January 20, 2013

January 16-19, 2013 Day 250-253
Venice Yacht Club, Venice, FL
Total miles to date: 4432.1

We left Sarasota at 9:30am on Wednesday and headed to Venice, a trip of just over 17 miles, under a sunny sky and with a calm sea! We planned to make a reservation at a local marina, but when Paul called his cousin, John to make arrangements to see him, John suggested we might stay at the Venice Yacht Club where he is a member.  We arrived at 12:30 and John and his wife Pam stopped to visit the four of us on Carried Away and then invited us to have lunch with them at the club.  They were also so kind to lend us their car while we were there! 

Dinner at Sharky's with Kathy & Paul, and Pam & John
Many colorful turtles line the streets
of downtown Venice!
We drove to the lovely downtown of Venice and walked through many shops. Venice is an historic town and does not have big hotels lining the beachfront. It has many parks, bike paths, good beach access, and tree lined streets.  Colorful turtles adorn the street corners in the shopping area.  We felt very comfortable here!

We went back to the club with Kathy and Paul and once again met John and Pam, this time for happy hour. From there we all went to dinner at Sharky’s, a local seafood favorite on the beach. The grouper was perfect!
The next day we did some more shopping and then had our boating friends Lisa and Ron (who live in Venice) over for docktails.  We first met them in Canada last summer and it was good to see them again. We plan to travel with them next summer in Canada.  We went out to dinner with them and had great seafood!

On Friday, we drove to Fort Myers and toured the winter estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Edison’s home (that he designed) was built in 1885 and his family enjoyed their winter visits there until 1947. Ford purchased his home in 1916 so he could be near his friend and mentor. The trees on the property are plentiful and are all identified. The banyan trees continue to amaze us!  We also saw lime, grapefruit, papaya, mango, bamboo, and many types of palm trees.  Edison used many of the trees for his experiments.   Edison, Ford, and Harvey Firestone formed the Edison Botanic Research Corporation in 1927 to support their efforts to produce a fast growing domestic source of natural rubber.  We left the Edison and Ford Estates and had lunch near the Legacy Marina.  (We will return here by boat next week.)  From there we drove to Punta Gorda and went to a gallery of local artists and craftsmen. We found a nice piece of pottery to take back to Carried Away. This shop is next to the Laishley Park Marina where we will also return by boat next week. We returned to Venice early to meet John and Pam, who joined us on our boat for docktails.   

Kathy and Paul had to leave us on Saturday morning and return to Atlanta.  (Paul’s cousin John drove them back to Bradenton Beach to pick up their car.)  It was so hard to say goodbye!  It was wonderful having them join us. We had such a fun time boating, visiting museums, shopping, and just visiting with each other! We also had fun playing cards at night!  Paul spoiled us by fixing breakfast one morning! Kathy and Paul are wine enthusiasts and brought some very nice bottles of wine with them which we thoroughly enjoyed.  They have raised our standards!  We look forward to having them join us again in the future. 

Saturday afternoon Lisa and Ron picked us up and took us back to their home for a delicious lunch.  We were happy to play with their dog Gizmo, who we had fun with last summer on their boat!  After lunch, we spent some time discussing the boating trip to Canada next summer. The plan is to do the Down East Loop together which will take us east from Montreal to Quebec City to Nova Scotia and down the east coast of the US.  Ron and Lisa generously drove us to a couple of stores to finish provisioning the boat. They also drove us to the beach before taking us back to our boat.

Saturday night was spent planning our route for the next few days as we will leave Venice on Sunday morning.  We have thoroughly enjoyed our visit here in this lovely beach community, seeing old friends and making new friends and sharing it all with Joyce’s sister and brother-in-law!