Here it is, mid summer, and we still are enjoying our daily walks over to the beach. Most of us who live on Anna Maria Island are able to walk to the beach. It is wonderful not to have to drive. The island is so narrow at the south end that the beach is never more than three or four blocks away. Farther north, the island widens and the walk increases by a few more blocks. But the only areas from which a walk to the beach would take more than just a few minutes are Key Royale and the neighborhoods near Galati Marine at the southeast end of the City of Anna Maria.
Our house is exactly a half mile from the beach. We usually make that walk and then continue along the beach, toward the setting sun before we turn and head home. The beach part of the walk is spectacular every evening. Tonight the beach was particularly wide, and the sand looked smooth and white. The temperature was extremely pleasant—amazing for mid August! The water reflected the pink/orange glow from the low sun. There was almost nobody on the beach. This is the kind of “paradise” experience for which people travel long distances. How lucky we are to be able to walk to it.
The Seafood Shack Restaurant in Cortez has closed re-opened.
The waterfront restaurant has been in business for 38 years serving grouper sandwiches, clam chowder and burgers but succumbed to the combination of high taxes, high insurance, economic downturn, and an upcoming bridge repair.
The humpback bridge on 127th Street is closing for repairs and Seafood Shack owner, Ham Jones, said he faced bankruptcy trying to stay open with low patronage, or close and lay off staff. He kept open the possibility of reopening in November if the bridge repairs are completed by then, and if the Anna Maria Island bridge repair closures reroutes traffic to Cortez bridge as scheduled for October – November.
A beautiful day on Tampa Bay last weekend brought out sailors and boaties taking advantage of the breeze and perfect temperature to enjoy a day on the water.
Sailing out of northern Anna Maria Island presents no barriers or bridges into Tampa Bay, the Intracoastal Waterway, and to the Gulf of Mexico. Tampa Bay is one of few Florida deep water bodies of water, along with Charlotte Harbor, where keeled sailboats can enjoy unencumbered cruising without too much fear of running aground on shoals and dredged spoil banks.
Sailing under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is a treat and navigation is little constrained up to St Petersburg.
Back in 2001, a former landmark restaurant “Pete Renard’s”, and briefly “Marina Bay”, lay abandoned and deteriorating in the heart of Holmes Beach. Opposite the main mall Island Shopping Center, and sitting on prime waterfront with boat canals and docks, the previously family run night spot with the revolving floor and popular restaurant changed hands and then closed.
It’s been 7 years since an aspiring developer put together a plan for a complex of 40 luxury hotel condominiums, a deepwater marina for yachts and boats up to 65 feet in length, a restaurant, lounge and meeting facilities, to be called Tidemark Lodge & Marina.
Pre-construction sales of condominium suites were priced from the $300,000s to the $600,000s. The plan was approved by the city commission and demolition began. Periodic press releases promised great things even as long periods passed with no activity on the site.
The new Bradenton Boat Club marina and boat condominium is emerging from the former C&C Marina in Cortez. Construction is progressing on 3 buildings that will accommodate 272 boats in dry storage, and 10 wet slips. The $17 million boat storage project won out over residential usage of the 4 acre site as other boating facilities declined in the area.