Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Scratch Three

We made a list of things that we would like to do/see/visit while we're here and today we crossed off three of them.  

We started by visiting Martha at the Good Ole Days Coffee and Ice Cream Shop in Fisherman's Village.  We met Martha the first winter we were here when we visited the coffee shop several times a week.  She and her husband own a place here but spend summers in Wisconsin.  I had a coffee, Bill had a frappe and we got two oatmeal raisin cookies, which we shared while sitting on one of our favorite swings overlooking the harbor.
After finishing our snack, we checked out the marina to see what was going on there.  Most of the activity in the marina takes place in the afternoon when the fishing boats come in but that doesn't stop some of the fowl from waiting.
adult brown pelicans
juvenile brown pelicans
These three were giving me the hairy eyeball.

Next stop was the Peace River Wildlife Center.  This is a non-profit wildlife rehab and intensive care facility which we have visited several times.  Many of the birds here cannot fly due to damage to their wings and they spend the rest of their lives being cared for at this facility.  There are a number of shore birds, owls, vultures, pelicans and so on.  My favorites are the two bald eagles.  Even injured, they are incredibly majestic.
One of their new additions is a leucistic screech owl, which means it's white, rather than brown.  You can read more about him on their home page at the link above.  Anyway, the bird, called Luna, was born white.  His mom was less than thrilled by that development and threw him out of the nest.  Poor Luna ;o(  Luckily he landed near a walking path, was picked up by a good samaritan and found his way to the PRWC.  Being little and being white, his changes for survival in the wild are small; therefore, he will be staying at the center and becoming an ambass-a-bird.  He is extremely cute.
The pelicans get fed at 2:30 and although we were too early for that, Mac (one of the very knowledgeable volunteers) did talk about some of the birds in the pelican enclosure.
He talked about the difference between the white and brown pelicans. He said the Sandhill Crane is one of the oldest species of birds, ever.
We learned that the Magnificent Frigatebird will drown if it lands on the water and it can fly for days at a time.
AND, I found this years Christmas ornament in the gift shop.
It's only about 3-4" tall, handcarved in Peru and yes! it's got bees on it ;o)

We ate lunch from the Hot Dog Lady at Gilchrist Park, overlooking the harbor.
Our next stop was the Punta Gorda Railroad Depot and antique mall.  We have driven past this structure dozens of times in the past five years and it was finally time to check it out. 
This depot is the only one of six built in the Mediterranean Revival Style that survives.  It was originally built in 1928; the train transported fish and pineapple, along with some passengers.

When restored, the original "white" and "colored" sections were kept intact.
The "white" side contained individual seats, while the "colored" side contained a bench.  Otherwise there wasn't a lot of difference, each side contained restrooms.

The freight area of the building houses the antique mall.  Neither one of us gets all the excited by antiques, but we wandered around, eventually ending up in the ticket office area.  This area housed a miniature town and train, along with other memorabelia.
Although the windows are side by side, one serviced the "white" side and one the "colored" side, as there was a wall seperating them on the other side of the windows.
There were seats available for passengers outside, although I wonder if they were available to everyone or only the "white" clientele, since they were on the "white" side of the building.
"My ship's missing at sea, so I'm waiting for the train instead."
Lastly, we visited the Punta Gorda Nature Park. 
 According to The City of Punta Gorda webpage...The "21 acre park is situated in the center of Punta Gorda Isles neighborhood. The park includes palmetto forest and salt/high marsh habitats which include a multi-use recreational trail and observation deck".  One section of the park is being developed as a garden area by local volunteers and includes a number of topiaries, in their infancy stage.


Sandhill Cranes?
We walked along the trail, which winds around behind one of the fire stations.  When they had a call toned out, it felt kind of weird, bringing back many memories for each of us.  It's very quiet and seems like you are in the middle of nowhere, although you are surrounded by lots of condos and houses.
The path has a lot of markers, providing information about habitat, animals and vegetation, among other things.  
Although we didn't stop to read all of them, we did learn that the armadillo ALWAYS gives birth to quadruplets and they are ALWAYS the same sex.  Information that could be helpful playing Trivia or Jeopardy.

Thanks for stopping by...


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Gallery Walk

On the third Thursday of every month, The Punta Gorda Downtown Merchants Association, Inc. sponsors the Gallery Walk.  It runs from 5 - 8pm, although I thought it ended at 7...duh!  Anyway, it was a spectacular evening, temp near 80, when we headed downtown.  We parked in the garage, which was nearly full and we were on the 4th floor, very unusual.  

We started at Landmark Realty, which not only has been handling the rental of my condo since I purchased it in 2004 but also handles the properties we have been renting for the past four years.  They have the best alcoholic beverages!  Tonight's was some sort of tropical punch ;o)  Most of the vendors offer white or red wine and I'm such a wine connoisseur (try finding that in the dictionary when you have no idea how it's spelled!) that neither of those appeal to me.

Business that participate have a pair of sandals painted on the sidewalk in front of their establishment.
There are art galleries, retail shops, real estate companies and cafes.  Many of the businesses have some sort of musical entertainment, along with snacks and beverages.  New this year was the roving musical group.
They drove around in circles. playing and singing, for three hours.

There is a vacant lot that houses a Vintage Automobile Exhibit.  I found the hood ornaments of special interest.
She reminds me of the bowsprit on a ship but was sitting on this great car "The Blue Moon".
Kind of a futuristic ornament on this beautiful red Buick.
Loved this ram's head! I think it would look good on my RAV.
Another one that was very cool, on a gorgeous Excaliber.
It's for sale and I suggested we would look pretty darn good riding home in it.  However, this is more like what we would be driving...
Lastly, there was a wonderful Indian motorcycle.
There was even a shout out to working out and being fit.
These CrossFit people are EVERYWHERE!

We stopped at the Mom & Pop Pet Shop to say "hi" and see their latest baby birds.  They have done a great job at finding a niche for themselves as they don't just sell dog and cat stuff but they are extremely knowledgeable about birds and only sell ones that have been hand raised.  They even offer "bird sitting" services for people going away on vacation...kind of like a kennel.  They could almost make anyone want to have a bird.

We zipped through the antique shop because it was really hot and we were both sweating, a lot.

Bill waited outside while I checked out the consignment shop.  Nothing in there for me.  I'm about inexpensive low cost cheap used clothes and these were not cheap...$18, $23, $32 and so on.  I will admit, many of them were top of the line clothes, like Chicos and many of them were half price.  Even so, too much for me to spend on someone else's recycled clothing.

Looking forward to next month's alcoholic beverage.

Thanks for stopping by...

Friday, February 14, 2014


because it's Valentine's Day!

There are so many things to love, not just today but every day.  Love your partner, your children, your family, your friends, your pets, the weather, a good book/play/concert to name a few. 

Sending my love to each and every one of you, today and every day, because you are my Valentine!

Thanks for stopping by...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Murals of Punta Gorda...The Life and Times of George Brown

This is a new mural being painted on the historic Charlotte County Court House.  There are murals all over town, many of which have been repainted since Hurricane Charley destroyed them in 2004.  I'm not sure whether this is a brand new one, or a replacement, but it was fun to watch it come together.  The artist, Michael Vires, said the cooler, dry temps were perfect for painting.  There are actually two paintings, side by side, but depending on what time of day we walked by, there was a huge shadow in the other one.
Rough sketch, 1/16/14
Right side, 1/26/14
Left side, 1/26/14
It's pretty amazing how much detail these have considering they are painted on concrete.
Close up, left side, 1/26/14
We assume at this point the murals are complete since they are signed by the artist.
These murals depict the business and community accomplishments of George Brown, a little known African American.

According to the informational paper we picked up...
"Mr. Brown was best known for his very successful business known as Cleveland Marine Steam Ways.  His enterprise provided essential maintenance services to the barge traffic on Charlotte Harbor.  That commerce made possible much of the areas economic growth by providing affordable transport of raw materials/commodities to distant markets. 

...He wiesly hired workers based upon their skills and then...paid both Black and White equally."

The second panel portrays "his strong family values and the sharing of the fruits of his labors with the community.

"This site, on which the Historic Charlotte County Court House stands, is a fitting location for this mural as Mr. Brown sold the land to the newly formed county."  As a side note, the building was severely damaged during Hurricane Charley and there was discussion regarding demolishing it but luckily wise minds prevailed.

This artist has done another mural in town which I really like depicting a cattle drive.

Thanks for stopping by...