Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Day in the Bay

Revisited a favorite place today by kayak; a tiny sand island in the bay (Estero Bay)that appears and disappears with the changing tides. In the sand I found flamingo pink color shells; an unusual find. There is a resort on Fort Myers Beach called Pink Shell Resort; I wonder if this is how they got their name. Perhaps many years ago there used to be an abundance of pink shells.

While stretched out on the sands of my miniature empire, a jet flies overhead, taking off from the Fort Myers airport heading West to loop North. I thought how strangely interesting I must appear to someone looking out their windows, me and my kayak on a few yards of sand surrounded by tons of water.

When totally submerged in nature and without distractions I am fortunate to be able to revert back to childhood play and creativity. A mangrove pod floating by, rescued and examined becomes a quill pen with which to write letters with oceans of clear ink on perhaps parchment in the form of a giant seagrape leaf, which must now be found. A corkscrew shell becomes the perfect earring so one must search for the other missing one. Translucent white shells make perfectly glamorous fingernails. I make a great ten year old.

When my kingdom is being reclaimed by the bay waters and it is time to go, if all is well and the timing is just right, I can simply drift and float back to the exact piece of shoreline where I started out. I am my own sail. It has been a good day in Florida.

Monday, June 14, 2010


So, I took a day trip to Tampa, AGAIN, to go to my closest Ikea. It's about a three hour drive from my home in SW Florida. After Ikea I decided to wend my way to Clearwater Beach. Why? Nostalgic purposes, as I lived in the Tampa area from the ages of four to fourteen and with Grandparents in Clearwater, there was a well worn path between East of Tampa and Clearwater.
This was a spur of the moment sort of thing, so I had no map and no GPS, just my own pigeon- like homing instincts. And sure enough, I left the Ikea parking lot, on Adamo Ave. (Hwy. 60), past Ybor City, followed it thru downtown Tampa (Kennedy Blvd.) and past the airport and onto the Courtney Campbell Causeway right thru downtown Clearwater and onto Clearwater Beach, with nary a waiver or wrong turn. In fact, this is the amazing thing to me, as I passed streets and sights going thru Tampa they were all so FAMILIAR, and I had not been on this path for dare I say 30 or 40 years??? The Tampa docks, where the banana boats used to (still do?) dock, the angular "modern" 1960's buildings, past Dale Mabry, Florida Ave. and Henderson Ave. where I actually recognized the turnoff to get to my father's old office. It didn't hurt that there was a Krispie Kreme located on the corner which looked more than vaguely familiar. Now, past Lois Ave, also an old and familiar street, and West Shore Blvd.
Upon arrival in Clearwater beach, I found a familiar Greek motel had been torn down to "put up a parking lot" as the song goes. Also found some exceedingly tall condominiums that blocked out the setting sun for the older, established places.
But, I saw that Frenchy's cafe (now at least three on the beach) were still in full swing and people clamoring to get in no doubt to order the Grouper Reubens. The Gulf water was exceedingly clear and lovely; "Clearwater" still living up to it's name. The beaches were packed with people and their colorful umbrellas and flotation devices. Lots of happy people enjoying their Sunday afternoon at the beach. Then, it was on to Indian Rocks, Redington Beach, Treasure Island and St. Pete beach and back onto I-275, across that giant yellow bridge and back to I-75 South.
It was a great trip down memory lane and rather reassuring to know that one can find one's way when one must.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Life's a Changin'

I took a bold step this afternoon. I deleted my website:
I took my own advice and simplified to the point of complete deletion. When I started the site in 2005, I was more focused on design and recycling things.
Now, I am focused on applying those aspects to the real estate market in SW Florida; working with sellers in preparing a home for sale with tips on de-cluttering and staging and curb appeal. And assisting buyers in finding a "diamond in the rough" or that perfectly pristine home.
I am on facebook; also ActiveRain, a real estate blog site plus this blog. I have business commitments and a personal life, so my plate is full. To any "fans" and lookers of the previous DanaCarreraDesigns website, thank you and please keep in touch through facebook or this blog.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I'm in love with Cabbage Key Florida

How is it that I have lived in SouthWest Florida for so long and just now have discovered CABBAGE KEY?

Bonita and Fort Myers Beach are great but Cabbage Key, ahhhhhh; now there's an island. First of all, you can't drive there; accessible only by boat. And, it's a nice boat ride too, not out into the open sea of the Gulf of Mexico but within the confines of Pine Island Sound with lovely islands always visible for those who may fear venturing into deeper waters.

While pulling into the dock you pass several wonderful, older, white houses. One is simply a dollhouse, if I might use a real estate embellishment term. But, no, literally. The original owners (after the Calusa Indians, of course) of the island built several cottages, besides their main house and this smaller one was for their child to use as a dollhouse or playhouse. The main house (built in the 1920's) is now an inn and restaurant. I do love historic properties and I must say that they are few and far between in this stretch of Florida, so I was totally thrilled to discover these homes of character. The painted but worn-clean-to-the-wood, screen door alone made the trip worth it to me. I was happy that I had brought my film camera, just in case. Another highlight was the white, wooden water tower still in use. Writers, artists, dreamers and characters in general have called Cabbage Key home.

Currently, the biggest draw to the island is the "Cheeseburger in Paradise" theme, since it is said that Jimmy Buffet was singing about the inn on Cabbage Key. And, the fact that the walls are papered with signed dollar bills. The story goes that before the island was "discovered" the bar was mostly frequented by fisherman who may or may not have a dollar in their pockets the next time they stopped by for a beer. So, they would tape their dollars up on the walls of the bar with their names written on them to use as a credit for their next trip in, just in case. It was all interesting, needless to say.
Because all of Cabbage Key is privately owned, you and I won't be moving there anytime soon. but I am happy that at least they remain open to the public and that I do live within boating distance. If you are going to make a day trip of it, I highly recommend the Captiva Cruises as a way to depart from Captiva Island and comfortably cruise to Cabbage Key.

I highly recommend a trip to Cabbage Key to clear your head and re-start your inspiration. You too may fall in love.