Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Anna Maria Island, Florida - Amazing Water Views

The wifey and I took a weekend getaway to Anna Maria Island, which is in the general Tampa vicinity, about 30 minutes south.  We really love the Tampa/Sarasota area and everything in between, specifically the abundance of water and ways to take advantage of the views.  They have so many waterfront restaurants, bars, parks, beaches and navigable waterways there and in most of the areas the water is perfectly clear and has that bright/light blue color you usually only see in the Caribbean.  Each time we visit we find a new area we love and this trip was no exception.

We stayed on Anna Maria Island at the Bridgewalk.  We had never been to the Island before and we were very pleasantly surprised with how beautiful it was there.  The wifey has always liked how clear the Gulf water is on that side of the state, but we had never seen such blue water other than certain areas of the Florida Keys and the Caribbean.  The highlight was an area called Bean Point, which is the northern most part of Anna Maria Island, we read about that as one of the top attractions for the area on Trip Advisor. 

It is rare that something lives up to the hype of positive reviews, but OMG...what a view from that location.  That is where the Gulf of Mexico meets Tampa Bay and you get a 270 degree view that rivals anything I've ever seen before in print or in person.  The first 3 pictures below are from that area.  Honestly, after walking around there for 30 minutes or so, all I could still manage to say was 'WOW, this is really amazing'.  These types of views are exactly what we travel to places like the Dominican Republic or Mexico to see, but after seeing this view we both agreed there is no need to go to the Caribbean when we have views like this 4 hours away!

At that spot, with that view, I had one of those epiphany type moments where something just clicks.  The wifey has dropped hints, some subtle, most not so subtle, over the last few years that the Tampa area really suits our desired lifestyle much more than where we currently live now.   I'd always agreed, but never really pursued things much further.  That all changed at that moment.  When we saw that view, it really began to sink in.  Since one of our favorite things in the whole world is to just sit and take in views like this and with nothing that comes close to that in our area and with so much more to do and enjoy there, it was time to come up with a plan to move that way. 

Since our longer term goal has always been to live on or near the water with some sort of water view, why wait around.  We're not getting any younger and there is really no reason to do it later rather than sooner.  We're not going to stick a for sale sign up in the yard today, but we're thinking more of a 2 year plan.  Our goal will be to start preparing, researching, saving up $ and putting a plan in place to meet our goal/timeline.

We think we have a general idea of where we'd like to live, which is the area from Madeira Beach up to Belleair Beach.  That is the general area we'll be researching and we're thinking we would like to rent either a condo or home on the inland waterways within walking distance to the gulf beaches.  Something similar to the pictures at the bottom.  We went down lots of side streets and took lots of pictures on our way home to help visualize our goals and help to make them a reality!

During the next 2 years we would visit a bit more and look to rent a place or two for a few days in the interested areas to get a better feel for how things really are at different times of the year.  Since the wifey has limited time off and it's all already scheduled or used up for this year, we're thinking we could use the time around Xmas to check things out and maybe the family could all meet up there as well!

We're excited about this new adventure and looking forward to seeing how things begin to unfold.  Have you been to the area we're speaking of?  Do you have any fond memories of certain places in the area, any suggestions/tips?  Would love to hear them!


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