Well let’s see…there’s sand crunching away in the spine of my book, Kenny Chesney singing about guitars and tiki bars on my iPod and to top it all off, I smell like a piña colada. Anyone want to take a guess at where I am?

I, dear readers, am on vacation. And guess what? I’m taking you with me!

So if you find yourself in need of a little sunshine then keep on scrolling. Oh, and if it’s any incentive, there’s a cocktail recipe awaiting you at the end of this post…

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My parents, not wanting to be outdone by all the other cool (retired) kids out there, bought themselves a lovely condo in southwest Florida last July.

The location? Marco Island: a carefree and casual little isle right off the Gulf Coast.

To get here, you drive through miles and miles of protected Florida Everglades and past foreboding signs that read “Caution: Panther Crossing.”  But no need to worry; once you cross the Judge S.S. Jolley Bridge, you’re in beach-bum paradise!

At 4×6 miles small, Marco is the largest of Florida’s “Ten Thousand Islands,” which, despite the name, realistically number in the hundreds. Most are too small for habitation but some are on the larger side and contain seaside towns, sleepy fishing villages and a few of the prettiest white sand beaches you will ever see.

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Marco is said to be the more “happening” of the local islands. It’s coast ~ boasting one of the longest, crescent-shaped white sand beach in the U.S. (4 miles!) ~ is dotted with swanky hotels behind which reside rows of condos where folks like my parents hang out for extended getaways.

Drive around the island and you’ll find a balanced mix of modern amenities (yes there is a McDonald’s) and local haunts, which I like to describe as “beachy kitsch” ~ i.e. pastel shopping centers full of surf shacks and ice cream joints.

But the real action is out on the waves. Marco Island is a water-lover’s wonderland offering phenomenal fishing, windsurfing, parasailing, dolphin watching, boating, snorkeling and a host of other H2O activities.

I’ve only been here 3 days and already I’m in love! The pace is island slow and the only decision you have to make each day is: beach or pool? From there on out it’s just day after lazy day full of sun, sand and the occasional cocktail.

Nothing rushes around here except the cars on the main boulevard, which pedestrians-be-damned will run you over! So be careful at those intersections…

Everyone out there better slather on that SPF 15 and dig those flip-flops out of the closet because tomorrow we’re heading to the beach! But in the mean time…why don’t you shake up a Marco Island iced tea or two?

Until then fellow beach-bums,

~Brittni

Marco Island Iced Tea

My sister and I love a good 5 o’clock cocktail ~ especially one enjoyed by the pool after a long day at “the office.” Try this one out when you’re in need of a little summer lovin’. It’s cool, crisp and tastes just like a refreshing glass of iced tea…with a little zing! Iced tea vodka can be found at most liquor stores. I recommend using Seagram’s Sweet Tea.

You will need:
1.5 ounces iced tea flavored vodka
8 ounces tonic water
A squeeze of lime, plus one lime wedge for garnish

Direction:

Mix all ingredients in a glass and stir.

Add some ice and stir some more.

Garnish with lime.

Sip away to your little heart’s content.

Yield ~ 1 cocktail

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