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First winter in retirement – Fort Myers, Florida!

WOW!  It’s hard to believe our first winter in Florida is coming to an end.  I shake my head as I wonder why winters in PA never moved this fast?!

Seems like we just arrived here on December 1st and are now set to leave Gulf Waters RV Resort February 21st.  It’s a mix of emotions leaving Gulf Waters Resort.  Sad because we so enjoyed this area and the resort but also excited and ready to restart our adventures.  We’ve met so many great people here at Gulf Waters. Meeting new and different people while exploring the wonders and beauty of North America is one of the added bonuses of being a modern day nomad. 

We will be returning to Gulf Waters next winter to rejoin our new found friends once again!

Aside from meeting new friends in Fort Myers, we also met up with some of our friends from back home who happened to be visiting the area during our stay.  Deb Gordon, Jean and Jeff Redinger, Jim and Vicki Garrett (I believe they think we are stalking them, because we are always somewhere close behind them), Kip and Diane Thornton, Jerry Fair and Audrey and Andy Folmer.  Deb and Jean are former coworkers.  Jim and Vicki and Diane and Kip are our friends and fellow RV’ers  who we met during our one year Twin Grove(Pine Grove) residency.  We spent a day with our friend Jerry who recently moved to Venice, Florida from Harrisburg.  We were also fortunate to meet up with one of our high school friends, Andy, who happens to be married to one of my former managers Audrey (small world). Andy and Audrey live in Fort Lauderdale and were visiting Naples for a few days which made it easy for us to get together.  They were very excited to hear of our RV adventures as they are thinking of RVing at some point as well.

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We took a day trip south to Marco Island to meet up with Carol and George Engstrohm. Carol and George live (during the winter) on Marco Island. We enjoyed a boat ride to lunch and some play time with a few very playful dolphins. The Engstrohm’s are the previous owners of “the Beast”! George was so very happy to see his ole girl.  He loves this truck!  He was waiting for us on his porch when we arrived and let me tell you, George gave that truck an inspection from front to back and everywhere in between.

I think after his inspection George realized we are taking care of “his” truck!  It was a fun and beautiful day! Carol and George are wonderful people and we plan to catch up with them again next winter.

During this our first winter stay and aside from visiting our friends from home, we ventured out to explore and take in what the area has to offer.  But there were also days we did nothing!  Imagine that, us doing nothing!  Yes, it’s hard for me to believe it as well.  We are “learning” to relax.  We read more, go to the pool or just sit outside and take in the warmth and sun.  After working and on the go for so many years we had to learn to “rewire” our inner clock and “rework” our days.  It’s has been challenging from time to time but it is slowly happening and for that we are grateful.  We do maintain some structured time for exercise.  Kevin has taken up pickle ball (and yes, he is behind in putting that article on our website. I will remind him again, but I’m sure he will say he is too busy doing nothing) and I go to Pilates 2 days a week and yoga 1 time a week.  And of course Stella gets her daily walks!

Carol dancing in the New Year!
Fishing Charter – 6 of us caught over 100 fish in 4 hours!

The resort has plenty of events and activities throughout the season. There is the famous New Years Eve party (and other themed parties). Let me just say, these old folk can party hearty! Aside from parties, of which there are many, there are scheduled bike to breakfast days, kayak Tuesdays and Wednesday golf, ladies special day outings, Hump day barbecues and much more.

Kayaking near Sanibel

There is plenty to see and do in the vast area of Fort Myers. To name a few things we did and places we visited are Six Cypress Slough preserve, Lovers Key State park, shelled on Sanibel Island and walked the quirky, artsy town of Matlache off of Pine Island. We went into downtown Ft. Myers historic area for the Friday night music fest.  Found on every street corner is music played by local groups and artists and there are various food and drink establishments throughout.  A very nice set up and an enjoyable evening out.

The Curry House
Duvall street never changes! Something always happening!

Another great attraction in Fort Myers and actually within 3 miles of our resort is a convenient daily ferry service from Fort Myers to Key West called the Key West Express. We made arrangements and took the 4 hour ferry ride and spent two days in Key West. We stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast, The Curry House, had a fabulous dinner at the Thirsty Mermaid and of course made our way around Duval Street.
Prior to heading out to dinner and Duval Street we visited The Key West Cemetery.  It’s a popular attraction not only because of it’s history, but also because of some of the tombstone epitaphs. Like the ones that say: “I told you I was sick” and “I’m just resting my eyes”.  Ah yes, Key West!

So now that we have spent our very first retired winter in southern Florida, Kevin and I now understand why Florida is such an attraction and a haven for retirees.

It’s why we’ll return again next winter.  Not only does it have wonderful weather but there is always something to see and do.  And yes, even if it’s nothing!

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