Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mid-Winter Getaway to My Happy Place

I am back after taking a wee hiatus to spend some time warming up in sunny Florida. The weather was simply spectacular with full sun and temps in the low 80s. With the hubby and two teenage boys in tow, we headed south to regroup and rejuvenate from this never-ending winter.

Our first excursion was to St. Cloud where we embarked on an Ecosafari. It was a two hour ride in a covered wagon through a nature preserve. En route, we saw lots of alligators (big mama and her babies), native Floridian birds, deer, turtles and lots of small wildlife. Unfortunately, the infamous Florida panther that roams the preserve was a no show but it was still enjoyable. The place also offers two other options to explore the 1500 miles of wilderness: horseback or via zipline. The boys are planning on doing the zipline excursion next time we are back in the area.

Our next major outing was to Clearwater Beach, almost two hours away.  The day was misty and overcast so we decided to nix the suntanning and take a leisurely walk along the shore. I was surprised at how fine and white the sand is in Clearwater. In Cocoa Beach, on the  Atlanta side, the sand is dark and coarse. We walked along collecting more shells to add to my collection and proceeded to walk the wooden pier that spans across a couple hundred feet of the ocean from the shore. As we got to the end, much to our delight, a pair of dolphins jumped out of the water! With cameras ready to aim and shoot, we waited for the perfect shot. Although the dolphins did reappear numerous times, it was pretty much impossible to catch them mid-flight with a regular digital camera. The images of seeing these beautiful creatures in their natural surroundings will be one that will stay with me for a long time.

The last highlight of our trip was the launch of the Discovery shuttle. Although the shuttle was launched from Cape Canaveral, it could be seen from where we were in Kissimmee however, it was somewhat overcast and I couldn't get a glimpse of it through the clouds. The hubby and firstborn son had gone to the market to pick up some groceries and reported that they saw it whilst they were loading the groceries in the car. Lucky them!

Although we haven't been back home for a full week yet, I am wishing I was back in Clearwater Beach watching the dolphins jump out of the water.

Until next time...think spring!

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