First let me say, Honeymoon planning is stressful. It shouldn't, but it is. Deciding on a place is half the battle. There are so many places I want to visit in my life and I know that I will never make it to all of them. So when faced with the opportunity for to plan a vacation, I feel like my head bounces from one location to the next.
The second half of the battle is affording a honeymoon. Staying at all-inclusive hotels in the Caribbean is not cheap and neither are plane tickets - especially when you are also saving up to pay for a wedding.
Lucky for us, these two dilemmas were easily taken care of with the generosity of family members.
The hubby's Aunt and Uncle offered up their vacation home in Longboat Key, and we pounced on their offer. Longboat Key is a little island minutes away from Sarasota on the Gulf side of Florida.
(All photos in this post are personal unless otherwise noted)
The place was absolutely amazing! Gated community, huge bedrooms, fully-equipped kitchen, beach chairs and umbrellas, access to a private beach. We were totally game!
We flew into Tampa the morning after the wedding, grabbed our rental car, and headed out to Longboat key. I thought the ride over the Sunshine Skyline Bridge in Tampa was cool, although I am not sure the hubby enjoyed it as much as I did: He is somewhat afraid of bridges.
We settled into the house and then headed out to grab some out at the Old Salty Dog. I had seen it featured on the travel channel for it's Dog Bites (Deep Fried Hot Dog Bites), and I couldn't resist. Hey, it was my vacation!
(Picture Source - I ate them too quickly to snap a picture of my own!)
On Day 2 we headed to the beach for some much needed relaxation. There was barely anyone on the private beach - we were totally VIPs. We napped, listened to music, read, swam a bit in the ocean, you know... typical beachy stuff.
When the late afternoon rain started to roll in we headed to St. Armand's Square, a fun shopping center in Sarasota. I wish all shopping centers had palm trees and Ben and Jerry's. We had a blast shopping around the stores for fun t-shirts and souvenirs:
Getting stranded in an art gallery while the rain floods all the streets:
Enjoying happy hour and a yummy dinner at Cha Cha Coconuts (very tropical dishes included mangoes and plantains):
We loved St. Armand's Square and probably went there at least every day either for dinner or to get free Wi-Fi at Starbucks (hey don't judge - we needed to update our facebook "status" and check on all the pictures people uploaded from the wedding!). It also had a younger crowd and was open later; Longboat Key gas stations and stores closed at about 8pm which isn't nice when you are craving a soda at 9pm.
For the next part of the honeymoon we traveled out a little farther past Sarasota. Part II coming soon ....