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    Monday, 24 March 2014

    Easter on Anna Maria Island

    I have fond memories of growing up on Anna Maria Island and like most parents I get especially nostalgic around the holidays. 

    Now that my daughter is walking and talking and really soaking up the world around her I am anxious to share with her the experiences I had growing up. That’s why my little family ends up spending most of our holidays (including this coming Easter) in Anna Maria.

    Growing up, Easter was a pretty major family affair. My aunt was a school teacher in Michigan, and her spring break often coincided with ours. So she and my uncle would make the trip down with our three cousins so we could all spend the week together. We’d make room for them in our family home and spend the weekend riding our bikes to the old Eckerd’s drugstore, sampling treats from every ice cream shop in town, and soaking up the sun on the beach. It was so cool seeing our little resort community through the eyes of our northern relatives; it was always like being on vacation right in our own backyard.

    But the best part of the week was always on Easter Sunday. Our parents always made sure to make the holiday really special for us. The Easter Bunny would leave clues for us to follow and we would embark on an epic scavenger hunt. Along the way, we’d find Easter eggs and giant chocolate bunnies and stuffed animals, and at the end there would always be giant Easter baskets for each one of us. One especially memorable year our pool was filled with brand-new inflatable pool toys including a giant alligator raft, and we all immediately jumped in to play with them still in our Easter dresses.
    Anna Maria Island Easter Parade
    Easter Parade on Anna Maria

    Now that all the kids have grown up and left the nest, there’s no longer a big family home where we can all congregate, and between my cousins, my sister, and myself we have eight kids under the age of six (with another one due any day now) so we take up a little more space than we used to. But that doesn’t stop us from continuing our family traditions. We still congregate in Anna Maria: now though, we just rent a house (or two, or three) and settle in for the holiday. We love riding the trolley down to the beach, or renting a surrey bike from Beach Bums so even the littlest kids can enjoy a scenic tour of Historic Pine Avenue. And of course we’re still on a mission to come to a consensus on the perfect ice cream cone (currently Dips is in the lead, but it’s got some competition).

    Obviously, I have a real connection Anna Maria, so I’m a little biased. Still I recommend to everyone that I know that they come out and experience Easter in paradise at least once. Even if you don’t participate in the plethora of Easter activities on offer around the Island, I guarantee you’ll create your own traditions worth coming back for. 

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