The Quest For a Sea-Side Florida View

Florida sunset

 

     ‘Right on the water.’ I typed into my google hotel search. I had made a last minute decision to travel to Florida for 2016 spring break. I searched every travel website and hotel booking site I could think of…but all the ocean view rooms were booked.

      After a lot of searching I came across something even better than what I was looking for. This was not a hotel or a Bed and Breakfast. It was a Boat and Breakfast and I would literally wake up right ON the water. 

   I was super happy to discover that they had an opening available for the time that I would be there and booked myself a romantic night for one on the Dream Lover Boat and Breakfast. The other nights I would be staying with my cousin Lesa who lived nearby. I also was fortunate enough to be able to spend time with my Aunt Sherry and Uncle Robert who were in the area as well.

Canopies and Alligators of Myakka River State Park

     Lesa and I had checked out Myakka River State Park during the day to look at alligators and walk the canopy path. 

     We made our way back to the Sarasota area and drove the short distance to Anna Maria Island. The Dream Lover owners requested that I check in by a certain time so we stopped over there before having dinner.

Checking out the Dream Lover

      The e-mail gave directions to a lot to park in and then told me the meeting spot at the end of the pier. A man named Jonathan shook our hands and introduced himself and led us down the wooden planks.

     We arrived at a tall white sailboat and a little white friendly dog greeted us.

     “This is Skipper, our guard dog and mascot.” Jonathan patted the happy little dog’s head.

     “And I’m Kay,” a smiling blond woman emerged from a lower area of the boat.

      We introduced ourselves, gave Skipper some love and followed Jonathan on board for the tour. He showed us the upper deck and then we followed him down a ladder to the lower living quarters. 

Skipper peeking down

Inside the Boat and a History Lesson

      At the bottom of the stairs was a living room and a galley kitchen. Kay and Jonathan’s room was off to one side of the living room. My room was on the other side.

     I stepped inside and dropped off my bag and my pillow. There was a full bed and a private bathroom. Kay motioned me inside.

     “If you have a little job is ok to flush…but put the paper in this bin.” She pointed under the sink. “If there is a big job, there is a public restroom at the end of the pier.”

     Lesa and I gave each other the face.

     We then had a seat in the living room.

     “Where are you girls from?” Kay asked.

     “I’m from Chicago, Lesa is from nearby.” I answered, looking around.

     “Do you guys live here?” Lesa inquired. “Are you from here?”

Jonathan, Kay and Skipper
Trip Advisor Photo

     “Yes,” Kay laughed. “It’s kind of a long story, we met online and fell for eachother right away.” She looked at Jonathan.

     He continued, “We planned to buy a sailboat and travel the world. But after purchasing the boat, it had a couple of technical issues and by the time we got it fixed we got the idea to turn it into a bed and breakfast.”

     “We stay docked here and meet amazing people from all over the world. They stay with us and we can show them our beautiful bay.” Kay smiled. “Would you like blueberry pancakes for breakfast?”

     “Oh I absolutely would.” I responded. 

Off to the Beach House Restaurant

      We got ready to leave for dinner and Jonathan gave me instructions about coming back onto the boat later on. Then we climb backup the ladder off the boat and down the pier and over to the Beach House Restaurant up the road.

     The Boathouse was right on the beach. They had tables directly on the sand with little white lights strung overhead. We put in our names at the reception area and waited outside for our table, the warm salt air filling my lungs.

      It felt amazing to be warm and outside in early March. When I had left Chicago it was about 21゚F. Even at almost 8 p.m., it was over 80° and I kept marveling at the feeling of warm air on my body.

     “I love being outside so much!” I practically yelled.

     Lesa, who lived in Florida couldn’t imagine what the big deal was.

Amazing Sunset at Anna Maria Island Beach

Sunset at Anna Maria Island

      I took several photos of the beautiful beach sunset and the outdoor seating area and then we were called to our table.

Sunset at Anna Maria Island

     They had several vegetarian options. It felt so incredible to have my feet buried in soft white sand while enjoying a nice porter and dining under the stars. The sound of ocean waves was a perfect accompaniment.

Multicolored Sunset at Anna Maria Island

     The sun had gone down and we could only hear the crashing waves.

Tiki Bar Anyone?

     After we finished, we walked down the road and stopped in a few gift shops along the way. There was one in particular where all the patrons were encouraged to sign their names on the wall and we did. We also bought matching dragonfly necklaces.

Tiki Bar – Anna Maria Island

      There were a number of tiki bar type areas that had live music. We stopped in one for a drink and to listen to a local band. I couldn’t get over the happiness of sitting outside and not freezing in March.  I kept breathing in huge breaths of the warm air and sighing and exclaiming how much I loved outside.

      It was starting to get a little late and I didn’t want to get back on the boat at a crazy hour so we started to walk back. Lesa parted ways with me at that point and I walked up the empty well lit pier, hoping I was getting on the right boat.

Pier at Night

Back to the Dream Lover Boat and Breakfast

      There was a small glowing blue light coming from the deck. The living room light underneath was on. I went down below to drop off my things and then back to the upper sitting area to enjoy the night air a little more. 

     It was great to be alone, breathing in the salty air, hearing night noises of nature. The boat had a gentle sway and I began to get sleepy and relaxed.

    I went downstairs and got in bed. I suddenly felt a little funny about being at the Dream Lover all by myself. I laughed a little bit thinking about the title. Then I started to get a little bit nervous that I was by myself. I thought…’What if there are weirdos here?” Then I reasoned, “Weirdos don’t have website and brochures.” I was reassured enough and was rocked to a comfortable sleep.

Hot Blueberry Pancakes and a Sea Breeze on the Dream Lover

Florida pelican

     When I emerged in the morning Kay was already in the kitchen. She offered me a cheery good morning and instructed me to wait up stairs on upper deck. Jonathan handed me up a cold glass of fresh squeezed juice which tasted amazing.  

     A few minutes later, a homemade feast appeared with the most delicious blueberry pancakes and other delightful breakfast choices. We ate together and discussed what it was like living on the boat.

      After breakfast Jonathan asked if I wanted to go for a boat ride and I absolutely did. 

Dinghy Harbor Tour at Florida Dream Lover

      We climbed aboard the small boat that was attached to the back of the sailboat and Jonathan pressed a button that lowered us electronically into the water. 

      He navigated us in and out of the different bays. All of the local fisherman and establishments along the way seemed to know Jonathan and he knew them. They waved and called their greetings when we went by. Pelicans and other seabirds strutted around on the piers and flew all around us.

Pelicans on the Florida Pier

      Out on the open water, Jonathan knew several areas were dolphins generally appear and we did see a few jumping in the distance. He had a vast knowledge about the area and local wildlife and birds. 

Pelicans and Piers at Anna Maria Island

Florida pelicans on abandoned boat

     There was an old fishing boat that was grounded in the area that the sea birds made into a nesting spot.

      After touring the bay and the open waters, Johnathan brought us back and expertly hoisted the little boat backup on to the sailboat. 

      I grabbed my things and said a grateful good bye to Kay and Jonathan and headed back over to the Beach House to wait for Lisa to pick me up.

The Beach at Anna Maria Island was Calling

      With my cousin on the way, I headed out to the sand and sat down. My toes buried themselves in the white soft sand and wiggled around. I enjoyed the powdery warmth and the soothing sound of waves as I breathed in fresh ocean scent. My whole self was feeling happiness and I was grateful for the moment of nature and solitude.

The toes enjoying Anna Maria Island

 Click here to read about our Iceland Adventure

Click here to read about kayaking a bio luminescent bay

Click here to read about a Michigan kayaking adventure

Click here to relax in a hot spring out west

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