Contact me!

Name
Name
           

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

blog

This is the Ktcraig design blog. Here I highlight recent projects or releases of new books, give my latest travel ideas, and showcase DIY design ideas and visual inspirations.

My birthday week should be my runaway week.

Katie Craig

• BLOG •

© Katie Craig
© Katie Craig Tulum for Two
© Katie Craig Tulum Decor

My birthday, hits in the last week of February. Absolutely the worst week of the year (in New England). Every year I think my memory may have exaggerated my dislike of winter. I think, "Wow! I'm really ok with this whole thing! This year I will embrace the crisp cold days and see the beauty." And I do. Then February hits. And I don't. I hate February! That's all there is to it.

I really should be able to run away to a warm spot every year around my birthday week and then I'd be fine! I've ALMOST managed it on a regular basis but this year it just isn't in the cards (or wallet, actually). So, I will travel back in time to my birthday last year when my sister gave me the best birthday gift of all. She took me to Tulum Mexico for 5 nights. It was perfectly fabulous. Many friends have asked for my tips and recommendations since on what to do there. Here's what I've passed along!

First off, Tulum is a bit different than what I usually gravitate towards for a vacation. I like to be off the beaten path and Tulum is not that. There are a lot of people. The beach is lined with bathing bodies lying on lounge chairs, sipping various drinks. It took me a bit to get comfortable with the close quarters but once I did, I really enjoyed the people watching. There are a lot of completely different folks enjoying the beach side-by-side and some of the contradictions are really entertaining.

There was a girl that obviously frequented the beach a lot. It was obvious because she opted not to wear anything but her leather colored skin and was always asleep on her back spread eagle in the sand. She lay in the same spot every day and I never saw her awake. It was fun watching the neighboring family navigate their way past her clad in their sun hats, sun shirts, zinc smeared noses and a plethora of blowup animals and floating rafts.

That said the latter was more of an anomaly than the sun sizzling girl. There are more of the yoga swans and bohemian chic couples. Not so over the top stylish that you feel you need to go buy a whole new wardrobe for the trip, but stylish as in it's a nice excuse to get a long, gauzey dress. It's an easy, breezy dress and flip flop spot rather than t-shirts and surf shorts. 

I would recommend going with the cash you want on hand rather than waiting to get it once there. There are plenty of easy to find cash machines but I know of a lot of people whose cards were hacked and it was traced back to those machines. Even a particularly careful friend who biked to town to get cash from a machine at the bank itself, ran into the same issues. Everyone accepts cards but it's nice to have some cash for tips and getting drinks from those lounge chairs.

The airport is about an hour away from Tulum so you want to arrange for a service to bring you there. A taxi will knock you back big bucks and there's no need to rent a car once there. Plus if you did, you'd miss out on the best part which is using the cool cruiser bikes! My sister arranged to have American Transfers pick us up and it was smooth, easy, and well worth it. If it seems a too pricey to you, I have friends that took the ADO public bus and said it was fine too. 

We stayed at Casa Violeta and I loved it. The rooms had the rustic beach-hut feel I was really hoping for but with an easy stylish flare.

We stayed in "Lily" for the first part of the our stay. It was lovely.

We stayed in "Lily" for the first part of the our stay. It was lovely.

This was the shower. And yes, that is a screen to the open air above. 

This was the shower. And yes, that is a screen to the open air above. 

© Katie Craig

Violeta also has a beautiful little restaurant on the beach which served a simple breakfast and great pizza in the evenings. It was the perfect spot to gaze at the life of the beautiful owner, Karla. She looks like the queen of the yoga swans, all while bouncing her cute little baby on her bikini framed hip with little awareness to the idyllic dream-life she seems to embody. 

Our breakfast spot. 

Our breakfast spot. 

and the other direction.

and the other direction.

We then stayed in "Lotus". Also lovely and a bit more private.

We then stayed in "Lotus". Also lovely and a bit more private.

© Katie Craig
© Katie Craig

There are tons of options of places to stay and there are much fancier choices but Violeta's low key beauty matched my personality perfectly. We did tour around to check out a few other places in case we were to return and here were my thoughts:

We got a tour of Casa Encantada and they were my top pick for the most romantic rooms. Ana Y Jose looked like it would be nice if you have kids with you because it had alot of little pools here and there and a bigger area to explore including more restaurants on the property, though a bit swishy for me. Cabanas Tulum had the best location with more room on each side of the hotel so it felt a bit less crowded in front. A friend stayed at Nueva Vida de Ramiro and she loved the location and the "adults only" section which had newer, nicer rooms (pick one with a balcony!). She liked the breakfasts delivered to the room but didn't love the restaurant.

When looking for a place be pre-warned, none are Mexican beach shack prices. More American style rates, no amazing bargains to be had.

Everything there is beautiful. It is as if a designer came in and created a style guide for the whole place to stick to a branded look and feel. I wanted to bring it all home! Beyond the beautiful places to stay, the food is amazing. My sister is a true foodie, and I often opt for a well designed space for inspiration. Tulum checks off both boxes at almost all the spots so we were both super happy. Here are some of our top picks.

  • La Eufemia: on the beach, BEST fish tacos ever! But, it is hot in the sun so if they don't have seats available under the roof it may be good to try another time.
© Katie Craig
© Katie Craig
  • Casa Banana: the BEST Margaritas and Ceviche Carpaccio ever. And is was so beautiful! I loved this place.
© Katie Craig
© Katie Craig
© Katie Craig
  • Coqui Coqui: A fancy pants spot that the movie stars like to frequent because it is a bit obscure but pretty cool. I bumped into Jake Gyllenhaal there (literally, almost knocked me to the ground!). I now have a mini crush on him because he seemed very humble and sweet despite the fact girls were all fluffing up around him and feigning coquettishness while he bought them expensive hats as they exclaimed how "cute" they were.

    Coqui has a pretty little boutique, priced for movie stars, but they also are a perfumer. I splurged on a bottle of "Flor de Naranja" (they have small bottles in the store not nearly as pricey as online) and I'm so glad I did. Incense and scented salts are EVERYWHERE in Tulum so the smell brings me right back! Which sounds horrible but the smells there are really, really nice so bringing home a scent is a perfect way to remember Tulum. My sister splurged on a massage for me at Cogui and it was in a truly spectacular room.
Coqui Coqui Massage room

Coqui Coqui Massage room

© Katie Craig
  • Hartwood: (right across the street from Coqui Coqui) WAY too popular for my liking and very difficult to actually get in. But my sister gets in EVERYWHERE and I've never really understood how. But far be it from me to figure it out now! If you do want to go there they recommend lining up at 2:00. We stopped in at about 6:00 pm to see if they could fit us in, and of course somehow they did! If you do manage to get in, they have THE BEST ice cream I’ve ever had. I got a scoop of cheese and a scoop of cinnamon. I don’t like ice cream, and this was amazing. (Another keepsake idea, when you get home, pick up this beautiful book!)
© Katie Craig
  • Be Tulum: Beautiful decor Worth going for a romantic cocktail or lunch. Pricey but so, so pretty. 
© Katie Craig
© Katie Craig
© Katie Craig
  • Casa Jaguar: Nice spot for dinner. Beautiful outdoor eating and cute waiters!
© Katie Craig
  • Zebra: Fun salsa dancing on the beach on Sunday nights.
  • Posada Margarita: A lot of people recommend it for Italian. It was a bit out of the way for us to walk and I didn’t feel like Italian. We didn't eat there but we just went to check it out. It was really pretty with lots of candles but it was absolutely PACKED. I bumped into Jake again so that was fun, but I'm not sure I would bother with that kind of wait and crowd. Seems slightly odd to have Italian when there. But I did really like the boutique. Pricey but if you haven’t gotten anything yet, I would recommend it as the boutique to see.
  • We biked down south to the biosphere and tried to get to a bridge we'd heard of that has a lot of crocodiles under it. After biking for EVER, we never made it to the bridge. So it is a bit far I’d say. But I do wish we had poked our head in to the cenote right at the entrance to the jungle. We had biked for too long and weren’t sure how safe it was for 2 girls alone but since then I know it is fine. Don’t bother with the cenote in the middle of town behind the wooden fence. You have to pay to get in, which we did, and it was totally nothing.
  • The Ruins: They are worth going to but it is a bit of a bike ride so go super early before it's too hot or crowded cuz it can be VERY crowded with a long wait to get in.
© Katie Craig

I thought the little shops and boutiques in Tulum had really interesting designs. Most of them were in containers! Once you noticed, it was so fun to see what they did with a simple metal box. Seemed like the result of some great design challenge!

Tulum is a great spot for a girls getaway or romantic escape with beautiful design inspiration and delicious food. It is the perfect birthday runaway gift!

Katie Craig is available for travel writing (family, with kids, girls getaways and romantic escapes)

• BLOG •

Time for a Vacation (even if vicariously).

Katie Craig

• BLOG •

I lived in the Caribbean a life time ago. It was great. I absolutely loved the adventure, the outdoor lifestyle, and the huge variety of places our friends came from. I highly recommend it when you are young. My boyfriend at the time (now my husband) worked as the editor of the newspaper for the West Indies and I worked in a surf shop selling bathing suits, practicing retail french, and sailing on the windsurfing "team" on my free time. I was the only girl on the team and the sport was relatively new. It was empowering, exciting, and a total blast. I miss it, or perhaps I just miss being young!

Now, because I lived there, and because it is widely known that I do not like winter, around this time of year many friends ask me for tips and recommendations on travel plans. I have been asked enough times that I thought it may be helpful to start posting my responses here. I research trips all the time and occasionally I'm lucky enough to go on one. But I always enjoy it whether vicariously or in actuality. Lately a friend asked about my recommendations for her upcoming trip to St. Maartin (the island we lived on). As I told her, I want to preface this with the fact that alot of my information is old BUT I think the generalities still hold true.

She started with this: "Did you say that you used to live on St Maarten? We will be there over winter break, We are thinking about renting bicycles to tour the island and are hoping to check out some beaches and go snorkeling. What would you recommend?"

I had to respond because of the comment about bicycles alone. First tip? DO NOT RENT BIKES. My response in full: 

Yes we did live there a life time ago! But even back then I would never recommend biking. WAY too much traffic, the roads are really crazy and are not (or weren’t) set up for biking. I would definitely say no to that. But, there are some nice spots. My tips: 

• Personally I prefer the french side (Saint Martin) over the dutch side (Sint Maarten) just because the dutch side is more defined by the cruise ships. It is more about t-shirt shops and tourist stops while the french side feels more.... well, French! It's more about food, beautiful boats in the harbor, and being chic. If you are just going to opt for walking around town and lunch then I’d say Marigot over Philipsburg. Also, there is a lovely open-air market along the wharves of the Boulevard de France on Wednesdays and Saturday mornings. Full of fruit, spices, and fresh fish it's a must stop if you are cooking for yourself or just because it is so pretty.

The beaches we loved are: 

Baie Longue which was always totally empty and had the most heavenly water. LONG for nice walks. There was only one hotel on it back then at one end of the beach,  called La Samanna (named after the 3 daughters of the original owner. Samantha, Anouk and Nathalie) and the rest was pure heaven. I remember floating one day and not being able to discern the sky from the sea.

Baie de L’Embouchure is the best spot for windsurfing and, consequently, where we spent most of our days. It is known as Le Galion after the abandoned hotel there. Pat Turner runs a windsurf and water sports shack on the beach called Tropical Wave. Pat is a good friend and a great guy. It is the best spot to learn how to windsurf, to scream out some speed runs across the bay (my favorite), or go a bit further out and catch some waves at the reef. 

Baie Aux Prunes was also really nice but smaller than Baie Longue so now might feel more crowded. It used to have maybe 10 people at most on it. The brush is a bit closer so it was one of the few that had some pick pocketers lurking so be a bit wary.

Grand Case was my favorite town for dinner. Back then it was small, sweet, and really romantic with a cool surfer crowd. I know it has been built up quite a bit but it still has some amazing restaurants.

• I’d avoid Orient Beach. Though the beach and water is amazing, it is the nudist colony and used to attract the worst kind of tourists (and LOTS of them) and I would imagine still does. Personally, the less clothing I have on the less people I gravitate towards. But some feel the opposite! Whatever floats your boat, but when I went inside to the bar/restaurant to look for a friend, it hadn't crossed my mind that the waiters and everyone sitting at the place would be naked too! The beach is one thing but lets just say, bar stools were not made for bottomless bottoms as far as I'm concerned. It didn't really enhance the thought of eating there.

• If it is the end of a trip and you’ve had too much beach time and want to do something a bit different, there was a nice little hike that gives you a great view of the islands called Paradise Peak. Back then it was not at all maintained and it was hard to find the trail. But at the top there was always a lovely breeze and a surprisingly beautiful view for a short climb.

Anguilla was really the best spot for snorkeling and it is a quick boat ride away and sort of fun to pop over, though you will need your passport for customs. It has become a hot spot for the fabulously wealthy but there is a law that all beaches are public domain so it is surprisingly welcoming! You just can't use the umbrellas or chairs from the hotel unless you are a guest but the beaches are open to all and they are really spectacular. 

• Just one more thing, not to bring it down too much. The island is known as the "friendly island". It is true, but it does have its fair share of crime as do all the islands. Nothing more than common-sense deserves but leave your fancy jewels at home.

That is my super duper quick low-down on St. Martin. Ahhh, that was a fun little trip! Brings me right back to the days of this:

 
I didn't really take many pictures back then, but one of the rare shots to prove to my kids (and myself) that it really happened. 

I didn't really take many pictures back then, but one of the rare shots to prove to my kids (and myself) that it really happened. 

 

Katie Craig is available for travel writing (with kids, girls getaways and romantic escapes)

• BLOG •

Let the Makeover Begin!

Katie Craig

• BLOG •

So the bad part of being a designer is the trickle down effect. Well, it isn't exactly bad, it's just tiring!!

I have dreamt about fixing up, making-over, and adding on to our house constantly, but I don't manage much more than making a pinterest board . My 14 year old daughter on the other hand, is ready to makeover the entire house. She has really impressive plans for my office which involve a new rug, a new light fixture, a new couch, a new chair.... you get the picture. She pretty much has the same plans for all our other rooms too. After saying I can't afford her dreamy makeover ideas over and over, I got a bit tired! So when she asked if she could simply paint her room, I said sure! Next thing I know she had moved all the furniture and started, before I had a chance to give her my painting 101 basics! (I used to paint houses in college for extra money). So I gave her a whirlwind condensed version, fought off my perfectionism tendencies, and decided to let her just do it. Turns out she is an excellent painter! It also turns out, letting your child try to do more than you thought they could is a good idea. She really thrived with the task.

She picked Benjamin Moore Gray Cashmere for the walls, which I suggested we cut in half. It is now absolutely my favorite color for a sunny bedroom. It is so beautiful! But just a fresh coat of paint didn't quite transform the room enough. So we searched for some birch tree wallpaper to create an accent wall. Wallpaper doesn't look too expensive, but the price is by square foot so for just one wall it was going to cost at least $400, and that didn't include the labor to actually apply it! I didn't feel I could take on the task of wallpapering myself, so we looked for a stencil instead and found this beautiful one from StenCilit on Etsy for $59.97. It has pretty easy instructions so we decided to give it a go. 

First we painted the wall a basic white with an eggshell finish, then taped the stencil to the top corner and rolled the Gray Cashmere (but in full strength to give a bit more contrast) over the stencil to create the trees. This was easy and came out perfectly! After that you tape the stencil so the pattern overlaps and lines up with what you just did. Now you have to let go of the word perfect. After that first application the stencil sort of warps and distorts from the wet paint and can no longer lie perfectly flat. BUT it's ok! Just sort of work with it and get it close enough. Surprisingly you don't notice the imperfections and it actually contributes to how cool the wall looks when you are done. I love it!

The only problem is, now the rest of the house looks really shabby in comparison. We just may have to bring some of my dreamy pinterest boards to life after all. Let the makeover begin!

(Since writing this, I'm so happy to say Stencilit featured our makeover on their blog! See it here!)

The makeover complete!

The makeover complete!

• BLOG •

Make a Simple Pony Pillow for NSM Day!

Katie Craig

• BLOG •

Ok there seems to be a holiday for pretty much everything these days. Did you know today is National Sewing Machine Day? This seems a little silly really, but then again... it is a pretty amazing invention!

I remember asking for one when I was in high school. Little did I know, my father had a great admiration for sewing machines. He said yes, BUT, he wanted to do some research. He didn't feel it was worth getting one unless it was a good one. Mind you, this was long before Craigslist so he searched the local classifieds for far too long. I just wanted to try sewing! I didn't really care what kind of machine I had. Until one day when he found a PFAFF

So we trudged over to the house of the woman selling it and I waited while she and my dad carefully went through every feature of the machine and all its capabilities (and I mean EVERY feature). She was obviously a Pfaff fan too. I turned over my half of the cost and finally, I had a sewing machine.

To this day I have never used any of the fancy features, and I grumble and moan every time I lug the thing out (it is made entirely of metal, no plastic parts, so it is HEAVY!). But I must admit, I too am now a Pfaff fan. I think of my dad every time I use it. He always sets standards high, and can make things a bit more complicated than need be, but he is so incredibly impressed by ingenuity and so appreciates good craftsmanship. For this he gets as excited as a little boy. And I love that.

But now that I have kids I honestly find I don't really pull out my sewing machine that much! I like to find projects we can do together or even that they can take on by them selves. One day I'll  let them lug that thing out but for now lets all give three cheers to the beloved sewing machine, YES! But maybe celebrate with a nice simple craft perhaps. My friend Deanna and I made a super cute pillow in the our new book Horse Play! if you want to give it a try! Here are the steps below (pick up the book for some more great projects).

"Sew" a Pony Pillow! 

(from the book Horse Play!)

• Buy a pillow (or sew one if you can!). I got this one at Target.

• If you bought the Horse Play! book, use the provided stencil. If not, draw a really simple pony head on a piece of paper.

• Tape the stencil to the middle of a sheet of felt. If you drew one yourself, cut out your pony shape and tape it to the middle of a sheet of felt.

• Trace around your drawing with a marker (I found a sharpie to be the best). 

•Then cut out the pony shape.

• Flip it over so you don't see the marker lines.

 • Attach the pony to your pillow by sewing on a yarn mane. Thread a long piece of yarn on a needle and knot the end. Hide the knot behind the felt then sew big loops through the pillow and up through the edge of the pony's neck, as shown below. Continue all along the pony’s neck. Knot and trim the other end of yarn. Then lift the parts of the felt not sewn on and glue to the pillow. Be sure to cover the yarn under the felt and all edges with your glue so the horse really sticks.

•  Then, if you'd like,  snip the yarn loops to create the mane effect. Now you have a pony pillow to decorate your room!

Horse-Play_Pillow-blog.jpg

• BLOG •

Weekends in Vermont

Katie Craig

• BLOG •

I went to visit my dear friend Betsy in Vermont over the weekend. Vermont is just so beautiful! It is...

rolling hills,

walk

fresh swimming holes,

IMG_3501.jpg

deep quarries

and tall trees. 

 
 

Betsy introduced me to a cocktail that I loved, so I thought I'd share it! 
I can't remember what she called it but I'm calling it a Grapefruit Splash.

 
 

Betsy's Grapefruit Splash
(this is for one drink. Ok, ...triple the measurements)

• 3 Tablespoons Good Tequila (like Patron or Herradura)

• 2 Tablespoons Elderflower liquor

• 1 Tablespoon Lime juice or 1/2 a lime squeezed.

• 3 Tablespoons Grapefruit juice (fresh squeezed really is the key to this drink)

• Top off with San Pellegrino Grapefruit Soda (approx 4 tablespoons)

Serve to a good friend with ice and a nice view.

I watched the kids climbing trees and ended up needing the drink. Do you see how high they are? (there are 4 girls in the picture).

Katie Craig is available for travel writing (family, with kids, girls getaways and romantic escapes)

• BLOG •

My photography featured in a cookbook!

Katie Craig

blog

Last March I was asked to photograph a cookbook for Storey Publishing and I just got my advance copies of it!!! Yes, I'm really excited. I've always photographed all the food for kidstir.com, but this is the first time I was asked to photograph an entire book! I'm pleased to say, I think it came out really nicely. The book is called Classic Cookies and is filled with 40 cookie recipes. My kids loved the fact that I came home from the shoot each day with a little bag of cookies, and now that the book is here, they can't wait to try out a bunch of the recipes. Here are a few of my favorites shots!

• BLOG •

Our new book is up on Amazon!

Katie Craig

blog

So, I finished up my website, finally! Yikes. This was harder than I thought! I work from home and it is wonderful in so many ways. But, the longer you work from home the more comfortable you get with the anonymity of it all. Gathering up my work and bundling it together to an abstract place called a "site", then pushing the button to say it is "live" is so bizarre! But now it is done, and that feels good.

The reason behind the digital exposure is Horse Play!, the book Deanna Cook and I did together for Storey Publishing, is now out and I'm thrilled! The book is filled with great crafts, party ideas and activities for horse-crazy kids. I designed, photographed, styled, and illustrated it and I'm really proud of it.

I loved horses when I was young and would have loved this book! It was fun remembering the girl I was way back when. My mother used to drop me, my sister and brother off for lessons with a girl named Kirky, who I thought was the coolest girl ever. I rode a HUGE horse named Star and my sister Jemma rode Manerva. Jemma was always jealous of me sitting way up high on this big strong horse because her horse was always falling asleep mid-stride! I think my brother was really more interested in the electric fences over by the other animals.

Anyhow, I'm really excited about the book and hope lots of kids get to enjoy it. I love the pony pillow project, the bookmarks, the party straws, and the pull-out poster the most! AND the beautiful models, who are actually all our friends daughters. If you like the book, spread the word and tell your friends! Thanks so much and happy Horse Play! 

(add a post about your love of horses to our facebook page!)

blog

April Vacation Destination: Anna Maria Island, Florida

Katie Craig

Anna Maria Island

• BLOG •

I love warm weather, I love the sea.

I live in New England—inland.

SO, I try to book a vacation every winter. I try to make it as cheap as possible by using a mileage credit card for EVERYTHING in our day to day life, and paying it off in full every month. The points mean our trips are substantially cheaper. This year we went to Anna Maria Island, Florida. The flights on JetBlue direct from Bradley to Tampa were about $180. With our credit card points they were $22 each—roundtrip. The pretty drive from the airport is just about an hour over lovely bridges with folks fishing on every pull off and some occasional kite surfers to keep you entertained.

Florida is not normally my cup of tea BUT, I have to say we were really pleasantly surprised! Anna Maria is a sweet little island that reminded me a bit of the Bahamas. Granted, it is more congested, but the beaches, the water, and the wildlife were truly remarkable and the island has an incredibly welcoming vibe! All the streets end at beautiful little public access paths and walkways to the powder-white sandy beach. There are lovely little benches sprinkled along every road, and many are trolley stops for the free open-air trolley that can take you from one end all the way past the other end of the island. There are pristine public parks that line the beaches. and two fishing piers (the rod & reel and the city pier) scattered with little kids fishing on their own, pelicans keeping watch, and a general laid back vibe. I loved that there are no railings, no signs that say keep away, and that you can get a beer for $1.50. If there are streets posted with no parking signs, just turn the corner and the next street practically says "please, park here!" "be our guest!" with just a little note asking to "keep your tires off the pavement",  ..."please".

I would highly recommend it as a quick getaway. Here's some pics to give you a sense of the place:

The water is really amazing.

The water is really amazing.

The mornings and afternoons are quietest on the beach. We liked Bean Point the best.

The mornings and afternoons are quietest on the beach. We liked Bean Point the best.

We found mid day was so nice if we had umbrellas. No drinking allowed on the beach which seems to keep it nice and quite!

We found mid day was so nice if we had umbrellas. No drinking allowed on the beach which seems to keep it nice and quite!

The flora and fauna was beautiful. I loved the sound of the breezes blowing through palm fronds. I thought these bluey-silver palms were so pretty! The tropical version of blue spruce pine trees!

The flora and fauna was beautiful. I loved the sound of the breezes blowing through palm fronds. I thought these bluey-silver palms were so pretty! The tropical version of blue spruce pine trees!

We rented a boat from Keyes Marina and it was definitely our favorite day! We cruised out to Egmont Island. It was covered with birds, gopher tortoises, a light house, and walking paths The kids explored and discovered remnants of an old village from 1906.

It was deserted.

It was deserted.

IMG_3211.jpg

We were lucky enough to have a herd of Manatees float under our boat along the way.

Seafood Shack
Rum Punch

Before heading back we searched for a good happy hour. The Seafood Shack it was. What a great find! The food was excellent, as were the drinks. Monday is Rumday!

We rented our house from Island Real Estate. They were super nice and helpful and the house was really clean. The prices listed on their site do not include the fees and taxes so they do cost more than your first impression. But we loved our house, particularly the yard. I highly recommend a pool if you have kids!

The shelling is great.

The shelling is great.

As I said, the wildlife is amazing. These guys are waiting for a friendly manatee that was visiting swimmers to come in closer. At the same time, about 12 dolphins were leaping around catching fish. Schools of fish and rays were swimming in front of me  and as I turned back to the beach a bald eagle flew by with a huge fish in its talons! I was looking up at him and almost bumped into the ubiquitous large birds (I think they're herons) that stand next to every fisherman. It was almost comical.

As I said, the wildlife is amazing. These guys are waiting for a friendly manatee that was visiting swimmers to come in closer. At the same time, about 12 dolphins were leaping around catching fish. Schools of fish and rays were swimming in front of me  and as I turned back to the beach a bald eagle flew by with a huge fish in its talons! I was looking up at him and almost bumped into the ubiquitous large birds (I think they're herons) that stand next to every fisherman. It was almost comical.

IMG_3049.jpg

Surprisingly there are not many places to eat ON the water. We went to the "Sandbar" the first night because we arrived late. The meal was fine but the location was the reason to go. We went back during the day for a drink and I don't recommend that. I had the worst Pina Colada I've ever had, but I would go for lunch or a light dinner. It's a bit crowded but they don't blast the touristy music, and the people that work there are super nice (I loved our waiter Thaddeus!) and again, the location is what it is all about.

Each night people gather on the beach to watch the sunset. And we were always amongst them.

Each night people gather on the beach to watch the sunset. And we were always amongst them.

Katie Craig is available for travel writing (with kids, girls getaways and romantic escapes)

• BLOG •