Saturday Jan 21  2012.  Sunny and Bright.70’s.  Heading for the 80’s on Monday. Soon we’ll  wear  lighter weight clothing without layering.

This post catches up with our visit from Don and Laura Wood — Sarasota friends .

Don, Laura, John, Laura Sarasota Circus 2010

We first met Laura in New Hope and discovered she grew up in Glen Rock – a few years ahead of me.

Then Laura met Don, who hails from Texas and Colorado.

Laura’s been pushing for us to come winter in Sarasota and was skeptical about our decision to roost in Cedar Key.  Her friends called it “the place to recover from a nervous breakdown”  She also wondered about the house we would be in – would it have good beds?


As a realtor, she has a skilled eye for property value and as a bon vivant of the world, she has cultured a certain level of taste and style preference. She is mad about her “pretty little city by the sea”

and her condo overlooking the bay, with sunset views

and the lovely span of bridge over to Long Boat Key.

Laura and Don's sunset view condo




Sarasota Harbor - some pretty big boats!






But for a get-away place, I do not have her tolerance for traffic noise, of which there is a lot in Sarasota,

– on both the streets and  water.

Nor do I desire an abundance of concrete and buildings.

We went to Gainesville the last two days (for John’s Dr. appts.) and I found I still don’t miss that  jungle style – not one-eye-ota!

(whoever first lets me know where that expression came from, and how you spell it, wins a peck of Jeanne Beckum oysters.! But ya gotta eat ’em in Cedar Key)


We were sure Don would love the area, but we really didn’t know if Laura would like our little world on this island. . .

We did, however, know she loves boats (and Vinegar and Salt potato chips), so we booked Captain Lloyd and packed a lunch for the day.

Laura Pearson Wood and Captain Lloyd Collins










The waters surrounding Cedar Key are magnificently beautiful,

with many islands, oyster bars and wide open views unobstructed by any buildings.








And on this day we were treated to the bounties of the sea beginning with the pod of dolphins who followed our boat for a bit





and then white pelicans, clustered on an island.







White Pelicans are communal. They hunt and eat together.

I wonder what makes one species cooperate while another operates individually and competitively?

I suppose the same question applies to our human species as well.

Are we naturally communal but have it driven out of us for imposed cultural requirements?

Or is it in some DNA but not others?


Captain Lloyd then headed out to the Shell Mound area,

Approaching the Shell Mound Inlet area

which is the beginning of the national bird sanctuary –

and the location of the indian shell mounds —

an enormous mound – hill – small mountain, actually

-created by discarded shells of the indians – over a period of 3500 years.

John's on the second level of the mound (two more above him)













Higher Shell Mound Hill: Bottom to Top

The highest shell mound - top to bottom shot












We’d previously visited it on the land side -it looks like a watery African Savanna.

View to the water from the shell mound


From the observation/fishing deck at the Shell Mound areas water edge










Laura's Eyes were Satisfied by the Beauty that day










Captain Lloyd then motored along the coast, heading south,  back toward Cedar Key, pointing out the islands of his youth.


Black Point Island

At Black Point he said there used to be several house, with a beautiful natural spring, and when he’d visit his friend there – he’d bring buckets to haul back the delicious water.

Now the islands are empty, bought up by the federal government. But the pools around the point are good holes for trout and redfish.








We each dropped a line and Lloyd tried to teach us, showing us were to cast –

but the Lauras both missed nibbles and the captain was the only one to catch!

Laura Pearson Wood & Captain Lloyd



Buttermilk soaked baked chicken, celery & carrots & hummus and Chips!










With a nice lunch on board – even the captain liked the buttermilk soaked, baked chicken

– we had the most lovely cruise as our eyes were bathed and quenched with unending beauty.







sandy deserted islands











The first night, we took Don and Laura to our local restaurant (Blue Desert)

more of the Blue Desert Collection










And on Saturday and Sunday we feasted together with marinated ribs and stone crab claws (a tradition with the four of us)

– – and toured the town









. . .where we endlessly pointed out houses that tickled our senses and Laura pulled her funny faces


We were also so very pleased to be with Don when he got the call of a long-time-waiting deal that finally came about.

Nice to witness his relief and joy.

By the end of the trip, Laura had picked out the B&B room she wanted to stay in upon their return.

And on their way out-of-town, they picked up a bag of 150 clams for $15 (it costs $30 in Sarasota)- and had a feast with their friends  who got an earful of what the NATURE COAST has to offer.  Don called and said they were planning a caravan return trip!

Good thing we found were to buy a bushel of oysters and the right cooker to roast them on….(next post)!

xo Laura


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