Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Punta Gorda and Bonita Springs, Florida

Julie and I in front of the Christmas tree and cozy fire at
the Tarpon Lodge on Pine Island 
 Two of our good friends have left the cruising life and settled in South West Florida. We had never been down that way and wanted to see their new digs so we planned a one week trip between Vermont and Guatemala. First we stayed with Julie and Peter Gowan in Punta Gorda and then went on to visit Barbara Craig (formerly Gilmour) in Bonita Springs. We were very impressed with their new homes and these lively communities.
Julie and Peter bought a condo on the junction of several canals and have a lovely view (and their new powerboat right in front). Punta Gorda has a attractive historic downtown and lots going on.

Group Shot
 They've joined the Yacht Club and made a lot of friends, some of which we had a chance to meet. We enjoyed long walks on the waterfront, the busy farmer's market, a ride through the canals, and lots of great meals. One day we drove out to Pine Island and after a wonderful lunch at the Tarpon Lodge walked around the Nature Preserve. There is a self guided tour of the once busy community of Calusa Indians (there for almost 1500 years but wiped out by you know who) and 6,000 year old skeletons have been unearthed on the site. The huge shell mounds they built still dominate the area although much smaller than they once were.
Next we drove down to Bonita Springs. Barbara has bought a condo in a huge gated community near her mother and sister. She looks out over a lovely lake. It is very established with beautiful landscaping. We took a picnic lunch out to the private beach. It is on a island and a launch takes residents out and back. A pretty creek wanders through the area where Barbara kayaks frequently. Barbara made us an amazing stuffed crown roast of pork for dinner. She's a great cook.
The next morning we were out early after a hearty breakfast and by noon were on the plane to Guatemala. More posts to come!

Mr. and Mrs. Osprey on their nest

Love this foliage 

Looks good 

Festive Punta Gorda downtown at the Farmer's Market

Barbara and Scott relax at the beach

And walk on the long lovely beach

We were fascinated by the flocks of birds wheeling around
in the sky while others watched

This is the private beach at the huge complex where Barbara lives

Scott, Barbara and Heather on the launch that takes residents out to the
beach, which is on a private island just off shore.

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