A somewhat of a last minute trip to Florida turned out to be a great family vacation to catch up with relatives and friends and a few critters along the way.
Kara’s uncle Larry passed away and the memorial service was held at the Sarasota Military Cemetery. Kara was given the honor of delivering the eulogy. Uncle Larry was a fun loving guy and wanted his goodbye to be laid back, hence some of the Hawaiian shirts at the service.
We hung out for a few days in the Englewood Manasota Key area with Kara’s family there and cousins who came in from Ohio and Alabama. Julian was determined to see an alligator, and sure enough his eagle eye caught one swimming in the canal behind the house. Later in the trip we stopped by Everglades Holiday Park for a gator show and an airboat ride where we saw plenty of alligators swimming around along with several birds and a water moccasin. I can’t even imagine the fear you’d have if you fell off that boat.
We headed south to Naples for the second part of our trip to visit my brother and his family. They relocated from New England about eight years ago for the weather and lower taxes. He and my sister-in-law are part of a growing group. We met a few people from Connecticut, who have ditched the snow and the income tax for the sunshine state. Naples has some great beaches and an awesome zoo, which we’ve been to several times and this trip was no exception.
After the west coast we drove east to visit our friends in Parkland, Florida, and yes, we went by Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. The messages of hope and support from all over adorn the perimeter of the campus, the entrances of which are guarded by police cruisers.
Our friends are recent Florida transplants who chose Parkland for the great schools there, and they live in a really cool neighborhood where they tell us the community has become much closer since the massacre.
At the end of our trip we had a brief stay in the legendary Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, where “Goldfinger,” “Scarface,” and other movies were filmed. It has undergone a $2B renovation and has 11 pools. I’m not sure it is necessarily the best for families. On Friday the pool area turned into a bit of a nightclub, and my kids had questions about some public displays of affection by a few scantily clad people that were a little bit too much for their young eyes.
We of course wanted to look as cool as possible during our trip so of course I rented a minivan, a Chrysler Pacifica. Before you snicker, this minivan was pretty cool, on fleek you might say in a state where Lamborghini spotting is a sport. My son sighted several of these ultimate Italian sports cars along with Ferraris and Rolls Royces. Check out the price tag on one of these exotic cars and divide my $5000 Buick Roadmaster into it. I could buy 400 of my estate wagons for the same money as one of these rare cruisers.
Check out our photo album below, just click the picture to make it bigger and launch a slide show.