”THIS online journal is dedicated to our next 20 years!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Our Top 5 List

It's hard to believe we've been in Panama City Beach for four months. It's even more of a stretch to come to terms with our pending departure (tomorrow), but as cliched as it sounds all good things must come to an end.

Still, we learned quite a bit about ourselves. For starters we can tolerate each other long term, and in close quarters. Of course, having a sense of humor helps.

For example.

I spotted the tee-shirt John's wearing above when we were at Pier Park with my cousin and her husband last week. I laughed out loud and decided I HAD to get it for him because so far he hasn't thrown me back. Oh, wait, is the shirt referring to the fish? Who knew? ;-)


But this post isn't about fat, big mouthed fish (or women). It's about our top 5 list on life at Latitude 30.

John's Top 5 List:

(1) Kayaking on Shell Island


(2) Biking at Panama City Beach Conservation Area


 (3) Lying in the sun reading


(4) Long walks on the beach and through St. Andrews State Park


(5) Econfina Park excursion


Dianne's Top 5 List:

(1) Long walks on the beach


(2) No winter boots...except for these


(3) Visiting St. Marys, Georgia at Christmas


(4) Re-visiting Apalachicola, Florida


(5) Sunsets from our balcony


Our next stop is the farm near Peterborough. Fingers crossed we miss all snowstorms!

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Florida & Family

Whenever we're in Florida we like to get together with my cousin and her husband who are also snowbirds. Sunday they drove up from their winter residence in New Port Richey to spent a couple of days with us.


Monday the sky was crystal clear and we went for a walk on the beach to the pier.


We stopped for a rest at the picnic area. Look carefully. You'll see I'm wearing my "winter boots".


Then we stopped to take group shots on the pier. Here's Mary Lou, Frank and me.


And us with John. We really did need those light jackets.


Monday afternoon we headed to Pier Park and stopped in Dick's Last Resort Restaurant (left) for coffee.


The place was dimly lit and very noisy, definitely more suited to college kids who just want to drink themselves silly. The waiter had a fun time humiliating us. Mary Lou's hat announced her social insurance number was 0000-000-004, which translates to old as dirt. Frank apparently has wooden teeth, and yes, the waiter deemed me high maintenance. The cheeky bugger. Meanwhile he didn't make a hat for John, but opted to sneak into the photo instead. Here we are in all our glory...


Tuesday we stayed close to home, but opted for lunch at Schooners. Look closely and you'll see John's blue jacket at the top of the stairs.


The entire time Frank was here he snapped some great shots and was kind enough to let me use them.


Compare this view of the beach below to the previous day (above). The wind and surf obliterate the view of the high rises in the distance.


We had a super visit even though the only person who jumped in the pool was John.


What a contrast to the mounds of snow at home. 


I much prefer it here, and we've already made plans to visit with Frank and Mary Lou next winter. IN FLORIDA. 

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Ben-i-friends

This week friends from home stayed for a few days in St. Andrews State Park, and naturally we had to get together. Monday afternoon Rae and Jean Guy came over to our condo for a swim and stayed for dinner.

The following day the weather tanked, and Rae wisely suggested we go to the Grand Theater to see Argo. If you haven't seen the movie yet, do yourself a favor. It's an amazing film.


Also in attendance were Rae's Uncle Dave and his wife, Elaine. After the movie we headed to Applebee's for an afternoon beverage and chat, and Dave and Elaine invited us to dinner in their condo Wednesday evening.

Wednesday afternoon, however, John and I toured the state park with Rae and Jean Guy as our guides. While John's been there numerous times, I've only visited the areas closest to the beach, so all of this was new to me. Rae gave me the grand tour of their Scamp.


Later on we spotted two deer, and eventually ended up at the turpentine distillery as mentioned in an earlier post.


We also walked through the forested area that's just endured a "controlled burn". This charred plant reminded me of a metal sculpture and just begged to be photographed!


On the pier a heron endured our presence and remained within close proximity to a fisherman. I suspect the heron was waiting for his dinner - one that would mean a great deal less work on his part.


Wednesday evening we headed to Dave and Elaine's Gulf Crest Beach Resort condo. Their two-bedroom unit has a wide, 25-foot long balcony that just seemed to go on and on forever. The spacious state-of-the-art kitchen was to die for. Seriously. It had every bell and whistle a chef could ever want. With wine and crab legs as an appetizer, Mexican lasagna and salad for the entree, and lots of laughter from beginning to end, we had a fantastic evening that of course ended with hugs all around.

All in all a very memorable week at Latitude 30. :)

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

St. George Island - Florida's Forgotten Coast

St. George Island, Florida is a barrier island just south of Apalachicola and Eastpoint on the panhandle, and since we were in the vicinity we decided to take a look. The bridge connecting Apalachicola and Eastpoint is impressive and seems to stretch forever.


But the bridge connecting Eastpoint and the island itself is mind boggling. It's about five miles long. 


Parallel to the highway/bridge is a remnant of the previous route that was likely damaged during a hurricane or a tropical storm.



St. George Island proper is a narrow strip of sand in the Gulf of Mexico. A sign declares it is  "the uncommon Florida" and it's easy to see why. There's not a highrise, shopping mall or amusement park in sight!



The St. George Island lighthouse and visitor center is one of the first things to see on the island.


The main road that travels the length of the island is paved, and provides an ocean view no matter what direction you look. The homes are impressive, and many are built on stilts. Not surprising, considering the island is only a few feet above sea level.



But there is a desolation and isolation to this place I find unsettling. I'm not sure I would want to spend any length of time here. The good news, however, is The Blue Parrot Restaurant has a welcoming tropical atmosphere, as well as a webcam. And of course, I ordered um, I mean, asked John to pose while I snapped a few photos.





After lunch we drove to the eastern tip of the island and the entrance to the St. George Island State Park. Dark clouds threatened rain and only added to the mystic of this rugged landscape.


Meanwhile, directly across the road is a gated community!


One final note. Please, don't feel bad for John because he spent the day driving, or had to pose for my pictures. He does all right. In Port St. Joe he made an unexpected stop.


Yup. I don't know how he does it, but the guy manages to sniff out a kayak (or kayak paraphernalia) everywhere he goes. All in all, we had another fun day, south of Latitude 30.


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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Apalachicola

Our latest road trip took us to Apalachicola, a one and a half hour drive southeast from PCB on Hwy 98. Established in 1831, it was once the third largest port on the Gulf of Mexico. Wide, tree lined streets are still graced by picturesque homes from the nineteenth and twentieth century that show the wealth and craftsmanship of its early days. It really is a lovely spot and there is a new and wonderful site around every corner.


We parked the van on the main street and the shop right in front of us was a visual delight. Coconut carved heads hung in the tree, while a wizard invited us inside.


We did a circle walking tour of the downtown area, stopping off in various shops along the way. The Grady Market has a traditional front entrance as seen below. 


We used this entrance last year. This year we opted for the back entrance that includes a serene garden area with lots of chairs to sit and relax.


The inside was just as spectacular. Check out the tin roof.


We could of spent hours (and a fortune) here, but we pressed on. I really appreciated the covered walkways as it was drizzling, but I imagine in the heat of the summer they serve another purpose. 


This is the view directly across the street. 


The color and architecture reminded me of the tropics...


As well as the American west. This building could as easily be found in Arizona or New Mexico.


This fountain commemorates the sponge industry that began in 1831. 


How's this for an entrance way?


The colors on this building begged to be captured on film, and only afterward did I notice the reflection of the post office in the window!


The exterior of each shop is as unique as its owner. 


John blends in perfectly as he takes full advantage to rest his feet and stay out of the rain.


From here we strolled back to the van, and right across the street was this "botanical garden" shop. 


It's really just another alley way filled to capacity with every whatnot imaginable! It was also closed because it was raining. It was also close to 5 PM.


Which meant it was time to drive 'home' after another great outing in the "forgotten" Florida.

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