Thursday, September 22, 2011

Back from the Beach

(Click on any photo to view a larger size)

This was our year for Florida.  We usually go to Panama City Beach every other year, and would love to move there (dream on.)  We drive and stop by our favorite junk and antique stores on the way.

I recently read a few good reviews about the Mobile Flea Market so we stopped there this trip, but it was pretty awful.  At the first booth I found a rusted lamp piece with beautiful turquoise glass, a cute jar (to paint inside as seen in the latest issue of GreenCraft) and rusted keys, but it was all downhill from there.  There were so many animals for sale - a HUGE turnoff for me - and almost everything was new and trashy. We walked through one pavillion and a few outdoor booths and left.  Never again.
We always stop at Mr. Bill's in Mobile. He was recently featured on Picker Sisters. We spend about an hour there going through all the buildings and always leave with treasures.  This trip I found these old French documents, some pretty buttons and an old rhinestone buckle.

The DH found a couple of things, too, including an old drive-in movie speaker that he'll display on his 1939 Chevy when it's finished. People use them at car shows to add a bit of interest.

We've been staying at the same small family-owned beachfront motel for the last ten years. The Flamingo Motel staff is very friendly, the rooms are clean and inexpensive, and they have kitchens and a balcony. We stay in the "tower" which is the newest building in the complex. We just go down the stairs, through the breezeway and across the pool deck, and we're on the beach.  There are so many huge new condo buildings there, but we're not really the condo type. They're beautiful, but I wouldn't want to walk through the lobby in my swimsuit.  Ya know?  And we can park just across the street and not in a huge parking garage - much quicker access for our daily treks to shop, eat or see a movie. Of course, with the new Pier Park complex within walking distance of the hotel, we don't have to drive as much as before. Unless we're feeling really lazy.

This was the view from our balcony the evening we arrived and the morning we left.

And we saw some version of this every day. The weather was beautiful the entire week, with only a few storm clouds to the west one evening.

We usually see dolphins, but this year we walked out on the pier just before sunset and got a much closer look.  Can you see the jumping dolphin, below and to the right of the setting sun?
We also saw a large group of stingrays as we were walking back along the pier toward the beach.  Some of them looked to be four to five feet across, and they're so graceful!  We counted twelve altogether. You can't see them very well in this pic as it was getting dark and all I had was my iPhone.

We drove to Mexico Beach and Apalachicola one day. There are always better shells at Mexico Beach than anywhere else we've looked, and we also found several nice pieces of driftwood. We had lunch at Boss Oyster in Apalach, seated outside where the gulls get to watch you eat and you get to watch the fishing boats.  There were several fun shops in the downtown area.  We bought a pretty bowl from a local potter. It now resides on our buffet and holds a piece of coral and a small piece of driftwood.
As hard as I try to not buy more Basset Hound figurines, sometimes I just can't help myself. The DH spotted this one in the gift shop at Angelo's Steak Pit. I debated and walked away, and then the saleslady informed us that this particular brand was on sale for 20% off, with a 25% shop-wide discount on top of that. So...this little guy now resides with my others. Really, who could resist that face?

Florida isn't the best place for vintage shopping. There aren't a lot of shops, and the prices are exhorbitant compared to what we're used to.  I was able to pick up several things in Louisiana and Texas as we made our way home.  Here are a few of the things I bought. Some may end up in my Etsy shop (hope to debut October 1) but some will be staying with me.

Our niece and her husband (and their two dogs) stayed with Henry and Georgia while we were gone (Thanks, Kimberly and Robert!)  The pups were glad to see us, but after the initial excitement at our return, they've been giving us these looks a lot.
That's it for vacation 2011. Sorry for the long post, but I hope you enjoyed the photos. You should visit PCB sometime - really!  It's SOOOO relaxing! Imagine yourself here: