I’m off on my yearly trip to South Carolina, this year, with Anita. Lee has a house to close on, or had one, which explains why we are flying.
The plane to Charlotte was very pleasant. I did not feel squished, and all aspects have gone smoothly. We even got some legit Carolina barbecue, recommended by my frequent flyer friend Mike Y.
The best thing, though, is that I read a WHOLE book today. Ahhh. That means real vacation to me! I’ll review the book tomorrow once we get from our guest-night hotel and get to the condo we have for the week.
I intend to look at many birds and maybe go horseback riding! Hilton Head beckons.
I’ve learned that cheerful posts don’t get as many hits, but, too bad. I had a really nice weekend, and I can’t change that fact. We didn’t go far, but it was quite relaxing in Lago Vista, Texas, capital of the North Shore of Lake Travis.
As I mentioned before, Lee and I spent the weekend at the condo where I showed you all the deer and flowers, along with our business partners, Carol and Russell. We hadn’t spent much time together in person lately, so this was a much-needed time to relax, reflect, have fun, and plan.
And we did! We chose going to thrift shops as out first “team building” activity, which was a lot of fun. I liked the fish sculpture.
Later, we had a celebratory dinner after our “big meeting” where we decided to move forward in a new direction with our real estate redevelopment business. We went to Broc’s, an Italian restaurant in Lago Vista, where we were absolutely charmed by the crooner singing 60s standards, a family with a toddler as cute as my son Kynan was at that age, and the whole family that owned the restaurant celebrating the owner’s 70th birthday.
This place had surprisingly good food. Lee couldn’t stop talking about the alfredo sauce he had. We all tasted it and agreed, it was both light and creamy, with a side of buttery. And their red sauce was such a wonderful combination of flavors that I bought a pint to cook a dinner for Anita, Declan, and Rylie (the younger son and his partner) on Wednesday.
Today we sat on the patio and talked and laughed and had ideas. We decided we need to do that more often, since we come up with great ideas when we are relaxed and not under pressure to accomplish this or that or meet deadlines.
For the past few years, I’ve missed business trips. I’m glad I joined Master Naturalists, so at least I have one conference to attend each year, but I always get so much out of seeing old friends and meeting new people that I miss the old days when I traveled more.
Thus, I was pretty stoked when I found out that a requirement of being a member of the Friends of La Leche League Board is to attend their organization’s trip to a fun place every other year (the other year, they meet at a conference for one of La Leche League’s local affiliates, usually Texas).
This year, we are going to New Orleans in November. This, of course, assumes the city will still be there after so much bad weather, but at least it’s after hurricane season. I’ve been rather amazed at exactly how much planning these trips take. There is so much to consider! They have to come up with fun things to do and good places to eat, without making the registration too costly. That is not easy. I am very impressed with the hard work and patience the trip planners, Carroll and Evy, have exhibited.
For some of us, this is really true. I always felt like I should be glued to my hometown, even though I probably will never get to move back to Gainesville. Some folks are more lucky. Lee’s dad was able to buy back a good portion of the farm where he grew up, and got to spend his final days looking out the window at his beloved cattle.
Lee now owns that farm, but he didn’t grow up there and has sooo many allergies to that part of Texas. But, Lee’s nephew, Chris, inherited the attachment to this land and is now its caretaker, along with his wife and my friend, Kathleen. Chris will never leave this land. For him, there’s no place like home, for certain.
The intrepid travelers are heading back to Texas, so most of yesterday involved driving and looking out the window. And making sure to talk frequently so Lee wouldn’t sigh loudly and turn music on, because we were too silent. There’s not a lot to say about trees and more trees. I guess he thought we were choosing Facebook over him, but we were reading (Anita) or playing Wordscapes (me), something easy to interrupt. Other than that, not too much grumpiness occurred.
Speaking of grumpiness, we decided to head off the beaten path and go into the small town of Madison, Florida for lunch. There we found Grumpy’s Restaurant. It was a hit with all of us.
Every menu item was interesting and had a twist. My grilled cheese had a jalapeño sauce and homemade jelly on it. Sound bad? Well, nope, it was fantastic. In fact, Lee ordered one after his own meal!
Here’s more on our adventures in Gainesville, Florida. My hometown!
One more stop
We had plenty of time, so we visited a small museum that highlighted Gainesville history, the Matheson Museum. There was an exhibit on modern buildings of Gainesville, which featured many places familiar to me from the 1960s.
We also found postcards of old Gainesville and some books, one on the plants and animals of Alachua County. That book will take me back to my college days when my boyfriend and I would drive all over the back roads looking for armadillo, turtles, and deer on the side of the road.
After the shrine and a vitally important coffee stop for Lee, we headed off to, um, somewhere in the middle of Florida, because I’d decided I wanted to go on an airboat ride to see some nature.
Where we went was actually in Kenansville, Wild Florida Airboats and Gator Park. I think Lee was a bit dubious, but Anita and I were up for it. The drive there was beautiful, and the facility was pretty cool. Touristy but clean and organized.
The one-hour ride itself was everything I’d hoped it would be. What fun! We were on a large lake, and could see a prescribed burn off in the distance.
Hello from Gainesville, Florida, known throughout the world as the center of the Suna-verse. We’re happy to be here to spend a day or two! But first, what did we do yesterday? We were tourists!
We left our resort place near Orlando, but noticed on the map that there was a Catholic shrine very nearby. Anita is not a Catholic, but has a strong attraction to Mary, so when we saw “Mary Queen of the Universe,” we just had to go check her out. (Also, the website is really cool, so check it out, too).
I guess we were expecting a statue in a grotto. That is not what we found. Instead, there was a true testimony to the devotion (and money) of people who visited the Disney World area and wanted a place to attend mass. The whole complex was incredibly beautiful and peaceful.
We were greeted by the Archangel Michael, who protects the place. Swampy liked him a lot.
We’re still in Florida after spending three days in greater Orlando. Monday we endured sales presentations, then stayed at the resort the rest of the day in a stupor. We got out and did a few things yesterday, though (Lee stayed at the condo and worked).
Anita and I did our traditional vacation pedicure at a random local place that seemed to have been there a long time. They had great new massage chairs and nice staff/clientele. A great start to a day!
Then, to continue with girly stuff, we visited the nearby outlet mall, and was struck again at how similar suburban institutions are around the US. We could have been anywhere, except for palm trees and signs in Chinese (that was new!).
It’s nice to have a friend like Anita who will do random relaxation things with you! Glad she’s my travel buddy!
We had to get in more time at the “quiet pool” having tropical drinks, which we’d also done Monday. We had shade, pool, hot tub, and a nice server. Ahh. Even Lee had fun and swam!
They always used to say “sunny Florida,” even though it rained most days. It rained just a little yesterday as we finished driving through Mississippi, zipped through Alabama without buying anything, and then spent a very long time on I-10 looking at trees.
We’d had a nice night in a cheery hotel in Pascagoula, MS the previous night. We knew we were no longer in Austin, because everyone commented on all of our hair.
Further down the road, we got ourselves this little gator, Swampy the Interstator Gator, at an extra-racist Stuckeys we stopped at to get the candy bars of our youth (Chunky Bars and Slo-Poke!). He’s our travel companion.