Thursday, February 21, 2013

Of Happy Places

Good thing I didn't make my last blog a vow about posting daily (or weekly) blogs....But, hey, hi! I'm back again. Realizing I've been back from Florida over a week already -- not sure how that happened?! Regardless, I cannot let any more time pass without recounting what a wonderful, amazing time I had on my trip.  We went to celebrate the birthday of my dear friend Jacque, who happens to own a lovely home in Naples.  Thankfully, the stars aligned nicely enough to afford me the opportunity to accept her invitation.

So, off we flew, Jacque, Michele, Diane and I, for four blissful days in Florida.  I highly recommend such a thing -- especially in early February.  Nothing like a few days of sunny, 80 degree weather, to help banish the winter doldrums! The flight there was uneventful (my neverending nerves notwithstanding), and we were greeted at the airport by Jacque's parents, who were so warm and gracious -- though, frankly, I'm not surprised, knowing Jacque as I do.  They helped transport us (and our luggage) back to the house and get us settled, and we spent a nice, relaxing evening there.

In fact, it was so very relaxing and peaceful there, I found myself sleeping for 8 and 9 hours a night -- which is unheard of in my world!  And it was lovely to wake each morning and spend an hour or so lazing by the pool, enjoying the warm, morning air, listening to the birds chirping...

It took us a little while to get all packed up and beach-ready Friday morning. Diane was ready to go before the rest of us...

But we did finally make our way to Vanderbilt Beach, and enjoyed a nice afternoon there - the sudden attack of Red Tide and consequent nasal waterworks notwithstanding.  Thank goodness Jacque brought hankies (of a sort)!! We also had a delightful lunch at the Ritz, complete with crab meat nachos and a nummy margarita. Or two. 

After prettying-up for the evening, we ventured back out into downtown Naples and had a delicious dinner at Yabba's, a neat little restaurant/night club place, that had its own pet alligator out front.  At least...I think that was an alligator...

The drink of choice was a "Marga-Jito," I believe -- some combination of Margarita and Mojito. It was delightful! 

And I was feeling so in-the-Florida-moment that I (Ms. Non-Seafood-Eater) actually ordered Grouper.  And it was amazingly good!

After dinner, we went for a stroll through Naples, and I befriended some flora.

We returned to Yabba's after they'd converted from restaurant to nightclub and kicked off our heels to dance.  Until management advised that was frowned upon.  Shoes back on, we took our leave and headed home, where the celebrating continued...

The next morning, we took it easy, then eventually made our way to Naples Beach for another leisurely afternoon in the sun and sand, and a full and thorough celebration of Jacque's actual natal day!

Saturday night's dinner was at an Hibatchi place called "DaRuMa."  Their Manager's snotty attitude about honoring a promotional deal notwithstanding, the food was very good, and we made/adopted some new Swiss friends. Was happy my blogger friend Donlyn was able to join us for dinner and our evening out!

Sunday morning we were slated for brunch with Jacque's parents and her cousin Andrea's family.  We dined at Baleen, at LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort, which afforded us an amazing view of the ocean during our meal.

For the rest of Sunday, we took it easy, lounging around the pool, picking up some pizza, and quietly enjoying our last evening in Florida. 

Alas, Monday dawned, and it was time for us to pack up and say goodbye to our happy place. Not entirely, mind you -- life's been very kind to me of late and given me some extra doses of happy back here at home, as well.  But there is a peace and serenity I find when I am truly able to "get away," and to spend time in or near the water, in the warmth of the sun, and in the embrace of dear friends.  I'm so very grateful for that!

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