Blog Archives

To get or not get a driver’s license

One of many driving schools in town

Miles of sandy beaches. Warm, sunny days much of the year. Citrus trees in your backyard. No snow. Sailing, swimming, diving and all sorts of water activities on your doorstep. Lots of theme parks and other pastimes for the whole family. These are just some of the many advantages of living in Florida. When you’re about to leave all of that behind to move overseas, however, some other positive points move to the forefront. For example, no state income taxes. A French consulate in Miami. A driver’s license exchange treaty between the state and France. With bright news like that, no wonder it’s called the Sunshine State. Read the rest of this entry

Leave a light on; it’s closin’ time

Heather on pier

Heather on the pier

Our Florida vacation is over so it’s time to return to Atlanta for a last visit to Heather’s vet and then all 3 of us can be off to France. For a final look back we all took a walk out to the end of the pier that you see in the featured photo above. Thanks, Cheryl & Pete, for taking such good care of Heather while we were on the road. There’s a Key West tribute to each of you at the bottom of this post. Read the rest of this entry

Manatees and mermaids

Homosassa springs

Homosassa Springs State Park, Florida

While driving through the Everglades we saw numerous roadside warning signs about crossings of alligators, bears, cougars, panthers, and school children. One segment of the road even has a Roadside Animal Detection System that identifies wildlife approaching the highway and warns drivers with flashing lights of their presence. What we didn’t see, however, were signs for those iconic Florida mammals: manatees…or mermaids, come to think of it. Read the rest of this entry

Put on your drinkin’ shoes

Sunset pier margarita

Bill at Key West’s Sunset Pier

Today was Mardi Gras in Key West and we were in the middle of it all. A few days ago when we were at the bakery on Amelia Island the owner’s daughter reminded us of what the date was going to be down in America’s most-southern point and we were a bit apprehensive. Knowing what it’s like in New Orleans on the big day and having seen videos from Fantasy Fest here in Key West during the week of Halloween, we didn’t know what to expect. No worries. Read the rest of this entry

Breakfast at Tiffany’s


Morse Museum in Winter Park, FL

It was closer to lunchtime but we were definitely with Tiffanys; a bunch of Tiffanys. Today we were in Winter Park, Florida, just north of Orlando, to see the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum that has an entire wing devoted to works by Louis Comfort Tiffany. They have examples of every kind of art he produced including jewelry, pottery, paintings, and of course leaded-glass lamps. The building’s Park Avenue location made it ideal for a stroll along the tree-lined street trying to decide which of the many restaurant options to choose before seeing the exhibition. Read the rest of this entry

Worth the wait


Waiting for that pretty woman

Who knew we’d have to wait in line to get into the Everglades? We’d already driven through them for an hour or so when we arrived at the entrance to Everglades National Park where a static line of cars eager to get in meant that we had to wait another hour just to get a parking place. With my lifetime Senior pass, the entrance was free and It didn’t take long for our first photo opportunity to appear. Since the Broadway musical Pump Boys & Dinettes has been the theme for this vacation, the immediate words that popped to mind were “I’m going to send home postcards, the cutest ones I can find; especially the ones where the alligator is about to bite the pretty woman’s behind.” Read the rest of this entry

No one expects the Spanish Armada

Nuclear sub with escort

Nuclear sub & escort near Amelia Island, Fl

When we were in Florida recently we took advantage of the good weather to spend a substantial amount of time outdoors. Because St. Augustine, America’s oldest town dating from 1583, was nearby, we spent the morning walking around the cobblestone streets admiring the Spanish influence that is clearly evident there as well as throughout much of the state. A bit north from there is Amelia Island where we took a 2-hour boat tour (yes, Gilligan’s Island fans, it looked as if it might turn into 3 hours) around part of the island with promised-views of dolphins, manatees, wild horses, and a glimpse of where John Kennedy, Jr. got married on Cumberland Island just across the Georgia border. As we approached that imaginary state line we all looked out towards the horizon where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Amelia River to see the Spanish Armada approaching with tall masts filling the sky. Talk about Spanish influence! The captain quickly explained that we were witnessing a returning nuclear submarine being escorted by numerous gun boats of various sizes to the marine repair facility there on the coast. In those waters the sub cannot easily maneuver so the other ships keep everyone else at a distance to ensure its safety.

While giving his explanation the captain revved our tour boat’s engines to get us rapidly across the approaching sub’s path saying that if we did not cross now, the tour would indeed be much longer because we would have to wait until the entire entourage passed by. Safely away from the no-go zone, we paused the rest of the tour long enough to get a few photos of the Navy’s finest. Here you can see the submarine in the center, flanked by two large warships, and preceded and followed by much smaller vessels, all with guns clearly displayed.

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

Once ashore ourselves, we stopped into a family run bakery where we picked up the key lime pie that you see here for that night’s dinner. It made for a delicious end to a perfect week in the Sunshine State.