Friday, July 19, 2013

Last Dance

NSByNot a bad way to end our time in Florida today. Not bad at all!

It was a little overcast this morning, so it was a decent time for Ken to get in a last round of golf. As the morning wore on, the sun started peeking out, and I put on my suit and sat outside to read and catch a few rays. I didn’t want to head to the beach or the pool, because we were planning on doing lunch at one of the nicer restaurants in New Smyrna Beach.

When Ken got back, we headed over to Norwood’s, a cool mid-century modern restaurant that has been around since the mid-1940’s. I love the rock columns, the high ceilings, the large windows, and the pendant lights. This is a real throwback, and a true beauty. Even better, it’s some of the best food we’ve had in New Smyrna Beach.

We started off with escargot for the two of us, and Ken had two appetizers for lunch—their She-Crab soup and bacon-wrapped scallops. I had tastes of both, and they were delicious! I had the mid-day special of Mediterranean Mahi Mahi, a filet topped with grilled vegetables and feta cheese. So good! I didn’t care that we were having mahi mahi tonight for dinner. It was a mahi mahi mahi mahi day!

I finished up with my annual piece of Key Lime pie, and Norwood’s does it up right. I have no need for meringue on my Key Lime pie, but it was easy to peel that off. The pie itself is dense and creamy, a pastel yellow rather than artificially green. True Key Lime pie isn’t green. Accept no substitutes! I considered getting it to go, but once I dug in, that piece o’ pie was history. I think my eyes rolled up in my head for a moment was that good!

When we got back, it was a little overcast but still warm enough that we were able to spend some time on the beach and in the ocean. After frolicking in the waves, I conked out on the beach, and learned that falling asleep on your back when it’s windy on the beach results in sand in your teeth! The waves were apparently strong enough that I had sand pretty much everywhere, as I found out later when I showered!

NSBzWe spent some time packing up what we could and getting ready to head out tomorrow morning. After twelve years here, we’ve got it down to a science, and we’ll be able to clear out easily.

We were happy we got some time on the beach and in the ocean on our last day this year. We were able to sit outside a while longer to dry off, but the clouds rolled in and we got a good rain in the evening. This was the first night that Ken wasn’t able to grill our fish, and had to cook it in a skillet inside. It still turned out great, and I’ve loved eating all this fresh seafood this week. I can also say honestly that I’m looking forward to a burger or a steak tomorrow!

Our next stop is Newnan, Georgia, just a few miles from Senoia. That is the town that doubled for Woodbury in “The Walking Dead,” and I’ll be gettin’ my Dead on for a couple of days before we head back home!

“It’s been a wonderful week,” she said, as she sipped the last of her margarita. “You’ve all been dears, and you are all lovely people. I look forward to seeing you next year! Cheers!”

The penultimate day

NSBvYES. I got to use the word ‘penultimate!’ Always a good day when that happens.

Our plan was to try a kayaking adventure on nearby Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon, but after a morning of sitting outside in the sun and reading, the clouds moved in around noon and we got some rain. It didn’t really clear fully until late afternoon, so we decided to do the kayaking next time.

We still made a trip down the island to visit our special manatee spot, at a small local park on a little inlet. You used to be able to get down closer to the water and get right near the manatees, but they have it all roped off now. That’s can still get close enough to get a good look at them, and we saw at least eight of them. We also got a bonus dolphin sighting! We didn’t get to see them leaping out of the water, but we could see that they were chasing something underwater, and we could see their fins bobbing up and down. It was neat!

Then it was over to J.B.’s Fish Camp, one of our annual stops. This is also where you can rent kayaks. Since we weren’t doing that, we had some appetizers and a pitcher. Raw oysters (I only had one...too rich for me anymore), shrimp cocktail, and a crab cake. Their crab cakes are to die for! We also encountered a trick we hadn’t seen before: float a cup of ice in the pitcher of beer to keep it chilled in this heat and humidity. How brilliant is that?!

NSBwUnfortunately, I felt really crummy after this appetizer meal. This is the second time this has happened to me after J.B.’s. It’s not food poisoning, because it hits me very quickly, and food poisoning takes a few hours at minimum. I think it’s a matter of the richness of some of the this case, the oyster and the crab cake. The time before, it was because I had a deep fried platter, and ohhhh, I felt so awful. My tummy doesn’t do deep fried anymore! I was careful this time, but it was still a little too much for me. I took a nap after we got back, and it eventually eased up. I lived to fight another day!

I also lived to eat the swordfish that Ken grilled tonight. It was delicious! Old Bay seasoning is a good addition. We watched a couple of Soprano’s episodes, and had several laugh out loud moments. Tonight’s favorite was Carmela saying to A.J. “Be a good Catholic for 15 fucking minutes! Is that so much to ask?” Ha! One more night of grilling. I think we can both say that we’ve gotten our fill of fresh seafood this time around! Tomorrow, Ken will get in another round of golf in the morning (weather permitting), we will have lunch at Norwood’s, a great old school place that dates back to the ‘40s, and I will get my annual piece of Key Lime pie! Mmm...Key Lime pie....

Fingers crossed for decent weather tomorrow afternoon, so we can get a last dip in the ocean and a little more time on the beach!

I hope your day was as pleasant!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Now wouldn’t you…Barracuda?

NSBs croppedToday was a carbon copy of yesterday! We might get some rain and cloudy skies tomorrow, but we have had two perfect, sunshiny days, and I will TAKE IT!

We both got up fairly early this morning. Ken was planning on a round of golf, and I just kind of woke up. Good thing, because the maintenance crew was out and about early, and if we were trying to sleep or if we had hangovers, it would have sucked! But it was all okay. Ken headed out, and I hung around here and got some sun and reading time outside. I gave my Mom a call and chatted with her for a while and let her know that we made it here safely and that we’re having a good time.

After Ken got back (he shot an 81...not too shabby!), we hung out for a bit and then went to the fiiiiish shop for our dinners for the rest of the week. Tuna tonight (tasty!), swordfish tomorrow, and mahi mahi Friday.

Then it was a short walk down the beach to oooo...Barracuda’s! We had a couple of beverages, calamari, and a kickass smoked fish dip. When we got back home, we headed out to the beach and did some frolicking in the ocean. It was very pleasant, and I fell asleep on the beach for a while.

My little anole friend.

Our little bungalow…doesn’t it look welcoming?

We got cleaned up, and Ken grilled the oooo...grilled the tuna! It was delicious, and we’ll see what Thursday holds for us. It might be rainy, and if so, we have a contingency plan: “World War Z” at the local theater.

The sunset was beautiful tonight, orangy-pink clouds against an indigo sky, the palms a dark silhouetto of a tree.

I hope your day was as pleasant!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


NSBkAfter a couple of days of “iffy” weather, we finally got our perfect day!

It was sunny when I got up a little after 9 AM, and I was able to sit outside and read in the morning. It was hot and humid enough that when Ken went for a run, I put on my swimsuit in order to sit outside. I was getting overheated even in a tank top and shorts! I still had to come inside to cool off periodically.

After Ken got back and got cleaned up, we took a walk down the beach to one of our favorite places, Breakers. After sitting at the inside bar for a few minutes, a spot opened up at the outer bar. That’s where you can sit in front of open windows and look out onto the beach and the ocean, so we nabbed those seats quickly! We both had burgers, and these are the best burgers I’ve ever had. I don’t know how they do it, but even with me ordering my burgers well done (it’s an E coli thing, you know?), they’re still tender and juicy. LOVE me a Breakers burger!

Then we headed back—the sun still shining—and hit the beach. The sun felt great! Ken took a picture, and I was very surprised to see how brown I’ve gotten. Since the sun had been shining all day, the water was nicely warmed up, and it felt great to get in and feel some waves. I did my best to keep my footing and stand my ground against them. Haaaa...see what I did there? “Stand my ground?” In Florida? Yeah, those laws SUCK. We have it in Indiana, too, so that also sucks.

NSBlAnyway, the ocean felt great. I held onto my suit and had no “flashing” moments...maybe a butt cheek here and there, and a close call with the top, but I managed to hang onto everything. I noticed a woman close by who was also hanging onto her suit and we shared a laugh. We exchanged a couple of remarks, and she had an accent, so I asked her where she was from. She was from Venezuela! They do a lot of traveling, but this was their first time in New Smyrna Beach. I gave her a few tips about places to eat, and she mentioned shopping in boutiques, so I told her about the little Flagler Avenue area with neat shops and galleries. If I recall, her name was Azita (I’m not sure if that’s how it is spelled), and she was very sweet and lovely. I really enjoyed talking to her as we both held onto our suits and got pummeled by the waves! Haha!

She mentioned being at Ocean City, New Jersey. She said the waves are much worse there, and she said she had a few “exposures” due to those waves, so she’s more careful now! She also said that she liked this beach very much, and that it is not nearly as crowded as Ocean City and other beaches she has been. She said that you would never find as many spots open as you find here. I told her that New Smyrna Beach is a small town, maybe 25,000 people, and although it’s open to everyone, it’s just not as crowded as other beaches. Daytona is only about 20 minutes north of here, but its beach is completely different from this one.

We had a really nice chat, and you all can be very proud of this introvert. I chatted up a woman from Venezuela. How about that?!

NSBo croppedThat's mah butt over there.

After getting worn out by the ocean, Ken and I flopped on our beach towel and dried out a bit. We headed up to the bungalow, and since the perfect weather held, we got to spend a little more time outside reading (although in the shade this time). We enjoyed a pleasant evening, Ken grilled some salmon (it was delicious!), and we watched a Sopranos episode.

I have a feeling it’s not going to be a late night tonight. The ocean and the sun really takes it out of me! Ken is planning on golfing in the morning, but I plan on sleeping in and maybe hitting the pool while he’s out and about.

Here’s hoping for a carbon copy of today, but like I told Ken, if this was the only perfect day this week, it was a week well spent. This is the kind of day we come down here for, every year.


Florida’s new name is Sybil

NSBhThe sun was shining when I got up this morning, and I went outside to read and drink my mango tea. It was already hot and humid at 9 AM, but the breeze felt great! I was glad I got out when I did, because the clouds rolled in off the ocean soon, and we got a decent sprinkle.

It began to clear up after a couple of hours, but we had to meet with the timeshare people for a bit. After the usual spiel, we got out of there with our hides intact. By that time, we had full sunshine, so we slathered on the sunscreen and hit the beach! YAY! It felt so good to feel that sand and soak up the heat and sun. Aaaaand since this is Florida in the summertime, the clouds soon rolled in again. We dipped our toes in the water, but with the recent rain, it was super cold. A full-body dunk just was not happening for me.

We carted our gear in and put some clothes on for a short walk down the beach to Tony & Joe’s, a little beachside tavern that has been here for a while. We’ve always talked about stopping there and never have, so today was the day. We got sprinkled on a little bit on the way there, but by the time we had a couple of beers and a shrimp appetizer, you guessed it...the sun was back out! We headed back and by this time, I was sunned and beered out, so it was nap time for me. I had Ken wake me up an hour later, and then I caught a little more sun and watched some people celebrating a beach wedding. Looks like the happy couple is staying in one of the bungalows, and they had friends and family celebrating with them. Very nice, and I wish them much happiness!

NSBdTonight’s dinner was wahoo perfectly grilled by Ken. Love me some wahoo! It’s a mild, firm fish, and it grills up nicely. A couple of Sopranos episodes and “Under the Dome,” and now I think I’ll do a little reading and then hit the hay. Ken didn’t take a nap today, so he’s already there.

I’m hoping for some more nice weather tomorrow, probably interspersed with the occasional shower—I’m getting used to this Multiple Personality Disorder weather—and we’re planning on taking a walk down the beach to another beachside grill and tavern, Breakers. It’s my #1 favorite burger I’ve ever had, and we look forward to it every year!

See ya on the beach!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Back to the Beach

NSBbJust so you know, I won’t be commenting on the Zimmerman verdict, other than to say that “disappointment” doesn’t even begin to cover how I’m feeling. “Disgust” is probably a better word for it. I just don’t have it in me right now to go to such a dark place. If my writing about our trip seems shallow or uncaring, please know that that is not the case at all. It is a choice I am consciously making, because it is one I need to make for myself. I am privileged to have the ability to make that choice; far too many have that choice taken away from them...permanently.

So after a Friday with quite a few traffic woes, Saturday turned out to be pretty darn good. We zipped through downtown Atlanta—very little traffic early on a Saturday morning—and once we got south of the city, we just tore through Georgia like Sherman’s Army. Inappropriate analogy? Sorry, but that’s payback for the huge Confederate flag we saw flying on a tall flagpole right by the highway. If you fly flags like that, I feel perfectly fine with referencing Sherman’s Army. So there. Actions have consequences, people.

We stopped for lunch in Valdosta at a place called Bad Habitz Saloon & Grub. The food was good and the beer selection was fantastic, but they need to work a little on bathroom cleanliness, and I know it’s the South, but could you please play something besides country music? I know, I know, when in Rome, blah blah blah. But seriously...UGH.

We ran into some torrential rains as we headed east towards Jacksonville, bad enough that Ken pulled over for a couple of minutes, and he never pulls over! As we got closer to the coast, we ran out of it and finally saw some sunshine as we headed south towards New Smyrna Beach. We made great time and got to the timeshare around 5 PM. We got checked in and found our bungalow, the one closest to the beach.

This is our first time staying in one of the bungalows, and I have to say that I really like it. I miss the large overhang on the balcony of the two-story building which allows us to sit outside while it’s raining, especially because it is sprinkling right now (thus this blog entry on a Sunday afternoon)! I think we’ll continue to try for the two-story building, but this is a very comfortable and reasonable backup. I especially love the six large windows that wrap around the front of the bungalow...I love opening the blinds and looking out on the ocean! I’m looking at you right now, Atlantic Ocean, and I see you waving at me!

NSBaAfter we got unpacked and relaxed a bit, we headed to the liquor store and grocery store and got stocked up for the week. We like to have lunches out, but we usually get some fresh fish at Ocean’s fish market and restaurant for Ken to grill for our dinners. We were in the mood for steak, so we got some T-bones for tonight. (I hope the weather will cooperate!) Once we got everything unloaded and put away, we were off to our Saturday night tradition, PJ’s Sea Shack. I had grilled Mahi Mahi and Ken had Chilean Sea Bass. It was the best meal I’ve had there, and when I mentioned it to our server, she said that was good to hear, and that they are under new management and have a new menu. I always like it when I see a favorite place make positive changes!

We slept in today, and I did my weights and then sat outside to read. (I am setting From Here to Eternity aside for the moment and rereading The Shining...I wanted a more fun read for the beach.) Ken went for a run, and we’ll be heading out to Ocean’s in a moment to pick up some fish. Today started out overcast, and somewhat cooler than normal, and we’re getting some rain now. A chance we take coming down here when we do, and I suspect that this is the tattered remnants of that tropical storm that came up through the Caribbean and along Florida’s Atlantic coast this week. I’m hoping it will clear out considerably this week and we’ll get some good beach time in. We shall see!

It’s good to be back. It’s great to hear and smell the ocean, and to feel that breeze. Tomorrow I’m hoping for some sand between my toes!