Saturday, May 26, 2012

Celebrating Memorial Day before we head for home...

Today we were invited to a Memorial Day Pickleball Celebration at the home of Scott Nelson.  We met Scott a couple of years ago when we played pickleball down in Melbourne Beach and then a second time when he and his son Josh came to play at the Sun City Center Pickleball event.  Since then, Scott has joined Rich and I as an ambassador for USAPA and he represents the Space Coast of Florida, where he has worked to begin pickleball in several locations in Brevard county.

We had hoped that Scott and his wife could join us for dinner at the Lobster Shanty the other day, but a prior commitment did not allow that.  But Scott asked Rich and I to join he and his wife and some of the other local pickleball players for a cookout at their home in celebration of Memorial Day.

We arrived at about 4:00 this afternoon at their home on Satellite Beach. From the front the home appears to be a small ranch style, typical stucco house - but the inside and patio area are far from the norm.  The pool and garden area in the back is absolutely beautiful.  An as you can see below - several of their guests, including Dave, Debbie and their son Josh took part in some pretty awesome ping pong games!

Scott and Paula had prepared grilled sausage with peppers and onions, hot dogs, potato and pasta salads and deviled eggs for the main course......followed by an outstanding grilled pineapple with vanilla ice cream covered in a tasty rum sauce.    That's Scott (red shirt), his son Josh to his right with Rich and David.  His wife Paula serving dessert is in the bottom right corner. 

When Scott is not working, or decorating his home, or playing pickleball ....... he is making wine.  I had the opportunity to taste a delicious red wine today.  Excellent!   Remember - we are in Florida - so there is no wine "cellar".... but Scott does have his wine making room complete with shelves, bottles maked with their  ready dates, his many awards and a cooler ( I didn't get a picture) that stands from floor to ceiling filled with about 200  bottles of wine!    He definately takes this hobby very seriously!.

But - remember ..... all of us are pickleball players and every Saturday this group gets together at the Schechter Community Center on Satellite Beach where they play from 7:00  to 10:00 pm!!!    So with full bellies we headed for the courts..

 Rich's back is still not doing real well - so he was not able to play.  I stayed long enough to play about five games.  There was a great group of players ranging from about 17 years old to seniors; just under 20 players.   It's a beautiful facility and Scott says they set up three courts every week and like tonight get new people looking to learn how to play.

It was a perfect way to end a perfect week and we thank Scott and his wife for including us in their Memorial Day festivities.   Once again we've had a great week here in Cocoa Beach.  It's back to Wauchula tomorrow to get ready to head to The Villages the first of June.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Day Two with the Showalters.......

When we woke on Thursday morning, I quietly opened our bedroom door to make my way to the kitchen to turn on the coffee at about 7:45 am.   I say quietly because I didn't want to wake Nate and Krystal who were bunking out on the pull out sofa in the livingroom.  ( The comfort of this sleeping arrangement - I will leave to Krystal to comment on...........)  Actually the comfort was much like sleeping on a I understand now why at this early hour they had already headed out..........For a stroll on the beach and then off to grab a quick breakfast. (Probably afraid they would wake us!)   They headed of to the Kennedy Space Center for the day...........  But we had made plans to meet for  dinner before they headed back. 

We decided to take them to one of our favorite places to eat, the Lobster Shanty; a waterside restaurant with great food and a great view. 

The entrance area to the restaurant is really quite pretty, with the foilage and rocks and beautiful ponds. 
The ponds are filled with Coy (Koi) fish, which until today we didn't know much about.  But Nate told us that they are from the goldfish family, but unlike the goldfish who grows only as large as his bowl will allow the Coy continues to grow and can live for a hundred years or more.   

We had a great seat and as the sun went down the view of the water and outside seating area was much more appreciated.

I wish I had the picture taken with the food on the table - because it looked as great as it tasted.  Coleslaw, breadsticks and corn fritters are provided while you wait for your meal.  ( We had to have seconds of the corn fritters!!). Nate opted for the Blackened Grouper, Rich the Crabmeat stuffed Flounder and Krystal and I had the Shrimp and Scallop Pasta.   Everything was delicious.

After our meal we wandered outside on to the deck for a view of the Intercoastal Waterway.  The guys are into the fish..............

This time it was lots and lots of Catfish!

 The view from here was really quite pretty, and the breeze made it quite comfortable.  A little later in the evening and the sunset would be beautiful.

This dock looks almost as long as the Cocoa Beach Pier!!! This is looking back at the restaurant from the end of the doc.

One last picture of our friends before they head for home.

We truly enjoyed their visit - and wished it could have lasted longer.  Maybe again next year.

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A Fun Week made Extra Special

We always look forward to our week at Cocoa Beach - even if it's just seven days of being "beach bums" or just doing not much of anything at all except taking in the beauty of the sandy beaches and ocean waves or sitting around the pool.

This year Nate and Krystal joined us for a few days.   After taking the "scenic route" as Nate would say - they arrived around noon on Wednesday.   After settling in we took them for another ride (just what they needed after 3 hours on the road - right!).  Rich and I had visited this great little park before.  It's called the Manatee Sanctuary,  and is nestled away on the Banana River where most people traveling through the area would not find.   Krystal and I waded in the water out to find the small cove where last year we had seen dozens of manatee and dolphin playing in this small cove...........Unfortunately  - there were none to be found today.  A little disappointed - we decided to head over and check out Cocoa Beach Pier.

The pier built in 1962  is one of local  historical landmarks, but obviously  changed and remodeled many times since the days when you could actually drive your vehicle out over the water.    According to the local records it extends about 800 feet into the Atlantic Ocean.  

The first building that catches your eye is Trader Rickey's.   Yes - that's Nate and Rich! 

We didn't go inside - but the outside sandstone design did catch our eye.  

 800 feet sounds like a long way - but when you really look at the pier your first impression is that it really doesn't look that long at all.........

As you enter the Pier, it's  had not to stop and take in the beauty of the sandy beach and the views of the  shoreline...........

Or the young folks taking on the waves..........

Nate and Krystal  taking in the view..........And Krystal with that awesome camera!!!  Can't wait to see her pictures.

Like many historical landmarks - they change over the years to more of a tourist attraction and much of the pier is novelty stores and restaurants today.  (The burgers we saw did look pretty good!)!   Thanks to one of the locals- we were directed to the right door that would take us out to the end of the pier; albeit a little surprised that you had to pay $1 per person to do so. 

And yes - they really do fish from the pier..... and we watched as this gentleman pulled in his "small" catch.   We continued onto the end of the pier where there is a cute little Tiki Bar.........

We passed up the  beverages for the view from the Pier...

I'm hoping that Krystal puts this picture on her blog - With her camera it probably came out much better.  I took this one from the very end of the Pier pointing my camera directly down to the water where I could the "shadows" of the four of us....

OK - so enough of just watching these people on the beach - It was time to take to the WAVES..............Krystal and I catch a big one..........

But the guys saw how much fun we were having and just could not pass up the opportunity..........
 Well, we all know that the sun and the water really can tire you out.....It was time to head back and grab some dinner.  Nate had seen the picture of our Stromboli from a few days ago - and was looking forward to trying one, so we headed back to Anacapri for dinner.

But......even though I forgot the camera for day was not yet over.  We grabbed a drink and went over and sat by the pool where the breeze was perfect for sitting and casual conversation............... About 8:00 we turned the lights on at the tennis courts, grabbed our balls and paddles, chalked the lines and played pickleball for a couple of hours.

Lights Out...........for the day. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hands on Wildlife at the resort............

Today the Hands-On Wildlife Safari visited Oceans Landings............

I have attended this in past years, and found it to be much, much better than this year.  Usually they bring more snakes and larger animals like lions, tigers, and exotic birds.

But it was nice today and the young ladies that talked about each of the exhibits did a very nice job.  

In the pictures below is:  the African hedgehog,  the alligator, ME  holding a tarantula, ME holding a Python, the tortoise,  and the skunk.   Not a huge exhibit today but very educational.


Day Two ..........

We didn't do a whole lot during the day yesterday - I guess we felt like we needed to rest up for a pickleball evening that we know would run a little late. But I did get out and take a few more pictures around the resort.

This is the main pool - our room is just off to the left of this picture.  The little building in the back is a snack bar.  You can enjoy their daily specials for lunch and catch a cold drink.  And just to the left of that is the hot tub.

This is the second pool - called the Terrace Pool.  No snack bar so for the most part the families/kids stay at the other one.  Water aerobics here a couple days a week and music a couple nights. 

There are four tennis courts just waiting for the pickleball players!  Two of the courts are raised over the parking garage - top picture below.  There are two more courts near the pool that are lighted for playing at night. 

Another very nice feature is this pavilion.  Several tables and barbecue grills for a nice cookout  - out of the sun.  In the evenings you often see groups enjoying the evening.  

Gregory's Restaurant is an upscale restaurant and banquet center that is part of the resort.  Steaks and seafood are their specialty.  Every Thursday evening they have a comedy show upstairs.

Later in the afternoon we headed to the South Beach Recreation Center on Melbourne Beach where we met up with Dave and Debbie Christian and Scott Nelson, our fellow pickleball ambassador for the Space Coast.  There will be a group playing Tuesday evening in West Melbourne and Scott says they get a pretty good group back here on Wednesday evenings.  It cost $2 to play.  We played from 5:30 until 8:00

We did a quick stop at Subway to take home a sandwich for dinner.

This morning we headed out for breakfast to one of our favorite little places to eat here on the beach.  No quite the prices for breakfast that we see at Paul's in Wauchula - but not bad for the area.  It was chocolate chip pancakes for Rich and French toast for me today.  Excellent!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Our week begins in Cocoa Beach

We were up early this morning, a little anxious I think, to get on the road. The park is really pretty empty and quite these days. We packed up the car and closed up the RV, called Nick and Tonyia and met them for breakfast at Paul's Kitchen about 10:00. From there we said our goodbye's and headed north on 17................ Below we are just coming to the end of 528 the Bee Line where it turns into A1A at Port Canaveral. I managed to snap a couple of pictures of the cruise ships in dock as we came off the bridge. That's a  Disney Ship and the Royal Caribbean.
The Ocean Landings Resort is just 10 minutes down the road from Port Canaveral......and right on the Beach.  We arrived at about 1:00 pm, well before check-in time, but or suite was ready so they let us in.  The unit that we own is actually in the B Building, and faces the tennis courts, but  frequently, if a room is available in the A building on the ground floor - they let us switch.  That was the case today.   Our room is directly across from the pool and much closer to the beach.

We have a living room/dining area (below), small kitchenette with a small fridge and microwave, two full baths and the bedroom with 2 queen beds.  Flat screen TV in both the living room and bedroom.  The sofa pulls out to a double bed.  Nate, Krystal - we checked it out...............the sheets are clean and we' re anxious for your visit!!!

 After unpacking and getting things put away, we headed outside and heard a lot of noise in the direction of the beach - so we headed that way.  The 3rd annual Cocoa Beach Space Coast Super Boat Grand Prix was underway.  It had started on Friday, and today was the final day of the event........right in our back yard.  I managed to snap a few pictures of the huge crowd of spectators and a few of the boats as they made the turn right behind our resort.

The Beach............

The Boat Show...........

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So then we headed back........and decided to head a little bit north on the beach  to Mambos on the beach - a cozy little beach bar -  Bloody Mary's were the special today starting at 3:00 pm ...........
A little too early, so we took in the auto show at the International Palms Resort.
  Here are some pictures of some pretty cool cars!!

   And Rich found his favorite.  No ...not the girl directing traffic!   But that little red car is a Willys - we had never heard of it before.  But from what we could find - they started making them in 1941 and stopped in 1971. 
We headed back to the room - got out of the sun for a bit and just relaxed for a short time.  About 4:30 we headed to Anacapri Pizzeria.  I really didn't have any choice on the menu tonight!  Rich has been waiting for a year to get back here for his Stromboli!  And so we both enjoyed one for dinner and it was excellent.

After dinner it was a trip to ABC Liquor............ Relaxing days around the pool here at Ocean Landings means White Russians - so we picked up some Kahlua and Vodka ..... and headed for the grocery store for the Half and Half and some goodies for Rich....

We relaxed at the pool for a short time - me with my puzzles and Rich with his new book - Jim Kramers's Getting Back to Even...........a walk to the beach and we called it a day.

We'll probably call Dave and Debbie Christian down in Melbourne  and Scott Nelson over in Satellite Beach tomorrow to see if they are all playing pickleball tomorrow evening!  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hope it's not another five years.........

Well our friends Tom and Karen took off today: a week or so in Orlando and then continue on north.   

On Thursday evening we took them to Paul's Kitchen for dinner.  A great dinner (always enough left over for a meal or two!) and a great few hours of conversation that will have to hold us until we meet up again.  It's been about five years since we last saw them...........and they are "thinking" about spending some time here in Florida perhaps near the end of the year before heading to Texas.  Hope they make it. 

In the meantime - we are now down to the "Final Four" pickleball players here in Peace River.  Twice this week Nate, Krystal, Rich and I have met at the courts.  The four of us get into  some pretty competitive and fun games. So much so, that we often forget the time!   We've been meeting in the evening, 7:30 or 8:00.  Last nigh we started at 8:00 and played for close to 2 1/2 hours!!!    And I'm sure we'll do it again a few more times before we head to Cocoa Beach on the 20th.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The courts were inviting...

It's not often these days that we can even find four people at the same time.

But Tom and Karen are still in the park and Krystal had the day off from work, so we set a pickleball date for Monday evening at 7:00 pm. By then the sun would be just about down and the temperatures a bit more bearable.

It was a fun evening and we set our next games for next Sunday. Once Tom and Karen are gone, we'll be down to the Final Four; Nate, Krystal, Rich and Me!

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