Quarantine Chronicles: Escape to Siesta Key

Spring is here!!! YESSSS!!! I am so ready for the warmer weather and increased daylight! The birds will be chirping more and more, flowers will be blooming. Though I missed out on some winter snowy activities, I am tired of winter coats. I am over of heavy layers. I am sick of not being able to spend long hours outside without shivering. Plus winter during a pandemic definitely had it’s effect on my mental wellbeing. Thankfully I was able to squeeze in a vacation towards the end of this winter season. I escaped the Michigan cold for a few days to Siesta Key, Florida.

My partner had not travelled in over a year before the pandemic so there was some apprehension with the COVID-19 risks especially with air travel. Obviously, the safest place is your home with no one visiting you, but life must go on. And there are ways, as we all should know by now, to reduce the risk of catching and spreading this virus. When it comes to indoor situations, I choose to double mask; this includes grocery stores, airports and airplanes. I’ll write more about this in my next post. But as for my partner, I assured him that we would take all the necessary precautions to avoid human contact. HAND SANITIZER ON DECK!!!

Back to the trip to Siesta Key. The cheapest way to get to Siesta Key outside of driving is to fly into Tampa and then drive less than an hour to the city. Your other option is to fly into Sarasota which is about 15 minutes from Siesta, but the flight tickets were quite expensive. We flew into Tampa and rented a car, which we didn’t use once we got to Siesta. They have a free shuttle that goes up and down the city, masks required. We stayed in a hotel about a block away from the beach and block away from a few hot spots.

We stayed in Siesta Key for 3 short nights. Of course the weekend we chose to have a sunny and hot vacation, the weather decided to be cool and wet. When I say cool, I mean temps between the low 60s and low 70s Fahrenheit. On our first full day, we were able to sneak in a morning run up Siesta Key Beach from our hotel to the village center for breakfast. We literally got to the restaurant just as the rain came down. And it poured all through the day until about 4pm. But that didn’t ruin the our day one bit. After breakfast, we went back to the hotel and jumped into the outdoor hot tub. Let me tell you, that was an amazing experience. The heat from the hot tub on my submerged body mixed with the coolness of the gentle rain on my head made for a spa like treatment. Then after a quick hot shower, I napped all day until the rain stopped and the sun came out.

After the nap we decided to check out the beach for a little bit before heading out to dinner. That Gulf Coast water is always a sight to see. The turquoise hue is absolutely stunning. One can tread the shallow clear waters for miles into the ocean! For the next couple of days, we spent hours lazing around on the beach, listening to music, picking up shells, tossing around the frisbee and swimming in the water. The water wasn’t as warm as I wanted it to be since the temperature was cool, but it was still enjoyable. And we always made sure to stay away from the crowds to be safe. Hint: look for the hidden public beach access points instead of going to the main Siesta Key Beach location.

Now Siesta Key is known for it’s super soft sand, but we didn’t really experience the softness because it was compact. I’m assuming it was the rain and cool temperature that pushed the sand together. We only knew the softness after digging our toes into the sand. Despite the sand, the beach definitely made our much needed vacation all the more relaxing.

Now something unexpected was the amount of unbelievably delicious food this town had to offer. I was only disappointed once, and that was on the last night. Luckily, we made up for it with breakfast and lunch the day after before heading back to Tampa. Thankfully, every restaurant we went to offered outdoor seating!

For breakfast we ate at Another Broken Egg Cafe, a franchise with about 10 locations in the US:

Bonjour French Cafe, a French immigrant owned cafe with the most delicious croissants:

And Meaney’s mini donuts, a corner shop serving the cutest yummiest little donuts:

Other noteworthy spots to check out are the Cottage which serves up Asian inspired eccentric dishes. The creativity on the menu is inspired!

And Pizza N’ Brew, this hole in the wall looking pizza/bar spot serving up some really delicious tomato sauce. Very important for pizzas and calzones!

It can be difficult sometimes to remember the goodness of God when you’re focused on the unanswered prayers. I’ve been beating myself the past few days in regards to this one prayer I’ve been praying for over 2 years. Though I won’t stop reminding God of my plea, I need to remember and give thanks for the answered prayers. I found love during a stay-at-home pandemic. I found companionship during isolation. I’ve been protected thus far from the virus and any other sicknesses (thank you masks). Somehow, I’ve been able to afford to travel a few times. I’m grateful to God for creating the opportunity to actually travel. It’s definitely a privilege I’m not taking lightly during these times. The more I travel, the less anxiety ridden I am with going outside and congregating during the pandemic. Masks are still very much vital to stopping the spread and getting things back to “normal”. So is avoiding crowded areas, and staying within your social pods. As more vaccines are being rolled out and people just stay diligent, patient and responsible with mitigating the spread, we can start reuniting with ease. I’m looking forward to the trips planned for this year. Hopefully they actually happen lol. And if you are comfortable enough with traveling and are looking for a mellow and simple vacation, I would recommend Siesta Key. This was probably my most restful vacation ever! In the meantime, please continue to stay safe. It’s not just about you…it’s also about others around you.

Much love to you, my readers!!

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