You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!
~ Dr. Suess
I didn’t travel much when I was younger. While my sister traveled all over the world to Europe and Africa and Australia, I played it safe spending most of my time sticking pretty close to home. I had a stint in Boston where I lived for a few months and road tripped to a variety of US and Canadian destinations but my motive was to find a good time not really to travel. Even my High School trip to Spain was more about the party.
But now I get the opportunity to travel a lot. It is not really as glamorous as people think. I am not lounging on foreign beaches sipping champagne in between naps and spa treatments. Any travel writer knows that most times when you travel for an article there is a busy itinerary of things to do that you probably wouldn’t pick for yourself. And often your trip is a few days instead of the full week of relaxation you would book on your own.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. But this type of travel is different and my view of it is too. Where I used to look forward to a vacation from the hustle and bustle of my life, a break from the chaos. With this type of travel I have learned to value other things. It is crazy trying to build in 3 or 4 days away when there are kids to be cared for and work to be done so I can’t expect the time-out of a regular vacation. I have work to do. However, over time I have come to see that in addition to the work and the patched together plans to manage my life and business there is something special about these opportunities. There is the chance to learn. When I travel I meet interesting people and explore new places. My mind opens up.
On my most recent trip I had the pleasure of traveling to Anna Maria Island, Florida. Never heard of it? Neither had I. Anna Maria is located just south of St. Petersburg on a small Island. It is quaint and quiet and like no other part of Florida I have ever been to. When I think Florida I think BIG and BOLD and LOUD. Anna Maria is a little piece of paradise amidst the overdeveloped Florida landscaped.
Our cute little home, cottage 107 at Anna Maria Island Beach Cottages.
We stayed in one of the Anna Maria Island Beach Cottages. It was like a breath of fresh air that I didn’t even know I needed. We rode bikes around town, we met and chatted with the locals, we explored the cute boutiques and cafes and ate at some of the most interesting restaurants.
Dining with our feet in the sand at The Sandbar Restaurant.
The sunset from The Sandbar Restaurant on Anna Maria Island.
THE best ribs at Eat Here, Anna Maria Island.
Me behind the bar with native Canadian, Sean Murphy, owner of Eat Here and the Zagat rated Beach Bistro.
What I have learned is that every place I go has something unique to offer. Some life lesson I am meant to learn. It is not always a positive experience but I always get something from it. Anna Maria taught me a lot in the 2 days I was there. It reminded me of the value of slowing down. My life is usually CRAZY and, for the most part, I like it that way but the opportunity to spend some time in a place where the little things matter was refreshing and very unexpected from Florida.
Anna Maria is a gem. A truly peaceful place where one can go to relax and explore and set your own agenda. There are no pre-planned activities, there are no kids clubs or poolside games. But I was not bored for one single second.
In Anna Maria we had the beautiful beach practically to ourselves.
I loved the quiet experience of Anna Maria but what do you think? If you planned the ideal getaway for your family would you want something like Anna Maria Island or would you prefer a busy resort experience?