We woke up to a warm Thanksgiving day with a sky filled with heavy cloud cover. But not to worry, the weatherman said that it was going to be glorious day with sunshine and temperatures in the mid-80s.
We took our time for breakfast and then made our way over to the pool for a relaxed day of reading and sharing Thanksgiving wishes with our friends via phone, email and Facebook.
One rule I have when traveling is that I do not cook. I will make breakfast and lunch but never dinner. So, it became our tradition when spending time at Coconut Plantation to purchase a complete turkey dinner from Publix. We would spend the entire day at the pool and then return to the condo to reheat our feast; no muss, no fuss.
Several years ago the clubhouse started preparing a Thanksgiving buffet and we would talk about participating but never did. Last year, however, we finally decided to take part; the Thanksgiving dinner was delicious! It was especially nice because we had our daughter Kara with us.
With that wonderful memory in mind, we decided to sign up for the buffet again this year. It is so nice to see the clubhouse transformed into an inviting dining room. The buffet included roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, sautéed green beans, sweet potato mash, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls, and gravy and salad fixings. For dessert we had a choice of pumpkin pie, apple pie or donut holes.
The turkey was so moist; it was delicious. We sat at our table chatting and watching the other diners enjoying themselves and felt very good. I looked at Randy and asked, “So, what are you thankful for?” He looked at me with those beautiful blue eyes and said, “Us”. I smiled and said, “Me too”.
We returned to the condo and spent the rest of the evening talking about all the other things we are thankful for like family, friends, our health and shared our hope that the good feelings that were shared during Thanksgiving would carry over to the rest of the holiday season. Then it was off to bed for a good night’s sleep before taking part in the other crazy Thanksgiving tradition; Black Friday.
We woke up to yet another day of beautiful blue skies, gentle breezed and the promise of temperatures in the high-80s. Life is good.
Each year that we spend at Coconut Plantation we spend Black Friday over at Coconut Point Mall. It is a beautiful open-air mall that features 140 stores, restaurants and a movie theater. I love going to the mall. Yes, it is busy but none of the craziness exists that plague other stores on this crazy shopping day.
We went early and spent a couple of hours walking back to the stores we had scoped out a few days earlier and bought a few treasures for Christmas for several of our family members. The Christmas tree was up, holiday songs were playing and everyone was in a festive mood.
I am very much a traditionalist and so one of our stops was at Barnes & Noble so I could purchase my annual Christmas novel. This year I chose Anita Hughes’ Christmas in Paris. Randy and I visited Paris in 2014 and I thought how nice it would be to read a book that would transport me back so I could relive those wonderful memories.
We had two more stops to make before returning to Coconut Plantation. First, Randy wanted stop at the Rural King to get me some Mary Jane candy. He know that Mary Janes are one of my very favorite penny candies from my childhood.
I have never been to a Rural King store before. The store was so crowded and, oh my, I was blown away at the amount of camouflage items there were. Camouflage couches, children’s chairs, tee shirts, underwear, etc., it was very funny. The store was so crowded and the lines so long at the checkout counters that we gave up.
Our next stop was at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Resort & Spa. For so many years we have driven down Coconut Road on our way to the condo and there at the end was the beautiful Hyatt Regency beautifully adorned with lighted trees, bows, wreaths and poinsettas. I especially loved the wreath that hung high above on the front of the building. We would walk through the lobby stopping at one of the most beautiful Christmas trees I have ever seen located at the back lobby. Last year there were hardly any decorations, no tree and very little recognition of the coming holiday season.
I stopped and talked to the manager and she said the hotel was taking a simplier approach to the holiday season. I wanted to stop and see if they had changed their policy. We were pleased to see that there had been a change. There were definitely more signs of the upcoming holiday season but, alas, no tree. I went to the reception desk and learned that the hotel indeed was going to put one up the next week. The manager said that they had so many complaints the year before that the hotel decided to bring back the decorations. How wonderful!
Dinner time rolled around and Randy decided he wanted Mexican food for dinner. We went to a restaurant we have frequented in the past, Señor Tequila’s. I ordered a Chalupa and Randy ordered the Burro Señor Tequila’s. And, of course, we both ordered a Margarita. The dinner was delicious but next time we will split one meal.
Tomorrow we return home totally relaxed and ready for whatever the coming holiday season has in store.
We stopped in to checkout, say our goodbyes to the staff and take a picture by the Christmas tree. Yes, this is a tradition for us too. I was surpised to see that it was not completely decorated. We were told that they had a problem with the stand the night before and spent the entire evening trying to get the stand fixed. They assured us that they would finish decorating that day.
We got back into our car, waved goodbye to the clubhouse and started our journey home. As we pulled away I thought, What a great decision we had made when we decided to become a part of this wonderful vacation community.