Monday, March 23, 2015

Nokomis Beach: A Beautiful…Simple…Almost Unspoiled Hidden Gem!

I saw a Facebook status in my newsfeed with an image of Beyonce that read “It’s easy to go broke trying to look rich. Remember to always act your wage!”.  Well let me just set the record straight (esp for those back home), the beach is “F-R-E-E!” when you’re not staying and just going for a day trip. Then can head back home. Though as we get more settled here, I hope to spend a few weekend stays here and there. Fortunately, living in “Suburbia” aka “The Outskirts” of New Tampa puts us within an hour’s reach of a variety of beaches. Some of the best that the Gulf side of Florida has to offer. And each has it’s own personality, flair, culture and lifestyle to it.

Nokomis goes on my list of “Beach Towns That Time Forgot” / “Classic Beach Vacation Spots”. Also on that list goes Anna Maria Island (a beach we visited before I started the blog). These beaches aren’t overrun with vendors or massively commercialized. It’s like one of those towns you see in Hallmark Channel movies. And we LOVE Hallmark Channel movies in all of their wholesome cheesy goodness and quaint small town settings as we binge watch together during holidays. So, if you’re looking for a busy strip and party town you won’t find it at Nokomis. Which was great because it’s Spring Break season here and there are just some things I am not ready for my 3 and 5 year old to see let alone do I care to be placed in the awkward position to explain. (Case in point this FOOLERY). Nokomis Beach is surrounded by residential property and private owned rentals. It is located about 25 minutes away from Travel Channel renowned and one of the U.S.’s Top Beaches…Siesta Key!

We were visiting Mr. D last weekend and he now lives a stone’s throw away from Nokomis Beach. There are only a few shops on the street leading to the bridge that goes in to the beach. One of the shops includes an ice cream parlor, Bentley’s. We stopped in to visit Mr. D’s granddaughter Lexi and get some homemade ice cream.
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It was like a parlor that time forgot, there was a classic soft serve ice cream machine on site. The parlor is also family owned. It’s simple inside, several pictures of people having a good time at the parlor enjoying ice cream, a couple of patio furniture tables and chairs. There was ice cream, sorbet, and gelato all available in a nice variety of flavors to choose from. Julie had strawberry and Jerry had his favorite “banilla”. Papa Smurf had Reese’s peanut butter and I had cappuccino crunch both in waffle cones. Both were really good, and the cappuccino crunch tasted just like a creamy frozen cappuccino, and the crunch crumbles tasted more like chocolates rather than strong flavored mocha bits. The Reese peanut butter was good but a little too sweet for me. When I was a kid though, you couldn’t keep me away from Reese Cups. They were my favorite chocolates and still are. We really liked the ice cream its very creamy and tastes of real flavor. From the taste it appears the real deal, no artificial fillers here. The cone protectors that they give you are GENIUS! They catch all drips and keep the cone in tact so everybody stays happy :-)

I stopped in next door to a sunglass and beachwear shop to get some sunglasses. The shop owner was nice and very polite. We talked for a bit as she cleaned the lenses of my new sunglasses with a microfiber cloth. I told her about my cousin who landed a deal with Nordstrom Rack selling his line of sunglasses. And to that she said “…Now see that’s great when people can just cash in on their creativity! I need an idea like that but I’m not as creative.” Oh to cash in on creativity :-D  Anyways, staying on topic, there was a bait shop and a convenience store located in the same spot as the ice cream parlor though I did not seem much else. Although, TripAdvisor lists some restaurants that appear small, quaint, privately owned, and seamlessly tucked away.

After ice cream we headed down the street to the two lane draw bridge that leads to the “jetty” and the main beach. Don’t even ask me where my Nikon was to take a picture of the canal. Maybe we went over to fast, but it was probably because the water looked just like The Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz and my eyes were locked in a gaze that left me motionless. Mr. D told us that the water changes colors in the canal naturally. However, here is an old picture from our very first visit several months ago, sorry no Emerald City colored water in this one and it was a little overcast that day (the beach was also closed that day).

At the end of the draw bridge we were able to see a large boathouse where you could rent boats and jet skis. Once we were at the beach, the view and the water are beautiful but it was too cool for swimming (at least for us). Though, it was still quite a warm day. The sand is great for shelling. There are tons of shells to be found here. Julie was so excited because she loves to pick things. She gathered quite a few and said “These are for (Ms.) ‘Kaffy” as she gave them all to Mr. D.---for his wife.  We forgot the beach toys in our car which we left parked back at Mr. D’s but the kids didn’t care. They were just fine picking shells, playing with a cup and a plastic bottle from our packed lunch and snacks. I am really grateful for their appreciation of the simple things. Even if it may only last for this innocent portion of their lives that alot of older parents stop us  and say “aww the ‘fun age’ enjoy it, it goes fast!”
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We were surprised to encounter a drum circle while there. There were lots of belly dancers and hula hoopers. And there were some mean drummers out there. Here is a clip!

We stayed until sunset, when the shore line fills up with onlookers and photographers.
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