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Florida Redux: R&R at B&B’s B&B

March 16-22, 2013

A year ago Joann and I visited Florida and reconnected with one of her dearest friends, Bridget. Our meeting with her and husband Barry was a brief one and we promised to do it again soon. It took us almost exactly one year to make it happen. We couldn’t be happier that we did.

First of all, I can’t recommend the hospitality of Barry and Bridge[1] and their golf course-side condo highly enough: the food, the wine, the music, and especially the company was fantastic. I also can’t recommend the March Florida warmth and sunshine highly enough (at a time when daytime temperatures were topping out at about 10°F in the Twin Cities).

We arrived at Barry and Bridge’s place in Vero Beach on Saturday, March 16. We rested briefly and then were treated to “music night” at their friend Dawn’s house. Bridge and Dawn played guitars and sang while Barry used a brush to play a bongo drum. Joann and I listened, and occasionally improvised on one or another of the collection of percussion instruments available (our combined use of a tambourine during a Simon and Garfunkel song was probably our highest achievement).

The stage at the Kilted Mermaid on a night far less crowded than when we were there.After music, appetizers and a couple of glasses of wine, the five of us struck out for a hopping little Vero Beach pub, the Kilted Mermaid. It might have been March 16th in Florida, but it was St. Patrick’s Day GMT. A very talented singer and instrumentalist known as Rowan the Wanderer played a frenetic set of foot-stomping Irish music, and the standing-and-dancing-room-only crowd ate it up. And so did we. The evening ended with a near-stabbing in an argument over the bill (Barry and Bridge didn’t want to let us contribute), but the weapon (a ballpoint pen) did only very minor damage to Joann in the form of a temporary tattoo. We are still laughing about it.

Early Sunday morning, Joann and Bridge put kayaks in the intercoastal waterway early enough to catch the sunrise. Joann fell in the water immediately. Florida or not, it was a little chilly at 7 AM for swimming in sweatpants and a sweatshirt. But soon enough, warm sunshine and dolphins were enough to make her forget the plunge. Meanwhile, back at B&B’s B&B, Barry and I relaxed with coffee, music and conversation.

pixelpixelpixelpixelLater in the day the four of us kept with the St. Patty’s weekend theme and saw a Celtic fusion band play at an outdoor biker bar. “Interesting” is one word that could be used to describe the band and especially its lead singer. I spent most of the show convinced that she was a he. After stopping for lunch at another outdoors St. Patrick’s Day celebration, we visited our hosts’ favorite grocer (the Fresh Market). Barry and Bridge bought steaks and barbecued them for us back at their home.

On our last day on the Atlantic coast, we toured historic downtown Melbourne before dragging Barry and Bridge with us to Viera Wetlands, a favorite spot for Space Coast bird nerds. The place was slower than we had hoped it would be, but we still saw a decent variety of birds.[2] Our hosts seemed to enjoy themselves, though we are not sure we have converted them to anything like full-on birders just yet. Bridget got some nice photos of nesting herons (click through the photo album embedded in this page for an example) and we saw a half-dozen or more alligators.

What did we do to repay our hosts’ kindness and hospitality? Infected their home with the germs of a nasty cold virus, that’s what. I was blindsided during our last few hours in Vero Beach by a whopper of a cold and spent our last night there sneezing my head off. I’m sure I sneezed more than 100 times. Violently. The cold itself ran its course in a matter of a few days. I felt miserable only on the first day of it (our travel day from Vero Beach to the Gulf Coast). Once back in Minnesota, though, I spent a week nursing sore rib cage muscles from all the sneezing.

Barry and Bridge were left with a souvenir of our visit and a little something to remember me by. Yes, they both came down with nasty colds. I hope I didn’t kill any chance we have to be invited back, because I’d like to figure out a way to spend more of our Minnesota winters hanging out at B&B’s B&B.

The end. → → → → →


  1. Barry and Bridge closely guard their Internet privacy. I will be careful not to use their last names in this blog post. In fact, I will refer to them by their Internet codenames: Barry Gibb and Bridget Tygers. [^]
  2. Did we get any chance to do any serious birding while we were in Florida? Of course we did. See Lifebirds #468-470 – Florida Birds, Year Two. [^]

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