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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Brief Vacation

Last month my daughter Amber, the grandsons, and myself headed south to visit my parents at their new home in Tavares, FL. We left on a Tuesday around four in the afternoon, figuring it would be best to get most of the driving out of the way through the night as the little boys slept. Eighteen hours later we arrived at my parents house and we were all very glad to get out of the van! A hot cup of tea was waiting for me and it was very refreshing and perked me up quite nicely.  Amber and the boys immediately wanted to swim, so into the pool they went, Henry became quite the swimmer during our few days visiting.
My parents bought their new home in March of this year with the plan to make it open for all of us to use as a wonderful place to vacation.
Tavares is located about thiry miles north west of Orlando, and is about an hours drive to either coast, being so centrally located makes it ideal for planning day trips.  The house sits on Lake Harris, a massive lake, just shy of 14, 000 acres, it connects to several other lakes, and if you desire you can cross lake after lake and go through various channels and rivers and ultimately end up in the Atlantic ocean.
My parents took us all out on their pontoon, it was a beautiful sunny day simply perfect for a boat ride. We headed across Lake Harris, through the dead river, into Lake Eustis, down the Dora Canal into the Mt. Dora Lake, we then docked and took a stroll around Tavares.  A little later we headed back to the pontoon, chased off all of the birds who decided it was a wonderful place to perch, and retraced our journey home.
Another day we took a drive to Homosassa Springs located on the western side of Florida.  There is a lovely state park, Homosassas Springs State Park, a winter home to many manatees, and a permanent home to several captive manatees. The park is a delight, well worth a visit. As well as manatees there are many birds to see, owls, eagles, flamingos, to name a few, a lovely old fellow Lou the Hippopotamus who is fifty years old, aligators, black bear, foxes, and a reptile house with lots of little creatures who thankfully are safely kept behind glass. Other than Lou, all the birds and animals are native to Florida. While walking around the park we discovered a very small creature lying in a crack in the sidewalk, it was obviously injured, my mom and Amber, Patrick and Charlie stood guard while Henry and I went to find help. In the nature building we found three retirees, all volunteers at the park, who were quite excited with the thought of an adventure. Henry, the three park volunteers and myself all headed back to the injured creature. It turned out to be a baby flying squirrel, one of the volunteers called for emergency back up and we continued our tour of the park. A little later we checked back with the volunteers and found out that the little squirrel was in a warming bed and would be transferred to a rehabilitation center for flying squirrels run by a lady called Mary. We were glad that we had had some part in rescuing the poor little squirrel.
We visited a beach on the Gulf of Mexico and dipped our toes into the surf and another day we headed over to the east coast to New Smyrna Beach to see the Atlantic ocean. New Smyrna is a good place to visit, we walked around a farmers market, it was strange to me that it was essentially the same as the farmers market we have in Fort Wayne, selling identical things packaged almost identically, very strange! A man was playing calypso music at the market, it was perfect, the sun was shining and it was very hot, we purchased a bag of kettle corn and headed to the beach.
It was a perfect day for the beach, a light breeze, ample sunshine, warm water, seventy-seven degrees warm, and lots and lots of sand. I built a sandcastle, we all played in the surf, ate popcorn, played ball, sat in the sun, and did all the usual going to the beach activities, it was wonderful.
It was a great, albeit brief, vacation, and I hope to run down to Florida again with Dave sometime in January for a few days of fun in the sun.

Turtles at Homosassas

My mummy with two of her great-grandsons

Lou the Hippo

The baby flying squirrel. He was much photographed by us and the park volunteers!

A manatee

I wouldn't trust that smile if I was you.

A splendid eagle

Amber and two of the boys standing in the Gulf of Mexico

My mom enjoying the shade

A view of Lake Harris at sunset

The boathouse at sunset

The pontoon First Mate

The pontoon Captain

The Dora Canal

Trees in the Dora Canal

Amber and her boys enjoying the pontoon

Pontoon rides are very relaxing

My splendid sand castle, it took the boys no time at all to demolish it!

You can't go to the beach without someone getting buried in the sand :)

A view of New Smyrna Beach looking south

Amber and Charlie paddling in the Atlantic


Pete said...

Very nice - you're all welcome any time.

Bean said...

It was a great vacation - Thank you

Marika said...

Glad you had a great time! Love the pictures - especially the one of Mom and the two boys! Thanks for posting.

Rebecca said...

What a great location! I especially liked the photo of the beach house at sundown. Glad you had this experience with your daughter and the kids, Bean...

Bean said...

It was a fun time. It was a lovely visit with my parents and a nice time with Amber and the boys.