Quiet Days in Cortez, then Wedding Bells

Cortez, FL

It has been a while since our last post, but we really haven’t done much during our stay along the Gulf of Mexico (except for one big activity during the last week of December, more on that later).  We did manage to get in a daily walk along the beach or bike ride around nearby Anna Maria Island (followed by a stop at one of those chain coffee houses).

Walking the Gulf on Anna Maria Island

John did fit in some preventive maintenance on the roof during our stay

We did enjoy a couple of visits with former colleagues of John’s from his working days.  Brian Cashman was the high school principal at the end of John’s long tenure as a middle school principal.  Brian was willing to take a chance on an old teacher when John asked to return to the classroom for the last few years of his career.  Brian and his wife, Judy, have moved to nearby Parrish, FL so we invited them to join us for lunch at nearby Star Fish Seafood.  Judy was not feeling well that day, but we met again the next week in downtown Bradenton so we could visit with her.

Brian and John exchange stories from the good old days

That same week we found out that Jill Ellis, a former teaching colleague of John’s, was staying with her husband, Jamie, and daughter, Paige, on nearby Longboat Key for a few days.  We had a very nice lunch with them at a restaurant in St. Armand’s Circle.  Jill has made this blog a couple of times previously as they now live in Indianapolis and we have stopped there twice as we passed through on our travels east or west.

Jill, Jamie, and Paige

Our slow paced stay in Cortez began to pick up speed on Christmas Day when our daughter, Jessica, arrived at Tampa Airport with her fiance, Dan, and his daughter, Ella.

Welcome to Florida!

During our visit to York, PA in September, Dan popped the question.  This allowed for some intensive planning sessions and the scheduling of a small wedding at the beach on Anna Maria Island.  The timing and location were perfect for the week after Christmas since we were already going to be in that area and Dan’s parents, Paul and Janice, recently purchased a winter home in Ft. Myers, just a hundred miles to the south.  The night before the ceremony the wedding party enjoyed a nice dinner at The Waterfront in the village of Anna Maria.

The next day was “Showtime” on the beach at the end of White Avenue on Anna Maria Island.

Proud Papa escorts the bride out to the beach


The ceremony begins

Following the exchange of vows the wedding party moved to the shore for the Blessing Stones tradition.  In this tradition, which can replace the throwing of rice, each party made a silent wish for the new couple and threw a stone into the surf as a symbol of the wish.

Next, Jessica, Dan, and Ella completed the “Blending of the Sands” ceremony, an  alternative to the ” Unity Candle” ceremony.  Like a Unity candle the pouring of different colored sands together is used to symbolize the joining of the three as one family.

Blending of the Sands

We did it!

The wedding package included a photographer (you had to give her back after the wedding) but we knew we didn’t want to wait for her to send us the photos (Must be able to immediately post to Facebook!) so we asked our good friends, David and Karen, (Cody’s owners parents) if they would take a couple of pictures with our phone.  David took photos with our phone and Karen made a video with Jessica’s phone that she will play at a reception they will hold for friends in the middle of January back in York, PA.  We asked both of them to put down the phones and join the wedding party for a photo.

David, John, Pam Karen, Jessica, Dan, Ella, Janice, and Paul

They both did a great job recording the entire event.  In fact, David took almost all the wedding photos in this post.  Many thanks to both of them !

The Scott family begins their new journey

Following the ceremony and photos along the shore we headed for a reception dinner at the Sign of the Mermaid, an eclectic little restaurant on the island just a few miles north of the beach.

The Scotts just outside the Sign of the Mermaid

This small restaurant is located in an old (1913) beach cottage.  It looks a bit run down (we loved the atmosphere) but the food and the service were both outstanding.

Our table is ready (Pam made all the table decorations)

First champagne toast for the new couple

Following the dinner Dan and Jessica headed to Sarasota in our Jeep to enjoy a few days together at a hotel along Sarasota Bay.   Our son, Kevin, had planned to use his pilot status to catch a flight to Sarasota from Atlanta to attend the wedding.  But with all the bad weather in the north, the many flight cancellations and delays caused a backup and all flights south filled up.  But he was able to get a flight later in the week and joined us for an overnight stay.  The three of us (John, Pam, and Kevin) met Dan and Jessica at a restaurant in Sarasota and enjoyed a lunch together (forgot to take a photo!) before Kevin returned to the airport and we drove the newlyweds south half way to Ft. Myers.  We met Dan’s parents there and they took the newlyweds (and Ella) to the airport in Ft. Myers for a return flight home.

We took advantage of our last few days in Cortez to relax with a few bike rides and, of course, a visit to one of those chain coffee shops.  David and Karen often rode to Starbucks with us, but our last day David drove over in the car which allowed our good friend, Cody, to join us.

OK, where’s my drink?

Guess the conversation was a bit boring!

Our stay in Holiday Cove RV Resort ended on New Year’s Day and our plan was to head north to Tallahassee and turn west.  But first we need to stop back in Hudson, north of Tampa, for another visit to Suncoast Designers.  If you read the last blog, you may remember that we stopped there for a week in November to have our windows repaired.  One day early in our Cortez stay Pam looked up at the small window by the kitchen area of the motorhome and discovered that the inside pane of one side of the window had cracked into a series of spiderwebs.

That doesn’t look good!

We immediately called Suncoast and scheduled an appointment for January 3rd during our drive back north.  They will replace the glass and reseal four windows that leaked during a downpour we experienced in Cortez.  Suncoast was highly recommended to us by a number of people because of their excellent work.  Well, we must have caught them on a bad day in November as they damaged a number of small areas around the windows during the re-installation.  We have already shared our dissatisfaction with Suncoast and will show them the damaged areas during our “re-visit.”

Once the window is fixed we will head north to the Florida panhandle and begin moving west.  After several stops along the way, we will be spending February in Tucson.  More on that later . . .

Goodbye Florida!

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40 Responses to Quiet Days in Cortez, then Wedding Bells

  1. Sue says:

    Thanks for more pictures of the wedding and John’s narration. I loved Ella’s pink dress, she looked like a little angel! The throwing of stones picture is hilarious! It sounds like you had a fine time in Florida with friends you don’t get to see often. I hope your window re-repair is satisfactory and that you’re on the road now, and heading west! See you soon.

    • Debbie L says:

      Wow, I’m glad I found this! I’m so behind on many of my favorite bloggers posts. What a beautiful wedding! Your daughter was radiant, Ella so precious and a handsome groom! It looked like the weather was perfect, too!
      We’re finally close to Tampa, staying in Zephyrhills. Bill wanted to avoid the traffic while driving the motor home. Sorry we missed the opportunity to meet up with you. One day….

  2. Jim and Barb says:

    It does not look like you had too much quiet time, it looks like you were busy visiting and with wedding activities. The wedding looked wonderful, congratulations!

  3. Beautiful wedding and you both look great. Safe travels.

  4. Sheila says:

    Congratulations to your beautiful daughter. I wish her and her new family the very best. Beautiful place for a ceremony.

  5. What a beautiful wedding! I love the blending of the sand tradition. It’s been a few years since we were there but we love Anna Maria.

  6. montanaclarks says:

    What an absolutely perfect wedding–weddings these days are out of control–Jessica and Dan did it just right! Thanks for sharing the photos!

  7. Gay says:

    It was a beautiful wedding! Jessica, Dan and Ella look so happy!
    It’s a good thing the issues with the windows happened while you were still there. I’m hoping everything is all good now and you are on your way. Safe travels and see you in February. Will you be at Lazydays KOA again?

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Gay! It was a picture perfect day for a sunset, beach wedding. We were so lucky with the weather. We now have new glass in our window and all the leaks are fixed. We are on the road!! Yes, we will be at Lazydays KOA from Feb 8 – March 8. See you, Joe, and my little furry friends soon:)

  8. libertatemamo says:

    What a gorgeous wedding! Perfection!


  9. Maxxtrails says:

    Congratulations, the pictures are beautiful and it looks like it was the perfect wedding … beautiful location! What a bummer about the windows, I sure hope they get them fixed properly this time!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks so much:) It was a perfect day for a sunset beach wedding. Our window was repaired and the leaking windows taken care of so we are now in Alabama! Finally heading west:)

  10. So, so happy the weather was perfect – it was a beautiful wedding with fun and lovely traditions. I especially love the pic of John and Jessica. That Cody is such a cutie! At this rate you’re going to catch up with us, we’re now delayed ’til Friday as the part won’t arrive before then. Since we’ll miss the snow in Pittsburg we’re trying to maintain the happy faces :-))))

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Jodee! It was a perfect day in every way:) Cody is a special little guy. He is struggling with where we went since we were right across from him for six weeks. We’ve made it to Alabama!! Maybe we’ll catch you yet.

  11. I wonder what John wished for the couple for he is the only one that made a lot of exertion!
    Lovely wedding by the beach, the wedding planner paved the way for a beautiful perfect beach wedding. Jessica, Dan and Elle looked radiant and happy.

  12. Laurel says:

    Such a beautiful wedding and a lovely, meaningful ceremony! Everyone looks so radiant, happy, and relaxed. Hope all goes well with your window repairs. Westward Ho!! :-))

  13. What a wonderful outdoor wedding! Congrats to the happy family!

    Cody’s under bite is a crack up!

    We will be in a Tucson for about a week. We’ll be staying at Justin’s or Desert Trails on 2/18. Looking forward to seeing you guys!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Lisa! It was perfect weather for a sunset beach wedding:) Cody’s underbite adds to his charm:) We arrive in Tucson on Feb 8. It will so nice to see you and Hans again. It has been way too long:)

  14. Sherry says:

    What a wonderful wedding! Such a perfect place and intimate gathering. Love the picture of John and Jessica coming down “the aisle”. Love the wonderful rocks rather than rice and the sand blending. So nice to have traditions, new or old. Congratulations to the new family. So sorry we couldn’t hook up with you while you were in Florida. We’ve just gotten to the Tampa area and you are gone. Hope all goes well in Hudson. We had heard very mixed reviews of people having to return for various problems so we went to Darren Thomas. Hope this is the last problem you have with Hudson. Safe travels out west. Wish we could come. Will be following your route and dreaming. If you give specifics, perhaps we’ll follow your route one day since you are an expert on Florida to the West.

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Sherry! It was a beautiful day and very nice ceremony:) Sorry our timing was a little off to meet. All went well with getting a new pane in the window and recaulking the leaking windows. Hopefully, that will be our last visit there. We are now in Alabama!

  15. Colleen says:

    Nice post. You both look like you are enjoying life. Congrats on the wedding and new family members. Great pictures.

  16. Beautiful, simple wedding. I am so out of touch. Never heard of Blessing Stones, Unity Candles or Blending of the Sands.
    Too bad about your windows. Luckily we have had several really heavy rains with no leaks as far as we can tell, but then we only had 3 repaired.
    Not sure if we’ll make Tucson while you’re there. Where are you heading after that?

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Gayle! Don’t worry, I had never heard of the Blessing Stones or Blending Sand either:) I guess the beach wedding is a whole different ceremony! Window is repaired and all leaks are fixed…we hope! Thank goodness we had a severe rainstorm in Cortez so our windows got a good test to show us the leaks. When we leave Tucson on March 10th, we are heading to White Tank for five nights. From there we don’t any reservations until Bluff, UT and Moab in April.

  17. pmbweaver says:

    Gorgeous header photo.
    How nice to be able to meet up with so many very good friends.

    I love looking at the wedding photos. What a gorgeous day for a beautiful bride. I love the Blessing Stones tradition and Blending of the Sands. Never heard of either of these. Y’all sure did you homework for this beach wedding. Excellent job by Dan and Karen. Glad to read that David and Jessica will be sharing their special day with friends back home. Great job with the table decorations, Pam. You may want to pursue a second career…lol

    Oh crap, didn’t know you had those issues with the windows. They must have had a very bad day at your expense. Glad they are going to make it right. Safe travels.

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Marsha! It was a glorious day:) We were so glad David and Karen agreed to come and take photos so we had them available right away. My part of the wedding is over! Now Jessica and Dan have to plan the reception/party for their friends on their own:) Window is all repaired and leaks are fixed. We have moved on to Alabama!!

  18. Don Malpas says:

    Hi, I am disappointed to hear about your windows – having made an appointment with them next month. I would really like to hear their explanation.

  19. LuAnn says:

    Such a wonderful celebration. What a perfect setting for a wedding. Hope you were able to get resolution on the window issues.

    • placestheygo says:

      It was a perfect day, LuAnn. I don’t believe it could have been any better from the gorgeous bride to the weather and setting and the dinner location and food. We did get the glass replaced in the kitchen window and the five leaking windows resealed. We do have one window that still leaks that we found in a downpour while in AL. John will have to work on this window:)

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