What a difference a week makes. The view from the window over last weekend was way different from the week before. Both lovely, but I took the recent photo from the outside!
The hotel we stayed in, the West Wind Inn, was not modern, though recently remodeled. That meant that instead of glitz we got friendly staff, a screened balcony facing the gulf, and even towel and toilet paper fanciness. And it came with humid air to create a curly Florida hairstyle.
But the real fun (or at least the fun we can write about on a family blog) happened outside the hotel. We walked on the beach and saw many birds, some of which I can identify, some of which I will have to consult with Mrs. Dr. Yarn to be sure of. I am sure that last one is a dolphin.
We road bikes through the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, and later hiked at the Bailey Tract of the same refuge, where we saw a wild gator. See that bumpy water just above where the shadow starts? Honest, that is a gator.
We kayaked in the refuge, too, and saw lots of swell birds and critters, too. This anhinga was barely a kayak’s length away yet showed no concern. The gopher tortoise, on the other hand, hurried away. Luckily, hurry for a gopher tortoise allows plenty of time for photography.
We took advantage of the warm weather to get a non-treadmill run in. We stopped at a bridge for a bout of Pooh-sticking and were lucky enough to see a nice turtle. And along the way, a lovely butterfly.
I won’t take you through all of them – if you want to see more photos you can go to my Flickr set from the vacation – but I can’t leave without posting a few ibises, a heron and an egret.
And some key lime pie. The food on the island isn’t really fabulous, but this one piece of pie made up for the fairly mediocre offerings at the touristy restaurants. Look closely at that crust – pecans, not graham crackers. It made a nice end to best meal we had on the trip (and that wasn’t influenced by the way it started, I’m pretty sure).