Monday, December 26, 2022

A Vero Merry Christmas

We are southbound in the ICW, headed for The Crossroads, where a right turn will take us to Stuart. Things are finally starting to warm up a bit here after two days of bitter cold (for Florida) temperatures. We lingered in the marina this morning until the last possible moment to run the heaters.

We found these tumblers with our avatars on them under the tree Christmas morning.

We weighed anchor Thursday morning a little after 10, and we were tied up at the Vero Beach City Marina (map) by 11:30. The adjacent slip, which we had been in on our last visit here eight years ago, was also empty and we had an easy time getting in unassisted. The finger pier had only a couple of cleats, and we had to secure the bow on the main dock. The pier was also less than two feet wide, and we had to dance around another boat's boarding steps to get on and off the dock.

Thursday was a warm and pleasant day, and after getting secured and checking in with the office, I walked through the Yacht Club, past the dog park, under the overpass, and past the Riverside Cafe. This restaurant has its own day dock, which I scoped out for some future visit to the nearby anchorage. I looped back to the marina past the performing arts center.

This palm has reached its limit under the Merrill Barber bridge.

At dinner time we walked next door to the Vero Beach Yacht Club, who were serving a very limited menu due to it being music night in the parking lot, where an enormous stage was set up for a Hall & Oates cover band called H2O. We ate on the very nice covered patio and were long gone before the music started; we learned the music involved a $30 cover charge, although we could hear it just fine over in the City Marina. The last time we ate here, arriving by tender, we also arrived on music night. We look forward to trying the full menu one of these days.

Friday was also warm and pleasant, at least during the day, and I took the e-bike out to check out our planned dinner venues for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners. The beach was busy with sunbathers and even a few people splashing in the water, belying what was to come just a few hours later. On the way back I scoped out the best walking route for Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Checking out Heaton's on a warm day. They assured me on Christmas all the shutters would be closed and the overhead heaters on.

At 3pm our friend Chris arrived to the marina with 70 pounds of fabric in tow, which Louise had delivered to their house. After getting the fabric aboard we rode out to their house for hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, and a lovely dinner. It was warm and pleasant enough that before dinner Alyse, Louise, and I all spent a half hour in their pool. By the time we were heading home, the temperature had plummeted more than twenty degrees.

We awoke to temperatures in the low 30s Saturday morning and we basically stayed inside the whole day, with Sunday being a repeat performance. I puttered around a bit and Louise did some sewing and laundry, but mostly we surfed the net or doomscrolled the storm hitting the rest of the country. Saturday evening we caught the last shuttle bus to the beach, for a bit of a shorter walk to dinner at the high-zoot Cobalt restaurant at the Kimpton resort. We walked home in our parkas, the better part of a mile.

Friday's temps kissed 80 and folks were on the beach in their suits.

We long ago stopped exchanging holiday gifts with anyone. Most gift giving is incompatible with a nomadic lifestyle in a small space. We made exceptions, of course, for the children in our lives, but they've all now grown into pleasant adults, and gifts are now reserved for life events like graduations and weddings. Yet nevertheless we found something under our tree this year, a pair of nautically-themed insulated travel cups sporting surprisingly accurate avatars of each of us. Thank you, not-so-secret Santa. We went through the cupboards to choose two other beverage containers to retire in accordance with our one-in, one-out rule, and I put them in the boater's grab pile in the marina laundry room.

At quarter to four Christmas day we walked down to the beach to get in line at the Ocean Grill, which was the only place I found serving a holiday menu. In the course of two phone calls and an in-person visit on Friday they had told me that, while they did not take reservations, we should expect a wait of only one to one and a half hours. Yet at 4:15 they gave us a seating estimate of 6:50.

Planned Christmas venue Ocean Grill. It was packed when we walked in to put our name on the list.

We had girded ourselves for a wait of up to an hour and a half, figuring to while the time at one of the hotel bars. But an hour beyond that was more than we wanted to wait, and so we walked back to the Kimpton, where I had made a backup reservation at their poolside restaurant, Heaton's, which was open-air but had screens and heaters. We were early even for that, so we sat in the very nice bar at Cobalt and had a drink.

It turns out that we could have continued sitting right there at the bar into dinner time and ordered from the full menu, and we would have done just that had we not just eaten there the night before, or had they any holiday specials on the menu. At the last minute we decided we'd prefer the more casual menu and the safety of outside dining over a bar that was getting more crowded by the minute. It was not a very festive experience, but the food was good and we were relatively warm. We were already back home when the text came in from Ocean Grill that our table was ready.

This sailboat sank in the city mooring field over the holiday. The owners were likely off someplace visiting relatives for the holidays.

It was still pretty cold when we got up this morning, but it's already risen into the 50s here mid-afternoon, and we should be OK without running the heaters round the clock. We should be in Stuart tomorrow, and with any luck the engine parts I've ordered there will be arriving in the next couple of days.

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