Florida Family Fun
By Thomas Morrone, CFP®, CPA
There is nothing like a good old fashioned family vacation. The last week of this past October we had just that. We rented a house in Florida on Anna Maria Island and the entire clan was there. Cathy and I, Paul, Jill, Kyle, Ryan, Kelly, Dave and of course baby Eleanor. We had a large enough house where everybody had their own bedroom and bathroom, so we were not tripping over each other at every turn. For those not familiar with this barrier island, it is on the west coast of the Sunshine State, just north of Sarasota at the mouth of Tampa Bay. Cathy and I had been there 3 or 4 times over the years for day trips and always enjoyed the vibe of the island. None of our family crew had been there before so it was a new adventure for all of them.
As I said before, the vibe of the island was always appealing. No hustle and bustle with three lanes of traffic in each direction. There is one main road that bisects the island with all the finger roads in various directions. Once on the island, your car stays in the driveway and the modes of transportation for the week are golf carts, bicycles, or your own feet. Included with the house that we rented was a six-seater golf cart and a selection of bikes for all. Because there were nine of us, we rented an additional 4-seater golf cart, so everyone was in full island mode. The golf carts were a wonderful way to truly experience and explore the island. These were more than your average golf carts. They each had headlights, turn signals, radio, seatbelts, windshield with wipers and could achieve a speed close to 30 MPH. It was perfect because the posted speed limit on the entire island was 25 MPH. It was comical when we would go to a restaurant and the parking lots would have just as many if not more golf carts than regular vehicles. When in Rome…….
Another bonus for our week of bliss was the weather. It was sunny, 80-85 degrees every day with a slight breeze (just enough to rattle your umbrella as you relaxed on the beach). We swam in the ocean, and it was so much fun to watch the grandkids simply enjoy the beach. We went for long walks, found shells and sand dollars, saw dolphins, manatees, and tarpons. We built sandcastles, buried Kyle in the sand and just watched the waves roll up on the shore and the pelicans diving for fish. It was wonderful.
Throughout the week, everyone had their own family time to do whatever, but we seemed to end up back at the house for happy hour and time in the pool. Our house had a fabulous pool area. There was a hot tub that connected to a wading pool that spilled into the main pool. It was great because the little ones had their comfort zone and us adults had options and options are good. The house was directly on Tampa Bay so while you were in the pool you could watch dolphins and admire the boat traffic.
What is a vacation without great food? There was no shortage of that on this trip. We had great dinners at the local restaurants, we cooked on the gas grill one night and had Gulf shrimp and Snow Crabs. One night we had a chef come in and prepare “soup to nuts,” including dessert. All we had to do was sit and eat. It was a week of doing what you wanted, when you wanted for as long as you wanted.
As much as we enjoyed ourselves, the week went by in a flash. The chatter all week long was we must come back. Therefore, while we were there, we checked out other houses to rent and by the end of the week we booked a house for a week in October of 2024. Cathy and I booked a week in February for just the two of us which will help break up the winter. Life is good on Anna Maria Island!
Until the Next Tom’s Take………………….