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Published: December 17th 2009
Sign at the Sugar Daddy's ice cream shop at Johns Pass Village. Tourists take note: they've been here longer than I've been alive, so they know what they're talking about!
I’ve missed the beach. Both of us have. For all the years we’ve spent living in Germany and Maryland, we’ve always felt there was a little something missing. Sure, there are beaches and bodies of water in those places, too - but nothing’s like Florida. Nothing’s like the calm, gray-blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico that lazily crash into the soft, white beaches, and the quaint specialty shops and rustic restaurants that line the shores, bathed in a warm sun and soothing breezes.
Our recent return to Florida helped us to realize that spending the day at an old beach haunt of ours was the perfect way to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Our anniversary may be in December and only two weeks before Christmas, but it was a beautiful, blue day with clear skies and a forecast that called for a high in the mid-eighties.
Well, that sounds like a pretty good beach day to me.
So, after a lazy morning, we take a leisurely drive over to Madeira Beach to spend the day at John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk. My husband’s spent every summer of his childhood in this area and we’ve spent much time at
this beach as a couple as well, so not only did we already know what to anticipate, but the day also brought back many pleasant memories.
We spent some time browsing the shops in the Village, snapping a few photos of the gigantic, green foil Christmas tree that seemed appropriately casual, and then walked out onto the Boardwalk. The Boardwalk overlooks the Intercoastal that leads out to the Gulf of Mexico and has a view of nearby Treasure Island.
We enjoy some ice cream cones in the shade, Seth eating his Bubble Gum ice cream - an old tradition for him - and me sticking with Mint Chocolate Chip. Either way, though, the homemade ice cream at Sugar Daddy’s is great and always has been.
Sure, my 27th week of pregnancy had us both sitting down and looking for public restrooms a little more often than normal, but we mostly just relaxed and shopped and people watched while calmed by the surprisingly pleasant weather of a midwinter’s day. So pleasant, in fact, that many were dressed for summer weather, and a few in bikinis. We later saw people breaking out the jackets after dark, but the thought
Preggo and The Pirate
At Johns Pass Village, in front of one of the shops.
of a jacket seemed stifling to us.
After a couple hours of perusing the shops, we walked across the street to the beach, tracing the path along the Intercoastal where it meets up with the Gulf, and found some wooden benches from which to enjoy the sunset. Traffic on the beach was sparse but, as always, the people we did encounter were friendly. We sat a few hundred yards from a woman in a Santa hat who was drinking away the evening with a friend in a couple of beach chairs, and I dug my toes into the cool sand while the sun slowly melded with the low clouds, casting a pinkish-orange glow across the smooth shore.
Just as the sun was going down, the silhouetted birds flocked in droves to dive into the shallow waters and catch their last meal of the day, and as the dusk engulfed us and the light began to dwindle, the dolphins took their place, silently cutting through the waves between us and the last remnants of the day.
Then we trudged back over a sandy path and crossed the street again, heading back to John’s Pass. We get a table
The Foil Christmas Tree
A giant Christmas tree made completely from foil - too funny! A sparkling touch of Christmas in John's Pass Village.
on the dock at Sculley’s Boardwalk Grille. The outside seating of the restaurant is elevated a little above eye level of the boardwalk itself, and the boardwalk is over the water, so it’s really waterfront dining. There’s also a bar downstairs, but we mainly go for the food.
One of the main reason I like Sculley’s is because of their Famous She Crab Soup, which, of course, I ordered. It’s creamy and smooth, perfectly spiced, and full of large, tender chunks of crab meat. For an entree, I ordered the Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken, but my favorite part of that was the delicate angel hair pasta in the Parmesan cream sauce. I felt there was a little too much prosciutto. Seth got the Grouper, which was one of the fresh catches of the day (in fact we saw their fresh catches laid out near the water earlier in the day) and it was encrusted with, if I remember correctly, pecans. He was very happy with his choice.
After leaving John’s Pass, we drove north up Gulf Boulevard a few blocks to another favorite spot: the Candy Kitchen. Here we ordered some more homemade ice cream, mine in the form
Heading out onto the boardwalk.
of a Chocolate Brownie Milkshake (another tradition), which we enjoyed at an outside picnic table in the breezy, salty night air before heading back inland for the night.
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