Randy has many alerts on his computer that come alive whenever there is a deal to be made on airline tickets or cruises. After allwe are retired and available at the drop of a hat to go to exotic places. Or are we?
Since retirement Randy started a small computer repair business and I am very busy doing this and that around the community. So when he gets one of these alerts he will come in and ask if I would be interested in going somewhere and I always answer the same way, “Let me check my schedule and see”. All too often the end result is both of us coming up with a myriad of reasons why we just cannot get away on short notice.
Well, that was until just recently. Randy came into my office (where I am most of the time) and said, “How would you like to take a short cruise?” Randy explained that he had just gotten an alert from Royal Caribbean about a short cruise out of Port Canaveral aboard the Monarch of the Seas for a four night cruise to the Bahamas. The price was just too good to pass up. $199.00 per person for five days-four nights of no cooking, no house cleaning, no phones, no appointments of any kind and only a week away.
It was like music to my ears and suddenly I was presented with an offer I could not refuse. “Yes,” I said without even a second thought. I actually left Randy surprised and speechless and then a smile crossed his face. I said, “Give a few minutes to see what I have on my calendar and I will cancel or reschedule whatever is there”.
The ship going out of Port Canaveral was just perfect for us as we only live 2 ½ hours away. We arranged to stay in a local motel that has this wonderful stay-park-cruise program. As long as you stay one night you can leave your car, they provide a shuttle to the port and when the ship returns to port the shuttle brings you back to your car. Can it get any easier than that?
We stayed at the Econo Lodge Space Center on U.S. 1. Once settled in our room we asked the desk clerk if there was a good local restaurant we could get some dinner. We have found over time that learning where the local community eats tends to be a better bet than taking your chances or eating at a chain.
The front desk clerk pointed us in the direction of a seafood restaurant called Corky Bell’s on U.S. 1 which was just a little down the road from the hotel. I was not overly impressed as we pulled into the parking lot. The building was pretty nondescript but we all know that you do not judge a book by its cover so we kept an open mind.
When we entered it was obvious that most of the patrons were indeed locals and I always consider that a good sign. The menu was pretty typical offering a wide variety of seafood, coleslaw, a variety of sides, drinks and desserts all at very reasonable prices. I ordered fried shrimp. The dinner included Cole slaw, corn fritters, and a choice of French fries, baked potato or green beans. Randy ordered the clam strips. We were both very happy with our choices and enjoyed the entire meal very much.
The shrimp was small, butterflied and fried with a very thin coating. The shrimp was delicious. The corn fritters were wonderful. Most seafood restaurants offer hush puppies and many times I cannot eat them because they are so dense it feels like I just ingested a food bomb that promised to go off later in the evening. The fritters were sweet, light and tasty with just a hint of confectioner’s sugar. Then there was the coleslaw that was just wonderfully delicious. It was chunky, sweet and creamy with slivers of carrot and red cabbage for color. I cleaned the bowl which is unusual for me.
As I sat in the booth enjoying my dinner I looked around the restaurant and was captivated by the murals that covered many of the walls at the restaurant. One mural had a brass plaque under it that read “Up from the ashes”. I our server what that meant and she said that the original restaurant had burned to the ground four years ago and it had taken that all these years to rebuild. After I finished my meal I went to grab my camera so I could capture these murals and realized I had left in the hotel room.
I grabbed my cell phone and proceeded to walk around the restaurant to capture these murals for the blog. I received some very interesting looks as I walked around the restaurant and I am sure they were thinking, “Tourist!”
Hunger satisfied we headed back to our motel to get a good night’s sleep before heading to the port for a fun-filled cruise vacation.
Tomorrow—Cruising the Bahamas—The Monarch of the Seas