ridin’ around town

I got in a car accident. That sucked. But then we got this rental car. That did not suck. I’m pretty sure Liam feels like his life is now fulfilled. And the weather happened to be 70 and sunny. In January. Score!

(We had actually reserved a convertible when we went to Oregon this summer. We had really talked it up with the kids, but when we got to the car rental place they did not have any in. The kids were super disappointed.)

 

 

Call the tooth fairy!

This boy lost his first tooth. He has been telling me it’s loose for several months now, but I never really believed him. I never looked closely because loose teeth gross me out. Plus, I thought he’s too little. And by “little” I mean young… I mean he’s my baby! And now his teeth are falling out! Wahhhh! Someone stop the clock! I’m not ready!

He let Daddy yank it out. Easy as pie.

Manatees and the beach

We are totally taking advantage of the three day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend with a little family trip. We have wanted to camp at Manatee State Park in Florida for a while, but I did not realize how hard it would be to book a campsite. We were way too late in our planning to secure a campsite so we decided to stay in a little Inn on Cedar Key, a tiny island off the coast. The trip was amazing! Cedar Key is tiny and remote. We biked the whole island over and over again. We sat and watched amazing sunsets together and gorged ourselves on the best donuts ever! It is a quaint little fishing town where everyone knows everyone and no one locks their doors. We loved it!

We spent one day at Manatee State Park. This was super fun! The park is part of the protected warm springs area in Florida. The water stays in the mid seventies year round so the manatees swim in during the cold winter months to keep warm. Unfortunately it has not been cold enough yet this year for them to be in the springs. We did rent a canoe and got to see two manatees migrating from the river towards the springs. It was so awesome! We sat in the canoe and just watched the first one we spotted for a good 30 minutes. The water from the springs to the river is crystal clear so he was easy to spot and watch. The second one we spotted was cruising out of the channel from the springs back to the river. We canoed right along side him for a few minutes before he really took off. This was by far one of the coolest things we have done as a family.

After canoeing we changed and swam in the springs. The water is an amazing blue color and the the place where we were swimming was the opening to an underground cave system that goes 90 feet underground. There were a lot of scuba divers checking out the cave systems. They say when it gets really cold out there can be as many as 300 manatees huddled together in the springs where we were swimming!

 

 

 

 

 

Manatee Springs State Park

Manatee Springs State Park

Swimming & Canoeing with the Manatees

For an adventure you’ll never forget, try canoeing / kayaking and swimming with the manatees!  If you come to Manatee Springs State Park during the right time of year, you can do that.  The springs keeps the water above 70 degrees year-round, so in the winter, the manatees find their way up to the springs to keep warm.  You can rent a canoe or kayak to roam around the springs as it enters the Suwanee River.  Explore the banks for baby alligators, turtles, snakes, birds… and of course in the springs our friendly sea cows, the manatees.

Cedar Key, FL

Cedar Key, FL

Quaintest Little Beach Town

Places where everyone knows your name and no one locks their doors do exist.  At least in Cedar Key, FL.  We found a real escape from the hustle of the city mixed with beautiful beach sunsets and quite, salty air.  It’s not a very commercialized place, so you won’t find a Walmart, half the restaurants are cash only, and the motels here still use real keys (not those magnetic keycards).

Bring Your Bikes

Most people on the island prefer to walk or bike, and if you bring your bikes, you’ll find it a lot of fun riding around the beach town streets.  We rode our bikes around the whole island – probably the best way to explore the place.

Eat at Holey Moleys

From 7 am – 2 pm Holey Moleys serves some of the best donuts, along with cubans, wraps, and other sandwiches.  Be sure to stop for some gourmet donuts at some point on your trip.

Staying at Cedar Key Inn

You might say we are accustom to certain Hotel standards (maybe a little bit of Hotel Snobs), so staying in an older-style beach motel with an outdoor entrance and a real key (not a keycard) took a little getting use to.  But the fact that the motel is pet-friendly and they were very accommodating made our stay much better.  If you come to Cedar Key, you won’t find a fancy hotel.  Don’t come for the hotel.  Come for the beauty of this quaint little beach town and you will love the area.