Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Manatee Arts & Crafts Festival and Wine Tasting

We have been having a lot of fun lately. Let’s face it folks-isn’t that what retirement is supposed to be all about? I know that’s the version of retirement we signed up for. We went to the Manatee Arts and Crafts show, held here in Crystal River, last Saturday, Jan. 21. On the way there, we decided to eat at Hardees instead of Kim’s for breakfast and it was really good! We both had coffee and an egg, cheese, and bacon biscuit which actually melts in your mouth. The small round hash browns are quite good as well. The Hardees in Homosassa is a very busy one. They seem to have locals who bring in their own coffee mugs and get their coffee refills free-a regular coffee club.  After eating breakfast we headed to Crystal River to the downtown historic area where they held their arts and craft show.

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The vendors were actually set up on both sides of US Hwy 19, which is the main, 4-lane highway heading north/south thru the area. We got there at 10 AM and it wasn’t too crowded, but a lot of walking was involved. We brought a lawn chair so I(Jeff)could sit down when my back started tightening up and I needed to rest it. We showed excellent fiscal restraint (The State of the Union Address last eve has influenced vocabulary today). We only bought two koozies designed to hold water bottles(yes, water for real), a quarter pound of peanut butter fudge, and lemonade to sip on.


By the time we had left we had seen many of our neighbors and friends from Rock Crusher. It was a beautiful day for the show though. The festival also had an entertainment area where musical acts played throughout the day. We passed on that. They also ran shuttles to the Seven Sisters Spring area which was open so folks could walk the new boardwalk and see some manatees. That line was way too long for us to wait. It was a great way to spend about 4 hours on a gorgeous Florida winter day.

That same night we had a wine tasting event in the clubhouse. You were asked to bring a bottle of wine in which they would wrap it in a bag so no one knew what wine they were tasting. We were also to bring a snack to share. There were about 23 people there for the first time this event was held. Two of the ladies acted as servers and brought around the wine and poured it in our glasses to taste. We rated 9 white wines and 8 red wines on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. After tasting all the whites, we all were asked to submit our highest rated. We then did the same with the reds. There were a few that we really did like and then there were some that tasted like apple cider vinegar or worst yet what transmission fluid might taste like…yuck! We had brought a Muscadine Red wine from the Smoky Mountain Winery in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It came in second place(really first) in the red category. I say ours was really first because the first place choice, once revealed was simply Welch’s grape juice with Sprite. Obviously, not a wine and should have been disqualified. Barbie and I both noted that on our ratings sheets that it was Welchs. Guess we know what had NO alcohol in it. :-) The snacks were very good and much needed with all that wine. But then again, we did pour some of the tastings in a discarded glass because of the nasty taste. Prizes were awarded to the top two of each category and the gifts were very nice. Now we need to have a beer tasting night.  :-)

Sunday we had some rvers ride up on their bicycles and introduce themselves. You see we actually know Chuck and Ayn as “Roadlife”, their log-in name on RV.Net Forum, an rvers forum on the internet we both follow. We had communicated through the forums as being at Rock Crusher Canyon. We have met so many fellow rvers through either this blog, RV.Net  Forums, Forums or the Escapees Forums. These sites are full of great information with the opportunity to meet fellow rvers down the road.

On to a new topic. Our bed is really getting to us in a bad way. We have been sleeping on it for a year now and the mattresses that they put in these RV’s are on the low end of being comfortable. We had put on a two inch thick memory foam mattress pad on the 6 inch rv mattress back in March of last year. But now the whole bed makes us feel stiff in the morning and is most uncomfortable. Jeff has had to move out to his recliner chair in the middle of the night because of his hip, and not his back, for the last two weeks. We have rotated the bed’s mattress a couple of times but there is really no change. We feel that we are sleeping on the wooden platform with little cushion and not the bed anymore. We don’t want a Sleep Number bed since we had that in the stick house and got rid of it. Do any of our readers have any suggestions on what kind of bed is good and comfortable for them? We’re leaning toward some type of memory foam. We had a Bamboo memory foam mattress in our motorhome, we purchased from Overstock a few years back, which was all right but we don’t know how that would survive for fulltimers. If you have any suggestions or preferences that have worked for you, please let us know.

For the first time this winter, we finally ate at the “Freezer”  this past Monday. This is truly an old fish company’s freezer in which they converted it into a bar type atmosphere which serves fantastic steamed shrimp and other fish. Check out some Freezer reviews HERE. We had garlic toast and steamed shrimp with a pitcher of their Cedar Key Red draft beer.The menu is not extensive but what food they have is great and the beer is cold! We love the atmosphere and the folks you see there as well. It was a great “happy hour” start to the week.

Today, Wednesday, Jan. 25 we went to Home Depot for some supplies to make a pvc drying rack to attach to the ladder of the rig.

PVC Drying Rack

I also bought pvc to build a support to place under our long slideout awning to keep water from pooling when it rains. That is tomorrow’s assignment. Afterwards we went to Dan’s Clam Stand for some clam chowder, shrimp, fries and hush puppies. Everything was very good again.

Thursday, Jan. 26 we are headed to the One Buck Coffee Club at 8:30am in the clubhouse. We gather to drink coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and solve the problems of the world.  Afterwards there is a meeting for people interested in assisting to develop the park’s activity calendar for next month.  Jeff will attend that.

We hope to attend the Ocala RV Show this Saturday when the weather will be better than Thursday and Friday. There is rain on the horizon for the next two days off and on so those might be great days to clean the inside of the rig??? Perhaps Saturday we’ll make the hour drive to Ocala.

Whew…I think we’re done. Soooo…until next time….


Paul and Marsha Weaver...OCT. 17, 2009 said... guys have been nonstop! The wine tasting party sounds wonderful. Thanks for explaining how they did it. I have always wanted to have one of these during a happy hours at our MH. Sounds like a bit a work though.
The drying rack looks great!
The Freezer is a cool place! Steamed shrimp...YUMMY!
Enjoy your busy weekend.

Karen and Al said...

We bought a mattress from We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it.

We have slept on it for over a year and have had no problems. Memory foam can be a little warm in the summer so we just put on a nice polyester mattress pad to keep it cool. We bought the 11 inch thick rv queen. You can go to my blog and do a search and see what it looked like as it arrived.

We thought about going to the Crystal River craft show but since we would be going up to kayak, we decided to hold off. It looks like you had a nice time.

Do you think the Ocala RV show is a pretty big show?

I'm interested in the awning support. We have a problem with water pooling also.

Margie and Roger said...

Love those pretty Koozies. Looks like a fun festival. We're having a wine and cheese tasting event soon in our park - sounds like fun.

Sherry and Charley Dilworth said...

Looks like you guys are staying busy and continuing to meet new people and find new "eating places". And you chose Hardee's over Kim's? Hard to believe!!

Stay safe!!