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    Tuesday, 6 May 2014

    Girls Weekend on Anna Maria Island

    I love birthdays. Not just my own birthday: I love picking out the perfect gift for the people I love and baking delicious cakes and planning special surprises.

    Unfortunately, because I am so often the designated party-thrower my own birthday can sometimes be overlooked. It used to bother me a little, but then I came to the conclusion that I don’t need someone else to throw me a party. I can just throw my own. After all, no one knows better than I do what I like and I am seriously awesome at planning stuff.

    I turned 33 in mid-April, but I was really too busy to plan myself the perfect birthday soiree. I had a sick toddler, tons of work, and a lot of fundraising to do for the All Faiths Food Bank Campaign Against Summer Hunger. But the delay turned out to be perfect – that meant I had plenty of time to plan the perfect party for me. I used to love being in the center of attention, but now that I have a toddler, those days are past. Honestly, I’d rather spend special occasions soaking up some much needed quietness and solitude. So I called my best friend Abby (who is similarly solitary-minded) to see how she’d feel about a low-key girls’ getaway weekend. She is also a work-at-home mom with a lot on her plate, so she jumped at the chance for a weekend gal pal getaway.

    Abby and I are both freelance writers, so we can work pretty much anywhere we want. With that in mind we decided to check into Plumfish our vacation rental property on Friday afternoon and get a head start on the weekend. We popped over to the gem of a general store in the neighborhood and stocked up on some excellent wine and cheese for dinner.
    Plumfish - Anna Maria Island Rental
    Plumfish - Anna Maria Island

    We woke up Saturday morning and after enjoying a coffee on our private deck overlooking the beautiful Hammock Bayou,  we decided to indulge a little and made our way to Anna Maria Donuts where we enjoyed piping hot donuts with an array of inventive custom toppings. I heartily recommend the maple bacon, which perfectly balances sweet and salty.

    After that we decided to be responsible and get a little work done, so we made our way down the street with our laptops until we stumbled upon the quaint haven that is Ginny and Jane E’s. Part café, part curiosity shop, this charming place gave us plenty to look at, from handcrafted works by local artists, to vintage lighting to offbeat little tchotchkes. Abby, who is married to Sarasota’s best salvage designer, felt right at home amongst the whimsical oddities.

    Finally though we got serious and settled in at one of the large communal tables for guests. Because Abby is sensible, she ordered a traditional cappuccino. Because I never met a pun I couldn’t resist, I ordered the Mork and Minty (their name for a peppermint mocha). Soon our tummies began to rumble and we realized it was lunch o’clock. Though it was well after noon, they were happy to serve us the Mediterranean Breakfast Wraps we ordered, assuring us they did breakfast sandwiches all day.

    After an exhausting morning of stuffing our faces, we needed a break. So, we meandered over to Salon Salon and wound down from our intense day of eating delicious food by getting deep tissue massages and spa pedicures. Then we headed back to our rental house for a nap. Hey, it’s hard work but someone has to do it!

    Once we had awakened refreshed from our beauty naps, we headed over to check out the craft bar at The Waterfront Restaurant. Abby is a sucker for anything with rose water so she opted for a Michter in the Rye on the rocks which features Michter’s Rye Whiskey, Luxardo Liqueur, orange bitters, rose water, and lime zest. I went for a crisp and refreshing Pineapple Caipirinha which is simply Novo Fogo Cachaca with muddled, freshly-cut lime and pineapple on the rocks. We were still a little full from lunch, so we decided to split a few appetizers rather than overdo it with a generously-sized main course. The baked brie was light and crispy on the outside and rich and delectable in the middle, and the fried green tomatoes were perfectly tangy and salty. For dessert? Another cocktail, of course. Or maybe even two! They’re just so fresh and perfectly prepared that they are tough to resist.

    Anna Maria Island Waterfront Bar ingredients
    Waterfront Craft Bar Ingredients

    Cocktail Waterfront Restaurant Anna Maria
    Cocktail at the Waterfront Restaurant 

    Sunday morning we were still recovering from our weekend of sheer indulgence, so we slept late and soaked up some sun round the pool at Plumfish for a few hours before hitting the road home. And though we’re still recovering from our weekend of gluttony we can’t wait to return. In fact, we’re thinking the Island might be the perfect place for an upcoming writers’ retreat we’re planning. The only trick will be convincing our husbands that this time we’re going back to paradise to work instead of play. I guess I could always plan an early birthday retreat instead. I am happy to turn 34 a year ahead of schedule if I get another weekend like that out of the deal. 

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