We had an awesome trip, it was really just perfect. We rented a very nice cottage on the N End, through Island Real Estate. This real estate office offers an early check in (1pm) for $100. This worked well for us since we had an early arrival, so the timing was great. The house was right on the gulf, we stepped off our deck right into the sand! The house has lots of windows...what a view!! We were just north of the Sandbar, so we could walk to Pine Street and the piers. There was construction going on near by, we were worried at first, but in the end it was fine.
Most mornings, my friend and I took a nice run while our (trophy) husbands roamed around and picked up a few things at the store. Once we were all back to the house, we would pack lunch put on our suits and head to the beach. If we forgot anything, it was an easy walk back through the dunes to the house. The weather was 75 - 80 degrees with no humidity. The water seemed to get warmer every day. It was clear and a gorgeous turquoise green. A few days we saw dolphins feeding just a few feet from the shore.
We had an excellent breakfast at Rod & Reel and an awesome lunch at Duffy's. Oh the guys love Duffy's!!! They discovered it one day while roaming around. They were so excited to tell us the bill only came to $30 bucks and they each had 4 beers and a hot dog. :) So we all went for burgers the following day. We sat at the bar and met the ladies who own the place, really nice women. The burgers were awesome and the beer is served in chilled mugs. Yummy!! We walked the beach to the Sandbar for frozen drinks a couple of times, what's not to like about that?? One night we went to Island Time and had snacks at the bar and danced some, very fun! Our favorite dinner was at the Waterfront Restaurant, excellent food and service. We also enjoyed a dinner at Eat Here. Service at both restaurants was exceptionally good. We ate at Mar Vista in Longboat Key, one night, it was disappointing. We waited an hour for a table, which wasn't too bad, it's a lovely location. But the service was poor and one meal wasn't served, the rest of us shared and just cancelled the missing entree. Food was mediocre. As we were driving over to LK, the traffic coming into AMI was unbelievable. But by the time we headed back it was fine. We grilled steaks one night and on another evening the guys prepared fish they bought over in Cortez. So we also had a few wonderful meals at the house. Most lunches were on the beach, including prepared sandwiches from Publix, that were excellent.
On our last day, our departure wasn't until 9pm, so (with a tear in my eye) we headed over to Pass-a-Grill for the day. We had drinks at the roof top bar at Hurricane and lunch at Paradise Grill. I fell in love with Pass a Grill again! Great spot, with a great vibe.
For me the highlights were the amazing sunsets, and I just love the "flora and fauna"... not to mention the glorious weather!
Thanks for the spot-on advice. I kept asking my husband to promise me...we would return...and we will.