If Florida was a person, it’s name would be Sybil. You’ve heard the expression ‘if you don’t like the weather, wait an hour?’ Well, if you don’t like where you are in Florida, drive an hour in any direction and you will find something different.
There truly is something for everyone in the sunshine state. Whether you gravitate toward sophisticated, upscale areas (Palm Beach, Naples), or you prefer more laid back, rustic locales (Central Florida), or you like funky, artsy places (Key West), or maybe something in between (Venice), Florida’s got you covered.
Having now spent a total of 5 months throughout different areas of Florida, I think I can safely say Venice is our favorite area.
Last year when we went to Florida for two months, we spent quite a bit of time checking out RV resorts so we could feel comfortable with our choices this year, because let’s face it, sometimes the internet isn’t all that honest ;).
But as we learned, you really can’t know what it’s like to stay somewhere until you’ve actually done it, and I’m happy to say the resort we choose in Venice exceeded our expectations. I knew when we first saw it last year it was a step up from many of the others we had seen…the pool area looks like it belongs in an upscale resort, many sites are on the Myakka River, and they have more activities than you could ever have time for (more on that later).
When we first arrived, however, we were very disappointed in our site. It was waaaayyyyy too small for our motorhome, but after we (and our neighbors) complained, we were moved to a much more spacious site a few days later, and all was right with the world.
The first night after we arrived, we went to a Mexican restaurant where we were treated to this lovely view, (and I indulged in a margarita that was so big it should be illegal).
Once we got settled, I started looking into some of the many activities that were offered. One of several that was of interest happened to be a photography club that met every Tuesday. They alternated between going on an outing or staying at the resort and critiquing photos/answering questions.
The first outing was to a bird sanctuary about 20 minutes away called The Rookery. At the time that we went the birds were nesting on a very small island in the middle of the lake, which happens to be the background of these pics.
Venice’s annual orchid show happened to be taking place in February, so we went with our friends Penny & Ted who also were wintering in Naples and Venice while we were there (remember Penny from the diva dinner?).
There was an Abba concert at the resort which was great fun, and I couldn’t resist hamming it up with the band!
Every year the resort puts on a Variety Show and this particular act had everyone in stitches. The ‘arms’ belong to another person just behind them and the feet and head belong to the same person. Got that? lol It’s one of those things that really should be viewed as a video rather than a photo, but I think you get the idea.
This next shot was taken in Punta Gorda, a short drive away from Venice. We didn’t bring our bikes but there were bikes available for free so we took advantage of that. Banyan trees are plentiful in Florida, and I can never get enough of them!
The main tourist attraction in Punta Gorda is a place called Fisherman’s Village, where there are numerous shops and restaurants right on the water. This little guy, and I do mean little (about the size of your hand), was being displayed and I just wanted to slip him into my bag and take him home!
All over Florida, there are endless bike trails and since it’s mostly flat, you can bike almost all day and not get tired. I joined a bike group that bikes various trails every Friday morning and we would ride anywhere from 8-13 miles then go out to brunch. This next shot was taken outside one of the restaurants we stopped at. Notice the small shipwrecked boat in the background? And that’s an actual yellow submarine you can rent!
I also made tons of jewelry…
and took a couple of painting classes, and a few computer classes also.
As for local attractions, the Ringling Museum is well worth a visit if you’re every in the area. Located in Sarasota, about 25 minutes away, it’s an easy drive. There is a large building that houses duplicates of everything about the circus in miniature, and when I think about the amount of work that went into this it blows my mind.
And no post about Venice would be complete without a mention of the drum circle on the beach. Tons of people gather to drink, dance and party while awaiting the sunset. Next year I’ll bring my belly dancing outfit ;).
In other news…
Most of the photos I took in this post were with my cell phone, with the exception of the birds and flowers, so please excuse the blurriness.
Since getting home home last week, we’ve done tons of laundry, some cleaning (but not nearly enough), ‘Springified’ the house a bit by changing out some drapes and pillows, purged a little, recovered some bar stools, and did lots of grocery shopping because we had nothing to eat in the house except stale Doritos. We picked up the boys Friday for the weekend. It’s been more than three months since we’ve seen them so it will be nice to spend some time with them.
I still have some photos to share of our stay in central Florida and the Panhandle, so stay tuned for that.