Manasota Key: Englewood Beach

Back in grade school, I saw the movie, “Jaws,” which scared the living begeezus out of me! Sharks became the only thing I was really afraid of, and for years I didn’t go in the ocean (at least not very far). But the trouble with that is, I love the ocean (the colors, the sound of it, even the smell) and sharks are only one small danger in the world, among many others like car accidents and a bad perm. I took me a while, but I got over my fears and I can now go out in the ocean like before and enjoy the waves and swell of the tide lifting me like I weigh nothing. Englewood Beach on Manasota Key is littered with shark’s teeth. You just look down and there they are along with the seashells and random pieces of sea glass. Without a doubt, that area of the Gulf of Mexico has a pretty good population of sharks, mostly small reef sharks, lemon sharks and tiger sharks. No Great Whites like in the movie, but sharks are abundant, nevertheless.

On this trip, it was too cool to go swimming -Darn! I never got a chance to get in the water beyond my calves, but part of me wanted to. You see I’m on a mission to eliminate as much fear in my life as is possible (more on that in next week’s post, Warnings, Precautions, Predictions and Fear: How We Let Them Stop Us.) Anyway, here are a few of the shark’s teeth we found on shore, even with everyone else looking for them too.

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Feb22, 2015: My best girl Ariel and I left Indiana right on time. The temps were plummeting well below freezing. It was nine degrees as we drove to the airport, but a few hours later we were looking down over Tampa where sun and shadows laced the landscape. We grabbed our bags from baggage claim and headed to the car rental kiosk. We loaded our rental car and pulled out under sunny skies – 78 degrees. We stopped for a minute at gas station for a diet Coke and threw our coats and boots in the trunk of the car where they stayed until we got back to the airport a week later. . We turned up the radio and hit 275 south toward the beaches.

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The condo we stayed in on the Key is one of my father’s vacation time shares and he allows other family members to use it often. I hadn’t been there in 23 years. From the back screened patio, You can watch the evening sun reflect off of the sails of boats anchored in Lemon Bay.

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Across the street, is the ocean where we found hundreds of shark’s teeth and some pretty cool seashells as well.

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If you pick up a conch in really good shape that feels heavy, be sure to check and see if the snail is still inside. I had to throw four back out into the water that were still inhabited.

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Day 2 -I found one of my friends lounging on the beach. he wasn’t there for long because the seagulls soon found him.

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Later, after reading in the sun for a while, soaking up the Vitamin D we’d been craving, we had to go out for coconut shrimp at the White Elephant Pub. Yummmm.

2015-02-24 04.27.15After the first two days, clouds rolled in forcing us to find other things to do besides lay in the sun. We drove into Englewood for the Dearborn Street Farmer’s Market. Going to a Farmer’s Market on vacation is one of our favorite things to do. Its a great way to take advantage of a little of the local culture, music, foodies and fun. 2015-02-25 22.26.34

We bought coffee, pastries and some gifts for friends back home.

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it was too late in our stay to buy much food, but we got a tub of guacamole from the guys making it right there on the spot – Dynasty: King of ALL Guacamole, Mmm, It was delish! So were they:)

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The next day, still gloomy and some rain, so we drove out to Manatee Park – It’s a little hard to see them out there in the water, but those white marks are scars from propellor collisions.

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We walked around looking for alligators, but didn’t see any of those, only a few lizards. 
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On our last day we stopped in at the Beach Road Wine Bar and Bistro and were pleasantly surprised by the best food and the best service we’d had all week. I recommend this place over the other five local places where we ate. You can find them at 1350 Beach Road, Englewood, FL 34223. We ordered the Duck Trap River Smoked Salmon flatbread (that’s enough for two) and the Schramsberg Sparkling Calif. Wine. We made a toast to yet another successful mother/daughter vacation together. We love coming to Florida, sun or no sun, the temperatures were in the low seventies, but a heck of a lot warmer than it was in Indiana.

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