Monday, December 6, 2010

Family Reunion: Florida & the Everglades

Last month my sister-in-law put together a family reunion, on my husbands side, & we all met down in Florida.  Her boyfriend owns some cottages on Lake Placid in Lake Placid, Florida so we all stayed there so we could be together in one place. 

Since it was October the weather was wonderful!  Not hot at all & we had a cool breeze most of the time.  The cottages are rustic but the view of the lake is priceless!  Our cottage had 2 bedrooms & 1 bath with full kitchen & the other cottages had 3 bedrooms & 2 baths with full kitchen. We had a back deck on our cottage & all of them were lake front where there is a beach area, dock, grill, etc.  Very nice for hanging out & enjoying the outside.  

We arrived a day early & being so close to the Everglades we took advantage of the opportunity.  We traveled south from Lake Placid about an hour to Billie's Swamp Safari...somewhere in the Everglades (not sure if there is a name to the town).

As we traveled on the 2 lane highway going 60 miles an hour a tractor trailer truck caught up with us & passed us, he must have been going at least 70 miles per hour.  As soon as he passed us he came up on some vultures feeding on the side of the road.  They were startled & flew up right in front of his truck.  One of them whipped around the side barely escaping, but the other one never came back into view. 

Soon we saw some feathers coming around the truck & we knew he had nailed it!  However, we never saw the bird & wondered what happened to it.  Within 2 minutes the truck started slowing down & finally came to a stop.  We passed him & when we looked back we saw the vulture, wings spread, plastered to his front grill....only in the Everglades!

Counting our blessings that the truck hit the vulture & not us, we continued on & arrived at Billie's Swamp Safari.  As we waited for our swamp buggy tour to depart we took advantage of the small zoo they have set up where you can view some Florida wildlife...including gators!

Soon we were on our swamp buggy & riding through the park.  The first thing we did is drive through a gate (reminiscent of Jurassic Park) & drive right into the lake!  It looked deep but turned out to be just a few feet so we were safe & made it to the other side.  On the 45 minute tour we saw Florida wildlife including water buffalo, boars, deer, etc. plus learned about some of the vegetation.

After our swamp buggy ride we climbed aboard our airboat & went flying over the water & tall grasses.  One thing I was not expecting was the noise!  The airboats are really loud but they do provide ear plugs (which do not stay in very well).  We stopped along the way to view the wild gators which always happened to be on my side of the boat.  Not a good feeling when the boat sits so low in the water & I know how high gators can jump.  I was happy when we started moving again!

All in all we had a great weekend with family, fishing, cooking out, eating, & enjoying the beautiful sunsets that Florida provides in the fall & winter.

So if you are looking for a great place to get away from it all & relax with family or friends, try Sully's Silver Sands Cottages in Lake Placid, Florida.  A perfect location where you can reach Disney, Tampa, the beaches, & Miami all within a 2 hour drive in any direction.   Oh, & check out the Everglades!

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