On Wednesday, things warmed up considerably! In the morning, we went letterboxing at the Coquina Bay Walk. This nature preserve is magnificent, and the views are worth the short hike. (For more info on letterboxing, visit letterboxing.org. It is a fun, free activity for kids.) We then ventured across the street to Coquina Beach for some playground time and shelling. We returned home for lunch, swimming, a nap, and more shelling, and then drove to the Sandbar for dinner. We ate inside since the wait outside had reached an hour and 25 minutes. I had the almond encrusted salmon with strawberry sauce, and the house salad with fresh mango, which were both outstanding. We all enjoyed the food and atmosphere, and went outside for the sunset and a stroll on the beach. This was the perfect end to another perfect day on Anna Maria.
On Thursday, we took our first trolley ride to Manatee Public Beach, had coffee and watched the kids play on the playground, walked out to the end of the pier, and took the trolley back home for lunch. Our friends joined us with their kids, and we spent the entire day at the beach, building sand castles, swimming, shelling, and marveling at our surroundings. We headed to the Beach House early for dinner, which was a short walk from our condo. We had a party of nine and wanted to sit outside. We bumped into our old neighbors here, and had a great time relaxing and enjoying the live music. I had the coconut flounder, and it was superb!
Friday was the last day, and we spent it entirely at the beach, with no diversions. I have never felt so relaxed and content. Just thinking about it leaves me nostalgic. That evening, my kids were too wiped out for eating out, so we ordered in pizza from Oma’s. It was good but not extraordinary. The kids ate heartily. My husband and mother-in-law went to the Sun House for dinner and the sunset. They said that this meal was the best yet, which is hard to believe since they all had been so good!
I enjoyed the last sunset with my kids on the beach, and prepared myself for departure the next day. I hate to admit that my eyes stung when it was time to leave!
I probably should apologize for this very lengthy trip report. My wordiness is due to a truly sensational and relaxing vacation in a place that has unexpected brilliance and charm. My very heartfelt thanks go to Rusty, Floridianer, and all of the others who helped me find my way. I can’t wait to return in 2009!