Just got home from Paradise and wanted to share a few things with everyone here on the forum.
Mini Golf - To my surprise they have opened a cute little mini golf place on Bridge Street, it is operated by the gift shop next door and looks cute, I dont know anything about mini golf but I thought it could be something for a family to take part in.
Publix - OK, I took the test, I went shopping at Publix in Tampa before I left and bought some supplies and then I went to the Publix on the Island and comparied prices on things I had already bought and stuff I needed and the prices and specials are the same. I think they have more gourmet items that my Publix does not carry and that might make it appear more pricey.
The Dolphin Inn- I will write a review in a couple of days but WOW, I have found a gem of a place. It is so full of character, clean and comfortable. We stayed in the upstairs Flamingo Suite which is a three bedroom and two bath. It was HUGE and had so many neat little touches. Upon arrival Angie (Owner) had a coffee mug with candy waiting for me as a gift and even called me on the phone to make sure we were happy. It is only about a 3 minute walk down to the beach and all I can say is WOW what a place. This is "Old FLorida" at it's best, very well kept and such an intersting place. It had lots of art, folk art, quirky stuff, yet it was vert tastfully done. The master bedroom with the four poster bed and french doors with the bathroom that had a sky light was so lovely. It also has a big, long, wooden screened porch to sit out on and put your beach toys, towels and leave the sand outside! There is a wooden viewing tower that was so cool, you could get a little peak of the water from there.
The area around the Dolphin Inn is mostly residential and has some awesome foliage, plants and trees all through the neigborhood. It was fun to walk around a look at mother nature and some of the beautiful homes along the way.
Bean Point - I admit that it has been a few years since I have spent any time on the Point, I tend to like Bradenton Beach because I like having the restaurants/bars closer and being in a bit more active location. I have taken this area for granted, it is amazing with the shoreline, dunes and sea oates. My visitng family are from Colorado and they are very much in to nature and they were blown away. My sister, like me, grew up in the summers on the island but it had been many, many years since she has been back and this is how she remembered the island. We watched the sunset every night with probably just a handful of people on the beach and it was fantastic.
We shared some funny memories and one I had completely forgotten. The Manatee County Public Beach, where the Cafe that serves the pancakes is, we use to go as teenagers and it use to have a roof top that had bands and dancing on the weekends. LOL, once she said it I remembered...oh how cool we thought we were, dancing to the tunes of the Beach Boys.
BridgeWalk Pier, I was so looking forward to seeing the pier, it has been closed since the four hurricanes a few years ago. I have to say that it is very pretty with all the colors and awnings but I wish they had not put the restaurant square in the middle. Before, the little cafe was off to the side and you could walk through it without feeling like you were walking through and disturbing someones dinner. I also did not see the fishermen like I use to see, seems like it is more of a sightseeing pier It's OK, it will just take some getting use to. I am glad it is back anyway.
Rod & Reel still has the BEST crab cakes and it is a true Old Florida Fishing Pier! We saw Dolphins, Sharks and a few crabs.
It was HOT, really hot but we did a little shopping and sitting in the Moose Lodge and that helped
It was a great family reunion, I was proud that I had picked the "perfect" spot for all of us and I will return in July for the fireworks. Next time we will stay at the Bungalow Beach Resort, just because we want to be on the beach and closer to have fun with "Floridianer" and his girl at La Costa!