Beachin’ in Bradenton
This is (at least) the fourth time I’ve had to come back to this post. Ay Caramba! (Okay, so I don’t technically know the meaning of that expression…but I’m sure any Spanish-speaking person will tell you that it fits this situation.)
Regardless, Bradenton was fantastic and I’m having trouble capturing it all.
From the good company to the good food and sandy beaches, we were hard-pressed to leave…even though we knew our next stop would be Disney World.
Red Barn. Strawberry Shortcake. Bealls. Let me just start by telling you how we ended up in Bradenton in the first place.
Getting to Bradenton
I’d been excited about Bradenton for some time because it was the next place I’d get to see family (having family or close friend visits is imperative to maintaining sanity on the road). My Uncle Bud and Aunt Jeanette have a vacation home in Florida so it was decided we’d make a stop between Pensacola and Disney World.
I think Anne & I knew it’d be heaven from the moment we felt their air-conditioned apartment and tasted turkey sandwiches.
Extreme heat tends to strip a persons happiness faster than a hungry piranha…and it was hot in Florida.
Ahh, the sweet taste of relaxation. That night we caught up my Aunt and Uncle on all of our road trip adventures and sat down to our first episode of one of my Uncle Bud’s favorite shows, The Good Wife. We also learned that one of Florida’s natural terrors lurked in the lake behind us…that’s right, I’m talking about alligators. And still, we slept soundly that night.
Strawberries & More
The next day we awoke to a hearty breakfast and a hot cup of coffee, then found ourselves whisked away to Parkesdale Farms.
“What lies in Parkesdale Farms?” you ask.
Strawberry shortcake, that’s what.
My cousins of a sort, Gail, Pat and Carol, met us for strawberry shortcake in Parkesdale and we enjoyed a pleasant afternoon of conversation and complete deliciousness!
Bealls Outlet was our next stop – the store my Uncle Bud had been raving about for its incredible shoe assortment. I tended to favor the clothing selection, although I did get a nice pair of tennis shoes. My first pair in years that weren’t borrowed or Converse – thank you Uncle Bud and Aunt Jeanette!
And if strawberry shortcake and shopping wasn’t enough, we enjoyed a fantastic buffet-style dinner, check out the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and ended the night with another relaxing evening at home.
Our third day in Bradenton was a beach day. We drove around checking out the awesome views and crazy expensive houses, then settled under a beach umbrella in the sand.
Plus, we enjoyed some outdoor eats at a restaurant next to the beach.
Bye Bye Bradenton
Sigh. Our last day in Bradenton had to come. We started it out right with a Cracker Barrel brunch and shopping at the Red Barn.
My main purchase of the day was a wide assortment of fruits & veggies. Apples, Bell Peppers, Oranges, Kiwis…after all, food doesn’t come with that $200-something Disney World ticket.
The characters of Toy Story look forward to meeting you.
And now back to my West Virginia sunset…
Until next time,