Monday Motivation: Living in Paradise

Monday Motivation: Living in Paradise

There’s nothing like a visit from a good friend to remind me that I live in paradise. Not only is Florida beautiful, but its accommodating weather allows for endless, low-cost (and no-cost) activities, including watching gorgeous sunsets on the Indian River and attending the Grant Seafood Festival.

Sunset on the Indian River.

It’s also fun to discover new places right in my own backyard, when motivated by the desire to show a visiting friend a good time in this part of The Sunshine State. One of them is Captain Hiram’s in Sebastian.

Then there’s the discovery of beautiful B & B’s like The Seaglass Inn in Melbourne Beach.

Located on Ocean Ave., between the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean, The Seaglass Inn is a perfect getaway. My friend has been raving about the friendly service, accommodations, and delicious breakfasts since her arrival on Saturday. Having met one of the owners the other day after picking her up at the airport and driving her here, I can attest to her review. No matter how attractive and well maintained, if a Bed and Breakfast lacks owners who truly love the business of hospitality, a guest will not return.

A few years ago, my friend (along with family members and another friend that same year), stayed at another lovely place in the area. However, as much as it boasted a naturally serene setting on the river, upscale amenities, and pristine conditions, its owner appeared to be in the wrong industry — as evidenced by his attitude and actions. Whenever I came by to hang out with her, he acted annoyed, as if I had no right to be there. When she arrived, the first thing he asked for was a credit card. I received the same feedback from others who stayed there on my recommendation. Despite the fact that I’d referred three substantial reservations to his B & B in a span of a month that year, this grouchy innkeeper never even bothered to thank me. His sour demeanor is the reason why none of them have returned…even though they all have been back to this part of Florida since then.

In stark contrast, the owner of The Seaglass Inn appeared genuinely happy to greet us (even me, the local) when we arrived. He engaged in friendly conversation as he described the various amenities and led us to the Royal Palm room. Now when I visit or stop by to pick her up, there’s no apprehension about being there. Not surprisingly, I’m envisioning a staycation there in the near future.

If you’re planning a trip to Melbourne Florida and vicinity anytime soon, I highly recommend The Seaglass Inn. Click here for more information.

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Visiting Melbourne? Stay at The Crane Creek Inn

Renee enjoys the view from her porch off the Ida Mae room.
Renee enjoys the view from her porch off the Ida Mae room.

One great thing about living in Florida is that everyone wants to visit. But what to recommend if you don’t have a lot of space to accommodate visitors?

The Crane Creek Inn.

I discovered this little gem, located just two blocks from downtown Melbourne during one of my causeway walks with my good friend Damalis. When I’d mentioned that several friends and family members were interested in visiting, she suggested we extend our walk to Melbourne Avenue, where I could investigate a B & B.

We arrived at a lovely craftsman style house decorated in Key West style, where owner Andy gave us a tour. Upon entering, I was struck by how the decor, amenities, and ambiance created a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere for travelers who just want to get away from it all. Unlike an impersonal hotel, the Crane Creek Inn was like stepping back in time to an era when strangers actually engaged each other in conversation. Although a throwback in some ways, the Inn is definitely in tune with modern times, offering WiFi, a private guest bathroom in each suite, a well-maintained pool and deck, and a boardwalk complete with Adirondack chairs along the river.

Karen is all smiles by the pool deck.

Yet there’s also a library where guests can select from a variety of reads, and a lovely dining room where they can enjoy a hot, made-to-order breakfast every morning, compliments of Andy. The rooms also come with their own porches or decks depending on the accommodations (some even have kitchens!). And while you feel as if you are tucked away in a peaceful sanctuary brimming with characteristic Old South charm, you’re still just a few blocks away from shops, restaurants, bars, and other activities. For travelers without cars, it’s very manageable to walk to variety of entertaining venues.

That day I was so impressed with the place I recommended it to friends Renee and Karen, each of whom booked reservations. Last week, Renee enjoyed a few days at the Inn and currently my good friend Karen is staying there.

Captain Andy takes us for a ride on the river.
Captain Andy takes us for a ride on the river.

Next month, my parents will no doubt enjoy it as much as my two girlfriends when they check in at the Crane Creek Inn.

Husband and wife owners Andy and Bambi have done an outstanding job in transforming the Crane Creek Inn into a little slice of paradise on the Central Florida Coast. Yesterday, he even offered Karen and me a complimentary boat ride on the river, where we took in the beautiful scenery and even spotted a few manatees along the way. This place is clean, modernized, hospitable and hard to leave. If your future plans include visiting Melbourne, consider staying at the Crane Creek Inn. You’ll be very glad you did!

Visit the Crane Creek Inn website and like the Crane Creek Inn Facebook Page.

Old South charm along the river.
Old South charm along the river.

 

Blocks away from renowned places like Meg O'Malley's Irish Pub.
Blocks away from renowned places like Meg O’Malley’s Irish Pub.
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My Pittsburgh Adventure with Harriet Parke

Posing with the Pirates Parrot at Primanti Brothers.
Posing with the Pirates Parrot at Primanti Brothers.

The other day I arrived at the lovely home of author Harriet Parke, who has become a very dear friend over the past several months. Thanks to the blessings of social media and modern technology less than one year after receiving her excellent book Agenda 21 as a Christmas gift, I now count Harriet among my most treasured friends. Having the chance to spend time with her in person was an unexpected bonus!

Also a pleasant surprise? Finally experiencing the city of Pittsburgh and finding it to be a beautiful, clean and fascinating place. Yesterday my lovely hostess took me into this western Pennsylvania metropolis where we hit all of the hot spots including The Strip — home to the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company, Wholey’s Fish Market, Primanti Brothers, and Mon Aimee Chocolat, among others. Walking around and inhaling the aroma of various ethnic foods while checking out endless rows of fresh veggies, trinkets, clothing, and sports paraphernalia (Steelers, Pirates, Penguins) provided a long-forgotten urban experience, having not spent much time in cities recently.

While we were enjoying the famous sandwiches offered by Primanti’s, the Pirates Parrot mascot showed up and happily posed for photos. He’s not the Phillie Phanatic by any stretch but it was still great to meet him!

Afterward we strolled around Station Square before embarking upon an entertaining and informative Just Ducky Tour which offered an excellent overview of Pittsburgh history while we drove by various landmarks and cruised down one of the Three Rivers, passing sports stadiums and other points of interest along the way.

From there it was off to the Monongahela Incline — an attraction I first discovered in the 1983 film Flashdance when Alex rides up the mountain with her bike

Ready to dig in!
Ready to dig in!

in tow. And wouldn’t you know? We ended up sharing the ride up with two kids and a very large bike, while we contorted ourselves to fit into the seats! My local tour guide Harriet filled me in on the origins of Pittsburgh’s quintessential transport (there are three inclines in all), which now lifts passengers up into an exclusive, revitalized and upscale neighborhood that has been completely transformed from its yesteryear days as the humble home of steelworkers. I must admit the ride up was a little scary for me (it’s pretty steep, after all) so I focused on maintaining eye level with the greenery as we made our way to the top. Between that and the effort to avoid the bike I managed to keep my (slight) panic at bay. But once we arrived and took in the magnificent view of the river and the city skyline, all fear was forgotten as I marveled at the wonder of it all. Then a nice local guy named Gino initiated a conversation about the city’s history and graciously took photos for us. If you have any doubts about the revitalized city of Pittsburgh being a destination for travelers, we encountered two young guys from Mexico and a young couple from Germany on their honeymoon. ALL of them traveled here quite willingly and all had nothing but positive things to report about their experiences and impressions of the city. Still not convinced? Check out this Forbes article which names Pittsburgh among the Top 10 Unexpectedly Romantic Cities!

Combined with breathtaking terrain and densely populated evergreens and other trees, Pittsburgh and the surrounding area of western Pennsylvania is a sight to behold. If only the weather remained sunny and in the 70s all year long, I might be tempted to move here!

I cannot thank Harriet and her husband Laird enough for their warm hospitality and definitely plan to come back next summer when I’ll have a faster and better phone to more easily transfer and download pictures! 🙂

Speaking of pictures, there are plenty more photos to come as I sort out the tech issues, including lovely shots of the impressive skyline, Harriet’s serene garden and the stunning architecture of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Station. Stay tuned! And don’t forget to follow @HarrietParke on twitter.

 

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