It’s been quite awhile since the last post. It is April 1st, and we have one more full day at Longboat Key Marina. From here we head to Venice for two nights then on to the Tortugas for several days followed by Key West. While Big Smile did not move since our arrival in December, we went back and forth to Vermont a couple of times for some skiing and winter fun. We also managed to get to Smugglers Notch early in January to use our time share.
Vermont: The winter was weird this year. Last year was pretty much devoid of snow. This year we got dumped on early and the season looked very promising. The weather dried up for awhile, Stratton kept the snow guns going and finally more natural stuff came down. Over all a decent season with quite a bit of late season whiteness, most of which we missed as we were in Florida. Stratton was crowded though and I think they had a good year.
Smuggs had some snow. Our friends Pete and Kathy joined us for the week and we had some good conditions and cold, sunny weather.
The Alchemist Brewery, located in Stowe VT is legendary. It’s signature beer, Heady Topper, was rated number 8 in the US and Vermont and is ranked number 1 in Craft Breweries per Capita. Hill Farmstead Brewery is another top brewery. So if the snow is poor you can always find a great beer to drink.
We had a number of friends up to visit and ski. As always, it was fun.
We are also very lucky to have a wonderful neighbor who not only walks with Cath but keeps an eye on our house when we are gone.
One of my friends from my Stratton volunteer work leads a band called Washington County Line. In late February they played a charity gig at Dorrs Music Barn. Several of us Stratton couples joined the local crowd for three hours of awesome Bluegrass and dancing. While Stratton was under-represented on the dance floor there were some incredible two-step dancers on floor. Our friends Carol and Dennis, who were visiting from NC, had a blast.
Florida: We left Big Smile at Longboat Key Marina in late December. We finally returned on January 23rd for three weeks of Florida sun. Longboat Key Marina is really a complete resort. With dozens of tennis courts, numerous restaurants, golf courses and a fabulous beach it is the nicest marina we have ever been to. We really enjoyed and appreciated the city of Sarasota. It is the cultural capital of the west coast of Florida. We especially enjoyed the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. We managed to see three shows: Riverdance, Gladys Knight, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. We had tickets for two others. Frankie Valli got sick and postponed his show till the spring. “Once The Musical” we missed because a blizzard hit New England on the day we were to leave Vermont. Thousands of flights were cancelled and we could not reschedule for five days and thus missed the show.
Cath and I really enjoyed the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. They formed in 1966 and I started listening to them sometime in the 70’s. For a band that’s been playing together for 50 years they rocked.
My cousin Deb and her husband Marc came over to the west coast a couple of days before Super Bowl weekend. They camped a few miles north and we got in a great kayak trip thru the Robinson Preserve. Another perfect weather day in what would turn out to be a perfect weather winter.
Danielle, Wes and Gavin came down from Tampa to see Big Smile and we all went to lunch at St. Armands Circle. It was Super Bowl Sunday and yes, the Patriots were in the Super Bowl. And yes, they eventually won.
In addition to culture, Sarasota has a farmers market every Saturday from 7AM to 1PM. We both love farmers markets and while Sarasota’s is not as good as the Fort Pierce market, it is a fun time.
One pleasure to living on board is the people you meet. They can be your neighbor in the slip next to you, down the dock or, as often is the case, at the marina laundry. We had the pleasure to become friends with three couples on our C-Dock. They all were living on their boats for extended periods of time and all were fun to get to know.
We took a ride over to the Palm Beach Boat Show in late March. The show was big and fun. We had been invited to a cocktail party and yacht christening by a yacht broker friend of ours. The owner’s wife broke the Champagne over the bow perfectly.
We also got together for dinner that night with my college friend Blair and his wife Vicky. Atlantic Ave in Delray Beach is a hopping venue for the dinner crowd.
It’s 9AM and Cath just woke up. (This is a VERY quiet dock!) We leave tomorrow and I think I will end this chapter now. Everything about our Florida winter in Longboat Key worked out, especially the weather. We heard recently that crossing Lake Okeechobee is more problematic due to the lack of rainfall. When we crossed west bound in December the lake was overflowing. Not the situation this month. However, we are going around the bottom so no worries.