I am addicted to restaurants while travelling and since we spend a lot of time in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, I have three favorite restaurants, and a grocery store.
Crabby Bills: Every morning I walk a mile and a half down the beach to Crabby Bill’s, which has been family owned since its founding in 1983. The morning crowd consists of older patrons who are vacationing. or living, near the beach. It is a sports bar, restaurant and hang-out for the under 30 crowd the rest of the day and until 2:00 AM.
The All-American Breakfast is my choice, with 2 eggs, potatoes, crisp bacon and toast for $6. Then it is a mile and a half walk back to the rented condo. In the evening, you can get the menu to go.
Guppy’s: A short walk and excellent food with daily specials; indoors or out. Great fish. The Grouper is expensive as it is over-fished. Small plates and you can share. I get three sides; grilled octopus, spinach and Caesar Salad. Octopus is available thanks to the large Greek community. New Mexico restaurants tend not to serve octopus, so it is always a treat.
A small French restaurant in the edge of Belair and next to Largo and Indian Rocks Beach. Run by a French couple, it is always good and one of our favorite stopping places each time we come.
The desert is great, especially if you can try three at once. Eat desert first, life is short.
The lamb shanks can’t be beat. Not always available but when they are, well worth ordering.
If you want to do your own thing with food prepared for you, take a look at Publix Grocery Stores which now have prepared meals that you cook. There is salmon, meatballs, etc. We tried chicken breasts with feta cheese and spinach and it was great. Cheaper than a restaurant meal and it can be eaten with a glass of wine on your rented condo balcony. The sunset over the Gulf of Mexico is better than any restaurant; and quieter.
We have been coming to Indian Rocks Beach, Florida for several years. Initially we rented a place a few blocks from the beach, but still walkable. For the last three years we have rented a place right on the beach, with a view of the water.
We rent a car, even though there is pretty good public transportation.
We have a routine.
Watching the sea, especially in the evening when the sun goes down, is very relaxing. We come in September, after Labor Day, because it is cheaper, there are fewer people, and we can watch the changes in the weather. Twice, we have been delayed as we followed the hurricanes in.
Hurricanes are scary, but interesting; not only for the changes in the weather, but to watch the destructiveness of the wind and water and the foolishness of people caught up in hurricanes; pre, during and post hurricane.
We fly into Tampa, rent a car at the airport through Costco, and try to find our way out of the airport complex – if you are old and they change the rental car locations, you are glad you come and go on a Saturday, when there was less traffic. There is a 4 story escalator, which didn’t bother you at 50, but which gets your attention at 78. Then a 10 minute train ride to all of the rental agencies and the huge indoor rental car garage.
The beach is a relief and calming. We have a balcony overlooking the water, an indoor well-lit garage for your car, and an elevator.
The beach is swept every morning, the sand is white, This year there was a red tide problem, but except for a couple of days of dead fish on the beach, didn’t bother us.
September can be a problem. It is the month for construction work and repairs, some restaurants are closed, hurricanes can be a problem, and this year the red tide lasted longer than usual. However; in September it is low season so rates are cheaper, traffic is reduced, no problem finding seats in restaurants, no crowds, no spring breaks, changing weather and cooler weather. If you are old, September is the month for you. The whole atmosphere is recharging.
Walking a couple of miles a day on the beach in the early morning is a benefit. Walking to Crabby Bills for breakfast is great. The breakfast is cheap, filling and interesting. Nothing like TV’s broadcasting football games from who knows where at 8 in the morning – the bar also operates at 8 – you can eat outside. It is not crowded and the wait-staff is friendly.
There are numerous book boxes where you can take a book and leave a book. The Largo Library has a genealogy section and there is an Indian Rocks Library with computers, papers, magazines and books for sale.
At night you can walk to a few restaurants including Guppy’s, where you can share a plate and eat octopus.
If you are old, you want to be able to walk if you are going to have wine. News articles about seniors who have accidents always say “an elderly man was driving…” Can you imagine being in the drunk tank at 78? or, trying to walk a straight line, even if you could hear the cop’s directions??
The bottom line is that time spent watching the sea is recharging; especially if you are old. It is a nice rhythm.
Check it out!
Condo Maintenance Work in September!
- Use a reliable rental agent; such as Airbnb.com or VRBO.com.
- Look at the pictures and read the reviews on the web page.
- Determine if you can cancel and the penalties.
- Why are you going to this particular place? Beach? Skiing? Museums? Family?
- Read the contract.
- Take dated cell phone pictures.
- Look for problems; especially old people problems – stairs, rugs, anything that could lead to a fall. Remember the public lights that guide you may also shine in your bedroom window. Construction may start at 8 in the morning. Remember, a beach condo is probably not designed, or furnished, for old people!
- Check all light bulbs – enough light to read by.
- Check, and pitch, food left in refrigerator, or stored.
- Batteries in tv clickers – take spares – I have had battery problems in the last three places I have rented. And, the battery was always the last thing I checked and in each case, fresh batteries made the clicker work. Usually, but not always, there are buttons on the TV – BUT, old people are addicted to clickers and don’t like to get up and walk over to the TV to change the channel.
- Locate instructions for all appliances.
- TVs and electronic devices are probably designed for someone 60 years younger than you. Best to bring a grand-kid with you, if you anticipate TV, computer or cell phone problems.
- Is there construction work taking place? In Indian Rocks Beach, FL, construction work takes place in September – See photo above.
- Are there cleaning supplies?
- Toilet paper, dishwasher soap, laundry soap? The owner, previous tenant, cleaning company all use different brands than you do. Get over it! Adapt!
- Sheets, towels, dishes, etc.?
- Parking spaces and car tags?
- Heating and air conditioning?
- Name and cell phone number of contact person for problems – ie lock box doesn’t work late at night when you arrive and you can’t figure out how to get in the unit.
- Deadlines for leaving – ie cleaning crew has to come in.
- Restaurant guides – can you walk there?
- Public transportation, if you need it.
- Uber or Lyft available?
- Light from glass brick walls, windows without shades, or from public areas?
- Read the book of comments.
- Communicate by e-mail so that you have a record.
- Insurance – damage, illness, death, cancellation for any reason?
- Seasons – On Florida beaches, September is the time to repair in anticipation of the high season, it is also hurricane season and low season – you probably got a good price, but you may have to put up with closed businesses, construction work, bad weather, air plane cancellations/delays, etc. SPRING BREAK – NOT A TIME FOR OLD PEOPLE – Think about it!
- Red Tide or other natural or man-made disasters. – Have you gone swimming in the ocean since you turned 70? Who is responsible?
- Why did you pick the place? low season, cost, hurricane, knew the area???
- What was disclosed?
- Don’t forget that your i-phone is a flashlight?
- Is there a library near by? newspapers, computers, books for sale cheap, information on local events, museums, etc.
- Hospitals, CVS clinics available? – Can your local pharmacy send meds to an out-of-state pharmacy? Old people must have their meds – lack of meds will panic an old person quicker than anything else.
- What do you do if you can’t make the TV work?
- Old people tend to make mountains out of mole hills on vacation; instead of adapting and enjoying.
What you can do!
- Call contact person.
- Notify VRBO.com or Airbnb.com.
- E-mail, so that there is a record.
- IS THE PERCEIVED PROBLEM WORTH THE EFFORT? YOU DIDN’T COME ON A VACATION TO MOVE TO A NEW UNIT, TO COMPLAIN, OR TO SPEND YOUR TIME RUNNING AROUND. WHY DEAL WITH WHAT IS REALLY NOT A PROBLEM – AND PROBABLY JUST A NUISANCE.
- You are not here to litigate, but to enjoy yourself.
After three weeks!
THINK OLD! Especially when you are on vacation.
Walking on the beach and breakfast at Crabby Bill’s in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida.
I was raised in the mid-west and have lived in New Mexico for over 50 years, so the beach has always drawn me.
My wife’s family lived in Largo, Florida and Indian Rocks Beach has been a place she has been familiar with for over 50 years.The attraction has rubbed off on me.
Our life there is simple. We rent a condo overlooking the beach, we rent a car through Costco, we use Uber, we go to the library and frequent consignment stores. We have wi-fi. Good restaurants are within walking distance.
My morning routine is what makes my day. I wake-up early and walk a mile and a half on the beach to Crabby Bill’s, a restaurant/bar that awakens at 7:00 AM. It is simple, indoors and outdoors, and caters to different customers depending on the time of the day. At 8:00 AM there is a smaller more mature crowd. At noon and in the evening they serve great fresh fish and beer at long communal tables.
Prior to breakfast is a stop at the CVS Pharmacy next door for the New York Times, a habit I have even in New Mexico. (Today, the first time in years, they didn’t know what I was talking about when I asked for the NY Times.)
As an aside, since old people always have something wrong with them, don’t forget that CVS Pharmacies have a “Minute Clinic.” They can handle all sorts of minor health problems; and, if nothing else triage you and get you more help if needed. You can get a place in line on-line, but I have always found them to be quick, helpful and professional. Why go to an emergency room unless it is an emergency?
I read the times while eating the All American Special with crisp bacon for $6.00. I then walk a mile and a half back to the condo; hopefully with a new blog topic.
Fresh air, great breakfast and the news by 9:00. What could be better?
We are spending the month of September on the beach in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida. My wife was raised on Long Island and grew up around beaches; but after 50 years in New Mexico is not sure she wanted to live East. Her parents lived here for 45 years so she is familiar with the area.
At 76, moving to a new place, even for a month, requires a “senior’s” perspective.
We need a purpose. We don’t swim, golf, play tennis, or do any of the usual things. We walk, do yoga and read. We like to eat out; and, most importantly we like to sit on the balcony and watch the gulf – especially if there is a hurricane. September 2016 is perfect. We rented a 4th floor condo overlooking the gulf and Hurricane Hermine hit on September 1.
The plan is that my wife will paint and I will work on geezer2go!
I hope to tell you about our experiences; day-by-day, with a 5 day lag for editing. The blog will continue its “senior twist.” I will suggest some providers, but don’t be limited by what I suggest. Use your own common sense.
Being old and fearful, preparation is everything:
- Money – cash in a money belt, two credit cards, and a debit card. Take a few blank checks with you. If you need something notarized, Bank of America will do it, at least if you are a customer.
- Prescriptions – Enough for a month with extra in case you overstay. Contact your pharmacist to arrange to have your prescriptions filled at a chain drug store where you are going if you run into problems.
- Uber – Join and experiment with Uber in advance. It is quick, cheap and safe. You don’t have to worry about a tip. See my Uber Blog.
- Airplane tickets – SouthWest. They have a senior fare, if you cancel, you get a credit, there are two bags free, and since they don’t transfer bags to other carriers, they don’t seem to lose them. Get your boarding passes on-line exactly 24 hours before your flight.
- Chargers – I only blog to old people who know how to use the internet. You need chargers for smart phones, computers and i-pads. If you do forget chargers, stop by a hotel/motel. They usually have extras that people left behind. Tip the desk clerk.
- Back-up numbers – A list of phone numbers that you need. Kids, neighbors, place you are going, favorite restaurants, etc. You can never find a phone book, and if you do, it is out-of-date.
- Auto-pay – All deposits including social security, dividends, etc. should be made electronically. You should use e-bills. If you can’t, estimate the amount that you might owe while gone and pay ahead.
- Wi-fi – make sure that where you are going has wi-fi. Even at 76, you need it. If you don’t have it, or if it is bad, learn how to use your smart phone personal hotspot. I have T-mobile and for a few bucks a month was able to hook-up my computer at places without wi-fi.
- Rent Car – Rent it off airport. Cheaper and you avoid driving on the maze of roads around most airports; especially Tampa. Enterprise as it has a free pick-up service. You can use Super-shuttle to get from most airports. You may also be able to use Uber. Try CostCo Travel for good rates.
- Join Silver Sneakers – Free and nation-wide. Access to thousands of exercise classes, yoga classes, Pilates classes and YMCA’s.
- Sick/hurt – Unless it is serious, remember urgent care facilities or the CVS Pharmacy Minute Clinics. Quick, they take Medicare and you can reserve your place in line, on-line. For minor injuries. More importantly, they can recognize serious problems and get you help.
- Packing – I am old. I need less clutter. I travel with a carry-on bag, which I check. For Florida, 7 t-shirts, 7 underpants, sandals, shoes, 3 socks, 3 handkerchiefs, 7 short-sleeved shirts, hat, umbrella, plastic rain poncho, shorts, 2 pair light weight travel pants. I will use the washer/dryer/laundry 4 times. I check the bag so I can get around in terminals and don’t worry too much if I lose it. I also have a brief-case with a notebook, an i-pad, with 600 kindle books and my favorite magazines, and my cell phone. Plus the chargers. What else do I need. Certainly not 3 large suitcases.
This is my preparation. I have high-lighted the web pages of my sources so that you can check them out for yourself. When you are old: TRUST, BUT VERIFY!
Old and going on a beach vacation doesn’t require much. I am a minimalist senior. I can’t tote heavy bags, much less lift them into the overhead airplane compartment. I don’t want to sort things. I am in an “elder rut” and only wear certain easy things I like. I usually leave my checkered pants with the zipper that doesn’t work at home.
In fact, as you can see from the picture, this does not just apply to beach vacations, but to any trip you take after 75, or some other arbitrary date.
I am not going to impress anyone if I don’t wear the latest styles. I won’t be denied admission to any beach restaurant as long as I have the required “shirt and shoes.” I have thought about not wearing pants, but…..
You also have what you wear from home to the beach; and, which can serve in an emergency as extra clothing. It might include an umbrella, raincoat, watch, cell-phone, wallet, travel bag and a light jacket. When you arrive, you take it off: when you leave, you put it back on. No washing necessary.
The following is all that you need for a week, a month or a year. You can wash it all in the sink. During rainy season, you might add an umbrella, or just stay inside.
The following is all you need for a week, a month or a year.
- Shorts with pockets that don’t lose change and wallet.
- 5 t-shirts
- 5 underpants
- Toilet kit with meds
- Laptop, i-pad, case and chargers. You download all your books on the Kindle App., and net flex and perhaps some streaming.
It all fits in a small carry-on bag, including the lap-top or i-pad and cords.