We weren’t going to do a “no RV” blog post, but we had a lot of fun while Wandah was in the shop so we’ll do short video and summary. Highlights include:
- Meeting up with Mark’s Hewlett-Packard friends & Lori’s family
- Beach / Sunsets / Drum Circle
- Canal cruising
- River Tour
- Art Fair
North Port & Venice FL
After leaving Wandah in Winter Garden, Florida, for a minor fix, we headed southwest for a day in Boca Grande and then over to North Port. Lori’s cousin Elizabeth (Libby) was very welcoming and provided us our own little living space with bed, TV, couch and chairs. To show our appreciation during the nearly two-week stay, Lori channeled her inner Marie Kondo, helping Libby to re-organize and simplify her living space. Mark assisted with handyman work and gadget setup. Win-win.
We also had some memorable area outings. The gulf coast is known for dramatic sunsets. One night we watched from Venice, where there’s a small park with a long jetty on one side and a nice seafood restaurant on the other. We watched the sun sink below the horizon then enjoyed dinner by twilight. Another night, we went with Anne (a friend from HP days) to Nokomis Beach, where they celebrate the sunset each Wednesday with a drum circle and dancing. Very hippie. Very fun.
We got our wildlife fix by visiting Myakka River State Park with Anne, then the 3 of us joined Libby for a nice BBQ lunch, and a boat tour on the Myakka River from Snookhaven. We got some local history, and learned about a variety of birds and animals we viewed along the river. We saw a few alligators too!
One night at Libby’s we had dinner with her neighbor Walter, a horticulturist. One of his passions is Orchid cultivation. He suggested we all attend the Orchid show in Venice the next day – his treat! It was spectacular! Here are just a few of the orchids that were on display there.
We have friends from our cottage community in Westford who spend winters at their beautiful new home in Cape Coral, Florida. (Bart and Christine – Mark knew Bart at HP). Our several day visit with them included excellent dinners out, a visit to the Edison/Ford Winter Estates, and a day of cruising the Cape Coral canals with Christine’s parents – with a mid-day lunch at Rumrunners. We did have some down time too, lounging under the lanai in their hot tub and newly-finished pool, playing rounds of Texas Hold-em, and playing with their cute new pup, Lexi. What a good time we had!
We finally got the call to pick up the RV, so we headed north towards Winter Garden, once again, to be reunited with Wandah on Monday morning. Thanks to a recommendation from Lori’s friend (thanks Karen!) we spent Sunday in the cute lakeside town of Mt. Dora, with a vibe more rural midwest than “typical” Florida. There was a huge art fair going on, filling the downtown streets for blocks in every direction! After hours of strolling the art booths, and the nearby park and waterfront, we headed south to Oakland Manor House B&B, located on enormous (50 square miles) Lake Apopka. The Manor was grand and ornate yet quite charming. We headed to quaint and old-timey downtown Winter Garden for dinner, skipping a Peruvian Shaman ceremony being held at the B&B. We slept well in our comfortable room and the next morning enjoyed the delicious breakfast offered by the innkeeper.
So that’s it. We picked up Wandah on Monday and we are already back in the groove! Next time we’ll share a video of our Chassahowitzka River manatee sighting, taken from our rented Kayak. Stay tuned!