The One With The Shortest Winter Ever

We are not winter people. Give us tank tops, sweaty days at the ballpark, and sunsets after 9PM! There’s nothing about snow or cold temperatures that any of us enjoy. Except Uggs. We do love our boots. But for the most part, winter is a season we always dread.

Until this year.

Early in 2021 we hatched a plan to move our boat to Fort Myers, Florida for the winter. When we made our reservations, we weren’t exactly sure how much time we’d be able to spend on Light & Salty. But, we figured if nothing else, we could celebrate Christmas and New Years in a tropical location.

But here we are- over 3 months in to our dream winter and I’m looking at the calendar wondering how it went by so fast. I’ve posted bits and pieces on social media (here on Instagram and Facebook.) However, I wanted to do an official recap here lest I forget that winter isn’t synonymous with misery.

How We Ended Up In Fort Myers This Winter

As I mentioned, we made our reservations almost a year in advance. We spent time here last year during our Great Loop (The One In Fort Myers) and fell in love. While a million different factors made planning our life difficult, picking a winter destination wasn’t one of them.

The bigger decisions actually became how and when we moved our boat.

After much debate we settled on a very small window in mid-November between the end of Hilton Head baseball season and Thanksgiving. As most boaters will tell you, having a schedule is just about the worst thing you can do. However, we were determined to make it work.

Not only did we make it work, but it was some of our favorite boating to date. With our new incredible Battle Born Lithium Battery setup, we have so much more freedom to anchor. We found some great spots along the route and even got to see wild horses on Cumberland Island.

Timing couldn’t have been better. We docked at our marina, and immediately left (by car) to spend Thanksgiving with family.

December (High)lights

Hands down, there is nothing better than looking at Christmas lights in your flip flops! And, this year our December was full of warm sunshine, Christmas carols playing from our boat speakers, and old traditions in new places.

We spent much of December with friends and family, which was truly a gift after our solo Christmas season of 2020.

Santa found our boat for the second time, much to the kids delight. We returned to an in-person Christmas Eve church service (yay!) and met several friends for a special dinner that night. Christmas Day was a balmy 87 degrees and we enjoyed grilling our dinner that evening.

It’s hard to pick a highlight from the month because it was all so special. However, spending the final week of the year on anchor at Cayo Costa probably takes the cake. We swam, played on the beach, tested out the new paddle board Santa delivered, and ate a lot. It was a much needed week of rest and family time.

31 January Days

Typically January feels like it lasts at least 80 days. But this year it was over in the blink of an eye. I blame a busy schedule, mostly warm weather, and several very special events.

First up was Miller’s 10th birthday. In true Miller fashion, he had a very specific plan and hoped it would be his best day ever. Fortunately, his requests were easily deliverable: no schoolwork, fun with friends, ribs and cake. We extended the celebrating into the weekend and hit his favorite beach, a new park he enjoys, and an restaurant in Longboat Key we all love.

Fort Myers also hosted the AGLCA Rendezvous where over 400 Loopers (and future Loopers) descended on the area. We loved seeing old friends, and meeting new ones. Our good friends brought their two kids and we enjoyed the bonus playmates for the week. We hosted over 150 people on our boat during an open house style dock party. And, we were recognized for the first time as GOLD Loopers.

Our month ended in a very unusual way- freezing cold Florida weather, and our family spread out across the state. Mary Grace joined her Hilton Head Church youth group in Orlando for a weekend at Universal Studios. And Brent, Miller and I went up to Daytona for the Rolex 24 hour race. Though totally different, I think we all had equally fun, freezing weekends.

An Overflowing-ly Full February

I thought January was busy, but February laughed and said “hold my beer.” For the first time in 2 years, I looked at my calendar and struggled to fit everything in. But let me be clear- I am not complaining one bit!

From murder mystery train rides to early bird special dinners to countless meals and cakes around the grill, we celebrated everyone and everything. Mary Grace and her friend Molly decided to capitalize on the situation and start a business, Baking From Port To Starboard. They’ve been swamped with orders!

The February weekend line ups included: anchoring with 2 of our favorite boats; hosting a boat full of family; road tripping to Miami for the Boat Show; traveling to Naples for Miller’s first travel team baseball tournament; and then opening weekend for his other baseball team. If you’re counting 5 weekends and thinking there are only 4 in February, you’re not wrong. Did I mention our schedule was packed?

So Now It’s March.

Here in Fort Myers, I can pretty confidently say winter is over. And, for the first time ever, I’m pretty sad about it. The temperatures have been consistently in the 80’s every day and many Loopers have begun to move.

Recently I told Miller the date and he was shocked. “March, already? How is that possible?” That’s really the million dollar question. The other million dollar question is “What’s next for Light & Salty?” For the time being, we’re going to enjoy our time in Fort Myers.

We have A LOT of exciting things planned over the next couple months including a huge trip (by plane), a full baseball season (Miller) and SCUBA certification classes (Mary Grace.) Beyond that…well…I wish I knew. We have a lot of exciting options on the table and we’re sorting through to figure out the best plan for our family.

As always, thanks for keeping up with our crazy adventures. You might also enjoy reading:

Renting A Car For Travel: Pros, Cons and Worst Case Scenario

The One About Boat Shopping

The Ultimate North Carolina Bucket List for Families

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