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    Friday, 16 May 2014

    Anna Maria Island Rental - Berryfish, a Charming Family Getaway on AMI

    I grew up on Anna Maria and still have family there, so I visit quite frequently. Sometimes a day trip is sufficient, but often my husband and two-year old daughter and I enjoy renting a vacation home for a long weekend so we can have our own little home base. 

    Last weekend we stayed in Berryfish for the first time, and found ourselves utterly charmed by this family-friendly getaway.

    Berryfish villa on Anna Maria Island
    Berryfish AMI

    Located just steps from the Gulf of Mexico, Berryfish is the perfect vacation rental for a family retreat. The sprawling yet approachable villa is welcoming from the moment you see it, thanks in large to its brightly inviting teal color and whimsical detailing.  Its duplex-style, wide expanses of communal spaces, and clever hidden bedrooms make it the ideal getaway for people who value togetherness but still want the opportunity to sneak away for a little alone time. Honestly, even one side of the duplex was probably a little too spacious for a family of three: luckily though, that meant we had plenty of space when my sister and her husband and their brood of three children descended on us for a day. With four kids under the age of five in one house naptimes can be a real challenge, especially when no one’s on the same schedule. The expansive layout and abundance of rooms made it much simpler for us to accommodate them throughout the day.
    Anna Maria Island Beach
    Exploring Anna Maria Beach

    There is bounteous parking downstairs at Berryfish, but you’ll likely find (as we did) that you won’t need your car much. The villa is located just a few blocks away from Historic Pine Avenue which has all the amenities you need within a ten or fifteen minute walk. The well-stocked Anna Maria General Store carries a surprising array of snacks, beverages, and delicious take-out as well as all the fixings for a mimosa (a key vacation supply for me). There are also numerous restaurants and eateries within walking distance. We made the five minute walk to the Anna Maria Donut Shop daily, and returned to their neighbors Poppo’s Taqueria at lunch for takeout. We brought this sustainable and authentic mission-style Mexican food back to Berryfish and enjoyed it on the deck with cold beers and tart lime wedges. It was pretty much perfect.

    The front deck itself features amenities like a large personalized picnic table and an outdoor grill, which was perfect for cooking up hot dogs, burgers and veggies as we took in the view of the sun setting over the Gulf. The kitchen had pretty much every tool we needed to cook with ease. Some of the plates were mismatched and obviously a little out-of-style, but that just added to the charm and authenticity of the house. There’s also a back balcony which overlooks the large shared backyard with a well-sized pool right in the middle. The area is amply shaded and streaked with golden spots of sunlight, so you can soak up the sun to your heart’s content or stay cool in the shadows.
    Berryfish Anna Maria Island
    Berryfish's Backyard

    We’ve stayed all over the Island, and have had the pleasure of staying in some very posh and upscale rentals in the past. Berryfish was on par with those rentals in terms of size and atmosphere, but it was the little touches that differentiated it. The shelves were filled with well-worn board games and books, and the sofas were plush and comfortable in a way that indicates they were selected for comfort over looks. We felt at home instantly: as nice as it was, it was easy to forget it was a rental thanks to the small details.
    View of Anna Maria Beach from Berryfish
    View of Anna Maria Beach from Berryfish's Deck

    We’ve stayed in lots of vacation houses – Berryfish is the first place that I would really call a vacation home though, and that makes all the difference. 

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