Tag Archives: Vero Beach

Winter People Gone, Time to Plant and Bake.

Some good cruising friends recently commented we had been very quiet. True. But there is a difference between quiet and busy. Basically, we decided to take a year + or – to settle in here before resuming our travels (whatever they may be). We continue to test the social, sailing (incl teaching), art, music, gardening and dining scene here for how we might best engage. In the mean time:

At Move In

At Move In

We have:

  • Dug 70 holes between 1/2 and 3 gallons in damp consolidated (heavy) soil for planting a new color garden on our street front.
  • Planted ~200 plants in those holes — which means intensive watering and feeding to get them established.
  • Stretched, strained and torn some number of muscles as the post-hole digger and I became reacquainted.
  • Carted 900 pounds of that wet, sandy loam from A to B and in some cases back to A, applied three bags of humus among the holes, three bags of additional cypress mulch and laid out 300 pounds of landscape rock.
  • And still have six more gallons of agapanthus plantings to go.
  • And there were the dozen plantings and seven pottings in the back yard which still awaits its focus and accent plantings.
Awaiting Agapanthus

Awaiting Agapanthus

When done that will have taken us from Hawthorn, Ixora, Fig, Jasmine, Oleander and Hibiscus…

Grown In

When Filled In

To Hawthorn, fewer Ixora, Copperleaf, Tropicanna Gold Canna Lilies, Bougainvillea, Agapanthus, Haight Ashbury Hibiscus, fewer peach Hibiscus, fewer Oleander, Cardboard Palm, Snow Bush, Lemon Blush Caladiums, and alternating Green and Aztec Liriope.

In the mean time, I have gone back to experimental bread baking — successfully using onion soup mix to add umami to Ciabatta. More on that in a day or two.

Happy, Clubby Birthday

poloIn 4+ decades as adults, we have dined in many places under many circumstances. Our standard criteria have become “would we serve this to guests, could we have done this better, and were we comfortable?” For us to be pleased it has to be a Yes and a No and a Yes. Polo Grill wins on all counts.

No hunting for the reservation on arrival. Best booth in the place. Service with a club-like pace and grace. Generous pours on the drinks and a better than average selection of wines by the glass. Menu well varied and well complimented by specials.

My included Caesar was available with anchovies, hand cut and culled romaine and at just the right size. My wife’s included iceberg wedge was right sized and she says it had the best blue cheese she could remember.

She had the trout almondine and I the pompano special. The asparagus was crispy, the rice was tender, well seasoned and didn’t overwhelm the plate. The carrots… well I don’t like them so I can’t say. My wife said they were “well flavored.”

Dessert was a complimentary serving of mango sorbet (from a selection). It was delicious, nicely sized and accompanied with a peppermint patty.

Without drinks and appetizers, dinner was under $100 before tip. We enjoyed the place for about 2 hours and never felt pushed to give up the table. All told, after years of dining at Morton’s north-to-south, coast-to-coast, we would give Polo Grill the edge.

Maison Martinique (Caribbean Court Boutique Hotel)

hibiscus-booths-diningWe started the evening in the Havana Night Piano Bar where the comfortable seating was taken, but we still enjoyed it. It was nice to decompress from the 5.4 mile drive from our house in no traffic. (Turn in the second parking lot entrance.)

This was an early Valentines Dinner and we’ll return. Maison Martinique has had some issues lately, but it has them well in the past now. Between us, we had the shaved Brussels sprout salad with bacon vinaigrette, Black lentil soup with chorizo. Duck breast, and a giant (8 oz) lump crab cake with almost zero filler.

We added a nice Cadaretta Sauvignon Blanc. We finished with chunky mango sorbet and a dark chocolate mini-muffin with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. What should have been hot was. All items were freshly flavorful and well spiced. (Our server was surprised when he asked me if I wanted ground pepper for my soup, and I asked him to wait while I tasted it. He said it was something rarely seen!) Now to be a tiny bit picky. I prefer my duck sliced as medallions, this came out as two spears(?). Also, I couldn’t transfer my bar bill to the restaurant. That’s it. I said a tiny bit.

Our friendly, attentive, well-paced server, Daniel was excellent We had a circular high backed banquette, complete with throw pillows, in the Hibiscus room (left above). Essentially it was private dining. What patron and staff traffic there was was discreet. We didn’t feel on display nor annoyed. Altogether a very nice experience.

Give them a try. Maison Martinique opens at 5:00 pm Thursday through Saturday

Whither We Goest?

freq

Blog Posts thru 2014

When we started this blog, our full-time cruising plans were open ended as to all but duration. That, we said would be about 2-3 and then 3-4 years (when we got off to a slow start thanks to the housing market). It has ended up being three, which is where I would have put my money were I a gambler, which I am not.

Would we do it again? Of course. Would we do it differently? Of course. Could we have done it differently? Not really, or we would have. All sorts of factors shaped our cruising. The very best were one another, our boat, Bahamian weather & water. The very worst were much of the ICW and summer marina living.

And now we no longer cruise full time. What does that mean? We live in a very nice house. We travel with a very nice boat. But where?

This part of Florida is not sailboat friendly. We could go up the ICW but we would be in the Chesapeake before we found much sailable water. We can sail offshore to the Keys, where the sailing is offshore and the anchorages are few and the natives don’t like people who prefer to anchor out. Or we could go back to the Bahamas.

Living in a house again, we don’t want to be gone for extended periods. We can’t rationalize the distance, expense, and hassle of the eastern Abacos for just a few weeks at a time. At least with the Keys we could rent a car and come home if need/want be. Also we now live in the “there” a lot of folks are trying to reach each winter. While the Bahamas and the Keys are better than the Chesapeake in winter, They aren’t better than here — except for the constrained sailing here and the clear water there. Perhaps we should winter store our boat in Maine and go there during the hot, humid, lightning-laced* Florida summer. Nah.

We haven’t figured it out yet. It’s not a bad problem to have, but we know we don’t plan to go back to the Bahamas this year. We may give the Keys a try if we can convince ourselves it would be a pleasure not a misadventure (as in rough seas, bad anchorages, official hassles and boat bums).

NLDN CG Flash Density Km 1997-2010

*

Stay tuned.

PS: Interestingly, quite a few of the folks we know who go to the Bahamas each winter are deciding not to this year, opting instead to absolutely pack the local marinas. Even transient docks are being partially blocked by wintering cruisers.

Symphonic Music in Vero Beach

trebleclefFrom childhood we have both loved good music. From arriving in the Washington DC area in 1980, we always had good access to symphonic music. Janet was even a member of the NSO Women’s Committee. We rarely missed an Air Force performance. And so on. When we selected Vero Beach as our land base of operations, we wondered how far we would have to drive north or south to find a good symphony. We feared it might be Jacksonville or much, much worse, Miami/Fort Lauderdale.

The answer is we don’t have to drive, and if we choose to, we don’t have to drive far. Yesterday, we attended the Holiday Performance of the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra’s Wind Ensemble at Vero Beach High School just 2.1 miles from us, 6.1 from Loggerhead Marina and 4.4 from the City Marina.

VBHS PAC

From VBHS PAC Site

First, the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center. This is not a trivial facility. It seats 1000, and with eyes closed, the acoustics are indistinguishable from the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. It also was clean and fresh, not always the case in venues such as this.

Next, The Space Coast Symphony Orchestra. (Aaron Collins, Artistic Director*) Wow! Big Sound, Crisp Sound, Clear Sound, Large enough instrument sections for real nuance in the orchestration and presentation. Sometimes to say people played with enthusiasm is to say they were not so good. In this case, the enthusiasm empowered world class musicianship and musicality. These musicians are there because they want to be, and you can hear the result. We are critical listeners, and from where we sat, there wasn’t a note off, a beat missed, a chair scraped.

The Symphony’s commitment to making music of this composition and performance quality financially accessible to all, especially young people, is great! We can still remember how much we learned from Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts.

And how nice they began with the National Anthem and a recognition of Veterans. It was Pearl Harbor Day after all.

If you are cruising anywhere between Cocoa and Vero Beach, it is worth the time and very modest expense to take in a concert. They perform, among other locations, at:

Please consider making a donation so that the next generation can develop an appreciation for music of this content and caliber.

PERFORMANCE CALENDAR

*30- year old Aaron T. Collins is garnering recognition for his achievements.  In February 2012,  LEAD Brevard named the ambitious Collins one of their “4 under 40” Young Professionals, the youngest-ever recipient of the honor.  Space Coast Business magazine listed him as one of Brevard’s “100 Most Admired Businesspeople” in their April 2012 issue.  Through his personal involvement with more than a dozen performing arts groups, pioneering reciprocal ad program and social media cross promotions, Collins has gained a reputation for generosity; championing other arts organizations throughout Central Florida for the cultural enrichment of the community. (From SCSO website)

Florida Anchoring Meeting, Vero Beach (And the Beat Goes On)

klaxonstrongTonight I attended the FWC hosted Vero Beach meeting on regulatory Concepts for anchoring in Florida. The meeting was well run by Maj Moore of the FWC who was supported by Capt Klein and a staff of non-uniformed personnel. Seven regulatory Concepts were presented with repeated requests throughout the meeting for the attendees to put their thoughts in the comments sections of the questionnaires provided. A similar meeting is scheduled for Bradenton tomorrow evening. A regulated open mike session allowed time for cruisers, other boaters, home owners, members of the boating industry and locality representatives to speak.

The core purpose of the meeting was to provide the FWC access to a broader thought base when developing regulatory alternatives to respond to legislative attempts to return to locally controlled anchoring. While the FWC Anchoring Pilot Program was extended for three years in the last session, there is no reason to believe it won’t come up again this next session.

The elephant in the room issue is a regulatory concept allowing anchoring keep out zones in the vicinity of waterfront residences. The initial language proposes expansive keep out zones which would largely eliminate anchoring in Florida’s most populous and/or geographically constrained waterfront regions — a boon to marina owners and mooring field operators — and quite possibly unconstitutional if not simply illegal.

As is usual in cases like this, the public comment was all over the map. About 75% of the comments were on topic, the rest were either meandering or sales pitches or diatribes of some sort. Some comments were more appropriate to a legislative comment environment. Of the on topic comments, about half were polite rants [actually this was a very polite crowd, considering the potential downside of both legislation and the FWC keep out concept] the other half contained a few useful ideas and raised issues that will likely require a court challenge to ever see settled. Several people spoke in favor of uniformity in application — but several worried one size may not fit all considering Florida’s geographic variety.

About 100 people attended. Roughly a third spoke. A couple of people on both sides of the issue behaved badly, but they failed to ignite audience passion or participation.

I agree with Major Moore. It is better to have this dialog now and concepts in hand when the legislative juggernaut starts up again than it is to respond to proposed legislation with “duh.”

All seven concepts can be found at. http://myfwc.com/media/2847550/anchoring-public-meeting.pdf