Evan and I were feeling pretty sluggish and gross after all our Orlando activities (read: eating and drinking) so on Tuesday morning we decided to go for a hike at Robinson Nature Preserve, a salt marsh in Bradenton. We still needed to eat, of course, so first we stopped and picked up bagels from Paradise Bagel Cafe on Anna Maria Island to bring with us for breakfast. I absolutely loved the bagels from there and we actually went twice, both times I got the asiago bagel toasted with spinach and garlic cream cheese. So, so good.
Anyway, the hike. We found the preserve when we were researching the area as it’s the top thing to do in Bradenton according to Trip Advisor. Since it was the morning it wasn’t too hot yet and we had a really nice walk. There are miles of trails through the marsh.
People say we Canadians are really friendly but every single person we passed said good morning to us. Actually I found people we encountered in general to be really friendly, wherever we visited. Though it’s possible they’re all Canadians escaping winter…
We walked to the lookout tower and ate our bagels at the top.
The marsh was on both sides of the boardwalk here and you could see tons of little black crabs scurrying around the mud. They legit looked like spiders though so…I didn’t love them.
The view from the top of the tower was spectacular.
There were tons of fish (mullet) jumping out of the water too, so that was cool.
It’s a beautiful spot. This is looking towards the Tampa Bay area. I did not realize you could also rent kayaks and explore the water areas. I would have loved that but next time! We had a good walk.
Next up was the beach.
First we went to Venice Beach, about half an hour south of Sarasota. It is the beach of Evan’s childhood (his grandparents used to take him here to hunt for shark teeth) and we found a lot of shells and shark teeth last time we were here so we knew we wanted to go back.
It was not nearly as busy as the last time we were here, so that was nice. It was a bit windy, but a gorgeous, gorgeous day.
We explored the fishing pier…
And then set up shop in the sand. Not many people were swimming in the ocean but you know I sure did! That Jaws marathon we had couldn’t scare me away.
That water was not too shabby at all. After swimming I leisured around and read my book while Evan went on a shell hunt.
I caught him mid throw in that one.
He got a lot more after this but I forgot to get a picture.
For lunch we went to Sharky’s on the Pier. We saw this place last time and had talked about how much of a good time it looked like and we should go back one day, so here we were.
Super beautiful view of the water.
We had big plans for dinner and didn’t want to spoil our appetite so we just ordered some peel and eat shrimp to tide us over.
After Venice beach we drove over to Nokomis beach, about 10 minutes away. Another beach we went to last time we were here that we really enjoyed. It’s beauty!
There was a group of guys skimboarding in front of us, so that was pretty entertaining.
More swimming and leisuring went down here.
What a lover I have.
I have to admit that one of my main reasons for wanting to go to Nokomis beach was to go back to Pop’s Sunset Grill for dinner. We came last time and absolutely loved it! So after beaching it up we quickly changed out of our wet bathing suits and hit that up.
Home of the world’s friendliest people, apparently. And everyone was so friendly, I’m tellin’ ya! I mostly love this place because the patio is right on the water.
At first our server asked us if we wanted to sit in a quiet area of the patio and we said okay, and it was quiet and nice…but too quiet. We could hear people having fun on the other part of the patio where the bar was, where a live band was playing Christmas songs that people were singing along to, and we felt like we were seriously missing out on the fun times. It was like that episode of Gilmore Girls when crazy Jason takes Lorelei to a restaurant for dinner and they’re in a private room and every time the door opens Lorelei can hear the craziness going on outside and wants to join. I remember when we watched that Evan said to me “that would be you.” He is not wrong. We felt like that, so eventually we moved and joined the party. We still sat on our own by the water, but we could see the shenanigans happening at the bar and hear the band, so it was pretty perfect. It was much more our speed.
We loved the steamship pot we got last time so much that we ordered it again.
Twin pic from 2013!
Just a bit more grey in the beard is the biggest difference there. And I am so glad the shirt Evan’s wearing in that picture went to the big laundry basket in the sky.
Our pot included 24 shrimp, two lobster tails, kielbasa, red potatoes, corn on the cob, onions and celery. Amazing.
Just amazing. We were pretty full afterwards but our server convinced us to go for the keylime pie so that happened.
It was GOOD.
We watched the pelicans frolicking around in the water and saw the most beautiful sunset.
It was a perfect Florida day.