Non-Beach, Beach Sunsets

While I love watching the sunset ( or sunrise ) on the regular beach like every other person…

IMG_4935

…there are some great places around the Bradenton/Anna Maria area that have some pretty spectacular alternatives, and they’re pet friendly too! Skip the crowds and watch the clouds change colors with views that stretch all the way from Anna Maria to St. Pete and the Skyway Bridge.

First there is De Soto National Memorial Park. I go here all the time with Keen…

6X0A0619

There are often other dogs running around, so he gets a little social time (Not that he really cares for it. He’s kind of a snob.) It’s much safer than the causeway, because you are nowhere near any roads, just the bay! Plus there’s a lovely boardwalk…

IMG_7472

And plenty of places to catch a beautiful sunset..

6X0A1533

Best sunset watching spot in De Soto goes to the built up embankment near the visitors center. There are several benches so you can comfortably watch the show….

IMG_7488

The major perk that this park has over the others: History. There are several monuments, a visitors center and events/reenactments, from various time periods, held here all year.

Next up is Robinson Preserve. Robinson is surprisingly large. You wouldn’t think there was enough space in Northwest Bradenton for a park this big, but apparently there is since it totals 637 acres. You can rent kayaks or a canoe and there are extensive running and biking trails…

IMG_7897

Boardwalks…

IMG_7898

… and some of the best birdwatching in Bradenton. I’ve seen everything from Spoonbills to Bald Eagles…

6X0A0276

Best spot to watch the sunset in Robinson goes to the watch tower…

IMG_7923

Robinsons best perk is it’s size. You can spend hours walking and not cover the same trail twice.

Lastly, is a tiny park on Anna Maria called “Leffis Key.” I’ve lived in this area my entire life, but I didn’t know this place existed until I signed up for a beach cleaning group. This park is definitely the smallest of the three, but still has a boardwalk…

6X0A5353

and great bird watching…

6X0A5325

(I know it’s just a pigeon, but I still love that picture)

What really makes this place special is the hill in the center of the park. By Florida standards it could almost be a mountain..

6X0A5345

From this spot, and a second peak on the same hill, you can get a 360 degree panoramic view of the best sunsets and sunrises that Florida has to offer. Definitely the best spot in the park.

6X0A5331This park is easy to miss, so what little Leffis Key holds over the others, is privacy. You will almost always be the only one taking advantage of the views that the hill baby Florida mountain provides.

I couldn’t pick a favorite, because they all have their perks, so you should really just check them all out. Let me know what you think!

Things To Come…

I realize I have posted A LOT about the Keys lately, but my horizons will be expanding once again, shortly. Here is a list of a few things coming up over the next few months or so…

Travely things…

Map copy

First, in November, I’ll be headed to London for the World Travel Market! This will be my first time at WTM and first time in London. I’m definitely excited for both! I know lots of adventures with new friends await, and that’s just the beginning. After London, I’ll be headed over to the Netherlands via a short stay Brussels. At least that’s the plan for now. After a couple weeks in the Netherlands, it’s back to London for (hoisting my inner nerd flag) the Doctor Who 50th Celebration! It took waking up at 5 AM and struggling for about 45 minutes to get through for tickets the day they went on sale, but my diligence was rewarded and I have a ticket to the (now sold out) event!

Marathon

Since leaving Nashville in May, I have done almost nothing but think about how I can justify a trip back. *Enter the Music City Rock ‘n Roll Marathon* Granted, the race isn’t until April, but at least now the dates are set! I intended to only sign up for the half marathon, but my running buddy signed up for the full. I’m not sure if my competitive nature or peer pressure is to blame, but regardless of the reasoning behind it, I am officially signed up for my first marathon, 26.2 grueling miles. What have I gotten myself into?? Actually, as far as marathons (aka running over 26 miles, in one shot… on purpose) go, this seems to be a pretty cool one. There are supposed to be bands at every mile playing live music, and then a big free concert afterwards. The race benefits St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, so that’s pretty cool too. It also gets me back to Tennessee. What more could I want?

More fitnessy things..

Bad Prom

In March, there’s another pretty awesome race happening in my area, and I’m really looking forward to this one. It’s only a 5k and it’s called the “Bad Prom Run.” You find one of your old prom dresses or something terrible from a thrift store, a group of your funnest friends, run/walk a couple miles and then have a big party after. Sounds like a good time to me!

DIYs..

I’m almost done with the interior of my Dome Top Steamer Trunk, I’m pretty excited to have that beast finished. I’ve also got a few other things thing in the works, but I don’t want to say too much. Spoilers! Between what I’ve got lined up for myself and friends, and all the estate sales/thrift stores that are calling my name There are plenty of project posts on the way.

Personals..

– turning 25 (since when am I a quarter of a century old?)

-finishing my undergraduate schooling

-applying for graduate school aka lots of stress

If you’re looking for live updates in real time on any of those events, I’m talking to you Doctor Who fans, be sure to follow me on any of the various social media platforms… facebook, instagram, vine, twitter… @CorneliaJoy! If you have any suggestions for London/Brussels I would really appreciate hearing them!

Beautiful.

20130502-133800.jpg

I just left the memorial service for George Jones. The whole thing was completely overwhelming and full of beautiful music. Take a look at that lineup. A more complete post will follow but I wanted to give a little preview..

Shamrock Run 2013 & St. Patty’s Day Party

It’s official! I just signed up for the 2013 (1st annual?) Bradenton Shamrock 5k run! If you haven’t signed up yet, you should! There’s discounted registration until March 11, but it’s only $30 after that which isn’t bad either.

Shamrock

You can sign up online here. If you do online registration it costs an additional $3 something. If you’re cheap like me, you can fax it in an avoid that fee. Irish or not, hope to see you there!