Adventures in the Sunshine State

Friday, April 4, 2014

Happy Friday! Hope your week has gone by super fast - especially if you live in NW Iowa like myself and are staring in disbelief at all the snow we received last night from old man winter. Ugh. As you know, T & I escaped to the sunshine state last week for a little getaway. (In reality, T spent about half his time attending medical conferences, but he still managed to squeeze in some time for some R & R and adventures). According to my camera roll...

Vacay started out in Orlando where the weather was all sun-shiny and beautiful. We stayed in Downtown Disney to be close to shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. As a bonus, our hotel had direct shuttle service to the Disney parks, so we conveniently got to avoid getting lost in the place where dreams come true. On our first full evening in FL, we ventured out to Epcot to explore the world (seems to be a ritual for T & I when we are in Orlando).

Once again, the garden show was in full swing, and there were many awesome live plant sculptures throughout the park.

We started in Canada, which we'd had to skip due to running out of time during previous visits, and decided there wasn't much to miss (on a side note - I've heard good things about the Canadian restaurant, so may need to try that next time). One of our favorite stops was Morocco, where we enjoyed an authentic dinner at the Marrakech Restaurant. Moroccan food is so yummy - if you visit, be sure to at least get some of the 'street food' in Morocco. Yum Yum.

Day two, we hit up the Orlando Premier Outlet for some excellent shopping, then headed out to dinner at Raglan Road (an Irish restaurant in Downtown Disney with the most amazing bread and honey dip), before continuing on to La Nouba, the Cirque du Soleil show in Downtown Disney. We had so much fun being entertained by the crazy acrobatic feats and would highly recommend the show to anyone traveling to Disney.

All ready for showtime!

Post-show, we couldn't go home without a trip to Legoland where T is fully convinced he has found all of his future Christmas gifts.

For the second leg of our trip, we drove south to Anna Maria Island. The weather, unfortunately, was not too great for most of the week, so our time spent outside and at the beach was pretty limited. We did have a chance to squeeze in a few walks on the beach, a trip to St. Armands, some pretty amazing dinners, and a culture-expanding trip to The Ringling in Sarasota.

A few of our favorite meals from Vacay. Clockwise from top left: Anna Maria Donuts - yes, that is a maple syrup and bacon topped donut...healthy.; The Waterfront - Juniperberry Amberjack; The Waterfront - Grouper Oscar; The Village Idiot - wood-fired pizza...all sooo yummy.

A visit to the Circus Museum at The Ringling.

Part of the Circus Museum at The Ringling...awesome display of how a circus used to be set up.

Found our new house! Ca' d'Zan A.K.A. winter home of American circus owner, developer, and art collector John Ringling and his wife Mable. This baby sits right on the water and is absolutely stunning. 

Enjoying a view from the terrace at Ca' d'Zan. The parties here must have been amazing. Very roaring 20s (when it was built) and 'Gatsby-esque' in the sheer attention to detail and general awesomeness. Also enjoyed, but not pictured due to restrictions on photography, was the Ringling Art Museum. T went in dragging his feet and thinking this would be a waste of time (this was his first visit to a real art museum), and came out deciding we need to visit all of the other famous art museums around the world. Who am I to say no? I guess that's what happens after you view a few Rubens in art museum filled with 31 galleries of priceless old world paintings! 

A Few Favorites from the Week:
Walks on the beach in Anna Maria
Hot tub time for T (sadly I couldn't participate as babies and hot tubs aren't a recommended mix)
Shopping trips to Premier Outlets in Orlando and Ellenton

30 Weeks!

A little beach time post-dinner. It was a little chilly and cloudy for a sunset viewing, but still fun to put our toes in the sand!

A walk on the beach.

Near sunset on the beach.

While our getaway was fun and relaxing, we decided that our next trip to FL we will wait until a little later in the spring/summer/fall to hopefully have some more consistently warmer weather. Looking forward to many sandcastles and memories with Baby W at the beach!

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Thanks for visiting! Let me know if you have any suggestions of recipes I should try, fun ideas to do with the kiddo, or a suggested adventure to add to our bucket list!

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