Monday, October 30, 2006

fun times in Florida...

The hubby and I have just returned from a few days in Florida. Dunedin, Florida... near Tampa, Clearwater. We had a fabulous time. I *almost* have a tan! We did some relaxing and hanging out with friends. It was so refreshing. I have no idea why we don't do that more often. It's a short, easy flight and the weather is grand. Mid-70s to low 80s every day. It rained only one evening when we were there.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Dunedin. Call us crazy, but we love Holiday Inn. Continental breakfast every day and a USA Today at our door. We don't read the paper at home, but somehow this became a quick ritual. OH and internet access so we didn't have to go through withdrawal.

We loved Dunedin. It is a quaint little town. Small town feel with a great art scene. Our hotel was on the Pinellas trail, about .5 mile from downtown. We could walk out the backdoor of the hotel and take a short walk for dinner or lunch. We dined at Bon Appetit & Marina Café, Café Alfresco, Cappuccino’s Bakery Café, and Casa Tina. All are wonderful and recommended. They each have a great menu with fresh fare, including seafood. And the atmosphere is wonderful. Bon Appetit is at the marina. We dined after dark overlooking the harbor. Casa Tina feels like you stepped right into Latin America. And Cafe Alfresco has delightful indoor/outdoor seating.

The whole town was decorated for Halloween. Different merchants and organizations had each decorated a lamp post. There wasn't a single one that didn't look like someone had really put some thought and creativity into. I was loving them! I also visited a stationery store called Paper Players on my shopping day. I splurged in this place and bought "us" something that totally isn't "Florida"... but I left the store, thought about it, decided I couldn't live without it and went back and ordered. It's a self-inking stamper customized with a B and our address. How freakin' cool is this? I can't wait to stamp all kinds of stuff. :-) Oh... and I said it's for "us" because you know John is going to want to use it, too!

We spent one day beachin' it. We visited Honeymoon and Caladesi Islands. We parked at Honeymoon Island and took the ferry to Caladesi. On the way in, we saw a lady kayaking. *LIGHT BULB!* I don't know how I convinced him, but John agreed to kayak around the mangroves with me. It was awesome. Sure, it was low tide and we got stuck in the muck a bit... but it was definitely the way to see the island away from all the tourists. I am definitely getting better at kayaking and I find that I love being on the water as much as I expected to. The water on the Gulf of Mexico is perfect for floating around...

So besides maxin' and relaxin' and eatin' and shoppin'... the whole point of the trip was to attend our friends' wedding. John's Navy buddy Dan got married to John's friend Joe's sister. They met at our wedding 17 months ago. They got married at Clearwater Beach at sunset. It was really beautiful. And SO perfect for them. They're both tan and gorgeous and love the outdoors. We had a great time at the wedding and hanging out with them and their families the days leading up to the wedding.

Check out all the photos from the trip here

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