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Old 02-03-2011   #1 (permalink)
lost on fifth
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Oregon
Posts: 12
Christmas in Florida

Hello! I am a longtime lurker, but hardly ever post. My husband and I took a trip to Isla Mujeres and Playa way back in December of 2008, and while we were hoping to go back last year we instead decided to spend Christmas with his family in Fort Myers Florida (he hadn't spent Christmas with them in 19 years!). To be honest, I was a little leery of visiting Florida--has anyone read any Tim Dorsey books?--but it was beautiful and we had a great time. No Serge or Coleman incidents We left on December 15, and took an evening flight (a first for us), because we saved $300 doing so. We left from Portland, Oregon and stopped in Salt Lake and Atlanta on the way.

This is my husband, who shall be referred to as Treegeek.

This is my daughter, who will be referred to as the Reader (as that was all she was interested in doing--preteens!)

We arrived in Florida at around 10 in the morning of the 16th, and it was warm and gorgeous! My inlaws stay in Fort Myers Beach for a month in a house that backs up to Estero Bay.

These are house pictures--we stayed in the apartment over the garage.

The landscaping was gorgeous around the house and pool, and I love flowers, so I hope you enjoy these

That's all for now--I have to get ready for work I am hoping my pictures turn out well--I swear I read all the info I could find on posting photos!
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Old 02-03-2011   #2 (permalink)
lost on fifth
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Oregon
Posts: 12
Oops--I see that my photos are huge! Tonight I will edit size and see if they work out better!
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Old 02-03-2011   #3 (permalink)
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beautiful pics..and wow what a house
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Old 02-04-2011   #4 (permalink)
lost on fifth
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Location: Oregon
Posts: 12
Thank you very much . It's nice to have a place to display my pictures! We were really lucky to be able to stay at this house--my inlaws have stayed there for several years now for the holidays, and I think they get a deal. It really has driven home the point about saving properly for retirement-I hope to be able to spend several weeks in the sun during the winter after I retire

Back to my report....

We spent the rest of this day enjoying the house and checking out the beach.

That was it for Day 1, we went to bed and slept like logs. Nothing like travel and sun to take it out of you We were very lucky to be there for almost two weeks, so were looking forward to many days of fun and sun!
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Old 02-04-2011   #5 (permalink)
lost on fifth
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Oregon
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So the next several days were spent around the house, enjoying the beautiful weather and hanging with the family.

I also took lots of photos of the plants around the house. I really love gardening, and I really enjoyed all the different types of plants that grew here. For some reason I didn't expect Florida to be so tropical

Several times we spotted dolphins in the bay, but they were really hard to catch pictures of--they were so quick, and my camera just couldn't keep up. I did get a great video, and if I can figure out how to post it I will. Here is one of the only pics I got of them.

One of the places we really wanted to visit while in Florida was Lovers Key State Park. I am a tireless vacation planner, and I had heard that it was beautiful and a great place for shelling. Here in Oregon the coast is really rocky, and it is difficult to find any whole shells. I was overwhelmed by the amazing shells that washed up on the beach here, and shelling became my new favorite hobby!

We weren't really sure what the hell this thing was, but it was weird and interesting, so I took some pictures.

There were horseshoe crabs all over the beach while we were there--both in Lovers Key and the beach across the street from us. Huge ones, too!

This is the first bag of collected shells. By the time we came home I had four bags full--I made my family mule them all home!

We actually had a horse conch wash up on the beach while we were walking along the surf. My mother in law said that in all the years she's come to this part of Florida that has never happened. It was beautiful.

This section of beach had these gorgeous dead trees--very picturesque in contrast to the teal gulf waters.

I always take pictures of my feet in the surf--you'll see more of these in days to come

My husbands brother and his family were also there, and they brought their bocce set.

After a glorious afternoon on the beach we decided to head back home.

This was the moonrise that night.

This was one of our favorite days in Florida, and this state park became one of our favorite places. We went back three different days--including Christmas Day--and we hope one day to go back and do some kayaking through the mangroves.
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Old 02-04-2011   #6 (permalink)
lost on fifth
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Oregon
Posts: 12
Since my husband's whole family was going to be together for Christmas this year, my mother in law wanted to get a family photo of all of us. We even had a color scheme--khaki pants and royal blue tops. I called it our Modern Family photo . I didn't take any photos of all of us with my camera--it seemed rude in front of the professional photographer--but this amazing bird came down and hung out with us during our photo.

This is how close my nephew was able to get to it to take it's photo.

From here all the days started to blend together, but one afternoon we did go down to the town square in Fort Myers Beach and had lunch at the Greek Restaurant and checked out the beach by the pier.

The beach was packed here compared to our southern island location.

There is a trolley that runs from one end of the island to the other, but because it was off-season it didn't run that frequently, so my husband tried to hitch a ride to the extreme embarrassment of our daughter .

One of the days before Christmas we visited Sanibel and Captiva Islands, as they were very close. We started out at Lighthouse Beach.

We ended up at the end of Captiva Island for lunch at the Key Lime Bistro. No pictures of the bistro iteself, unfortunately, but I did get some other photos of the area.

We are Oregon Duck fans, so I had to get this photo.

We like to mix it up a little

Christmas Day was spent with family, then at Lovers Key.

I love this photo of my husband and his father, after a big dinner.

It was a fabulous Christmas, but only a couple more days until the end...we thought. We were scheduled to leave on Tuesday the 28th at 6:30 in the morning. So we get up at 3:45 AM and get there in plenty of time, get all checked in and to our gate to wait and eat some breakfast. Florida had been having a cold snap at this time, and to our dismay we were told that our flight was going to be delayed due to ice on the wings of our plane. Because this was the South Florida airport they did not have de-icing equipment and we would have to wait for the sun to rise to melt the ice. Oh no! This would cause us to miss our connecting flight in Houston, and while normally this would not have been a huge problem, due to the huge storm on the east coast on Christmas weekend that had thousands of people rescheduling flights we would not be able to get out of Houston until Thursday--two days away. So we opted to stay in Florida and extend our vacation, because luckily we had a place to stay. So my inlaws came back to pick us up at the airport, and we went back to bed When we got up I called everyone who needed to know--work, cat-sitters, and our airport ride. Then we decided to hit the beach, because we may as well make the best of it! We of course went back to Lovers Key.

We had packed a lunch, and this was the view from our spot.

The name of this bush cracked me up.

My favorite palm trees were the royal palms. Their trunks looked unreal--like they were covered in concrete. I thought it was amazing.

Thursday came around and finally we make it home, after what seemed like the longest flights ever . It was sunny in Oregon, but certainly not warm.

All in all we had a great time in Florida. We would definitely go back again--we didn't even make it to the Everglades this trip, or the big cypress forest east of Naples. The beaches were nice--although the water was nothing like the water in Playa--and shelling totally hooked me. But the best thing about the whole trip was spending the holidays with my husband's family. Thanks for reading my trip report. I love trip reports, and even though we aren't planning a trip to Mexico anytime soon, I find myself checking this site once a week or so to see where others have been going, and what they do once they get there . I wasn't sure about writing about a trip to someplace other than Playa, but as time passed it seemed weird to write a report about a trip that took place two years ago. But I hope you enjoyed our family's journey, and hopefully the next one will be about our family's adventures in Mexico!
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Old 02-04-2011   #7 (permalink)
lost on fifth
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 10
Great report! Looks like a wonderful Christmas! The pictures were awesome, definitely going to add Fort Myers to my list!
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Old 01-20-2012   #8 (permalink)
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Location: Pittsburgh
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GREAT pictures and GREAT report!
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Old 01-22-2012   #9 (permalink)
lost on fifth
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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Posts: 12
Thank you very much! I hope that one of these days my husband and I (and daughter too) will be able to make it back to Playa and then I'll post a couple hundred pictures of that trip!
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Old 01-22-2012   #10 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Colorado
Posts: 745
I loved your report! You got some fantastic pictures!

I love that area of Florida; I vacationed on Sanibel twice and want to go back but it's a little out of our budget now... Guess we can "make do" with Playa instead but I sure miss the shelling!
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