Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Summer Vacay: Clearwater

As you read HERE, about our time in Sarasota, Florida, here is the second part of that whirlwind trip, which took us up to Clearwater. We purposely added this stretch so we could stay at a nice resort right on the beach. Bimmer loves her some beach time and I am inclined to give it to her. (Spoiled, much?) So, buckle in... here is the second part of our summer vacay...
I'm not quite sure what Vacation God we made happy, but when we got to our hotel (Hyatt Regency Clearwater) we were blessed with a massive upgrade to a suite with a full kitchen, two baths, and three balconies. Even though we got there just as a torrential downpour started, it was short lived, and we were high on adrenaline from arriving in town!
That night, we gave in (again) to the touristy suggestion and walked up to Frenchy's Rockaway Grill. We had heard the atmosphere was great, right on the beach, and the grouper sandwich was heavenly. Well... since it had been raining, they had the plastic walls down on their patio and the food was pretty mediocre. In fact, I vote it the worst food we had the entire trip! Definitely won't be going there again, nor recommending it to anyone! But walking up there did afford Puff the opportunity to do this...
The next morning was overcast, but I was bound and determined to have some beach time with Bimmer, who loves it so much! She had a blast with her beach toys and having Puff "jump" her over waves. I may not have been getting the suntan I was hoping for, but I was making awesome memories with my husband and my daughter. Not to overlook the fact that day was also my 4th wedding anniversary!

For lunch, we packed up and headed to an area on the mainland called Dunedin. We had lunch at the Broadway Café (it was decent) and checked out their little shops. It was a really cute area only about 10 minutes from our hotel that didn't feel so much like a touristy area in Florida. From there, it was back to the hotel and time to check out the 8th floor pool. Their kid's pool area was great and when we upgraded to the big pool, Bimmer was anxious to put back on her swimmies and jump in!
That night, we were itching for some food that wasn't seafood, so we consulted with the concierge and headed to The Gondolier for some pizza. I didn't realize it was a chain, but when it was that good, who cares? Pizza was a nice break for Bimmer too and she scarfed down as much as we did! We spent some time browsing cheesy tourist shops that night and Bimmer was so obsessed with the Surf Style "mascot" out front that she was talking about it even after we got home!
Our last full day was spent with a brief stint at the beach (the wind was not kind that morning), lunch at the hotel pool bar (it was nasty), and then more swimming in the pool before a looooooong nap! Again, I wasn't getting the lounge around-drink a cocktail-get a tan day that I had hoped for, but who can complain about a nap?

That night, we begged the concierge to give us the inside scoop on someplace that locals would go to eat, and we found ourselves at the Clear Sky Beachside Café. It wasn't the best food in the entire world, but it certainly was pretty darn yummy. I had blackened shrimp and Puff had their grouper. We were about to turn into a shrimp and a grouper, respectively, by the end of this trip! Before putting Bimmer to bed that night, we took full advantage of our balcony that overlooked the water to take in one gorgeous sunset.
And since we're never ones to not take advantage of every second of every opportunity, the last morning, we hit the beach up one last time before heading to the airport.
It really was an awesome family vacation. I am loving that as Bimmer gets older we are able to do more activities. We will never be lay at the beach all day kind of people. Do I long for the days when Bimmer can swim by herself and entertain herself for a bit in the pool while I have a cocktail and read a book? Certainly. But we'll get there. And I most certainly am not wishing away these days with her.
Travel is an important piece of the life Puff and I want to live. And we are so thankful that we are able to instill that in Bimmer as well at such a young age. It wasn't a far-flung trip to anywhere crazy, but it was just the most perfect little getaway for us at this stage in our lives. We made memories... and that is what it's all about!

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