Small disclaimer…..……….this post was waaaaaaay overdue. We visited almost 7 weeks ago, I started writing, then stopped, I started writing again, other things got in the way but………….I just couldn’t delete the post. It was a fun, much-needed trip at the time, a relaxing chance to get away while also doing one of my favorite things. Here you go – finally.
We were able to score two rooms at our new favorite Crystal River lodging. Just as important, we were able to get an extra day off which had the affect of a 3-day ‘weekend’. Weekend is a ‘loose’ term at our entertainment company. My ‘weekend’ is Sunday & Monday. The easiest way to add another day is to take a Tuesday off – which we did!
Why do we need two rooms you may ask………….one of our godsons and his dad was able to join us. In fact, while we were working Saturday, they took our boat over and got in a day of fishing before we arrived. They had a good day on the water.
Luckily, we got rooms next to each other – and a different room for us than on our first visit. This time we had room #20.
Since we were on the end, we had extra windows which was nice. While the rooms seem to be the same size, the choice of furniture makes a big difference in appearances. It just seemed like we had more room.
Driving over on Saturday, gave us another option for evening dining – Vintage On Fifth. It’s closed Sundays & Mondays, which are the usual days we are in Crystal River.
It’s a nice little place, has a great (reasonably priced) wine list and some creatively inspired food dishes. Man! Its great that the kid eats more than chicken fingers with ranch dip – just saying. We were seated quickly and ahead of our reservation time.
Something as simple as bread just tastes better when you’re on vacation. We devoured this loaf and our waitress quickly brought another one. It had been brushed with garlic butter and was mighty tasty.
Appetizers of fried green tomatoes (mine) and she-crab soup (everyone else) started our meal.
We had a salad – not the highlight that night.
Three of us got the grouper Francese. A pan-fried filet of grouper with a butter-lemon-wine sauce – delicious!
One person (Rich) got the lamb.
Naturally we all had to order dessert……….carrot cake (for me) and cream brulee (for Eric and Rich).
The birthday boy got his own special dessert and a candle. 🙂
Loved staying at this place because we could walk back to our rooms.
Sunday morning was bright and sunny and most importantly, no storm clouds on the horizon. First stop was Pete’s Pier for live shrimp.
On the river, we motored past this boat. It looked like it would be a lot of fun.
We had a good day catching fish – especially the species count. More about that at the bottom. Rich caught this nice mangrove snapper while Eric got two nice seatrout.
There were a few smaller fish caught but once we got back to Kings Bay Lodge, this little guy and his grandmother were fishing along the bank – with no luck. They were thrilled to get this silver trout and black seabass.
Now comes the best part – cooking & eating. We started with an ‘appetizer’ from their scalloping the day before.
Yes, that’s right, three scallops were their total for the day. 😦 One each for the three (adult) scallop eaters: fresh squeeze of lemon and a few drops of hot sauce was all we needed – delicious!
We all had a part in the making of the meal. Eric prepped the cole slaw. Connor cooked the cubic fries, while I chopped the almonds that topped our fish.
One last photo was granted before they headed home.
Earlier I mentioned a ‘species’ count. While not all of these are edible (trust me they’re not) the weekend was a great one for variety:
Black sea bass, seatrout, redfish, remora, porgie, lizardfish, ladyfish, pinfish, silver trout, mangrove snapper, catfish, grunt and sea perch – a total of 14 species.
Eric and I had two more days of fishing. This redfish was one of the first caught on Monday morning, but had to be thrown back since it was too big. Dang.
Tuesday we dodged storms and showers and this rain was right over the channel as we headed out.
Eric started off catching this redfish- a nice keeper size.
An hour later (which seemed like a really long time when your spouse keeps catching them and you are not) I caught this beauty. Man – what a beautiful day to be on the water, some clouds, some sun and a slight breeze to keep the temperature manageable.
The redfish bite had turned on and it was hot! We must have caught 20+ redfish throughout the morning before heading in. Note to non-anglers………each angler can only keep one redfish daily, between 18″ – 27″.
In King’s Bay we came across a pod of manatees, swimming alongside our boat. People pay good money to get close to them and they were basically in our way. Must have been at least 10 of them swimming together.
One more stop was required (kind of) before going home – a late lunch at Seafood Sellers.
It was a great extended weekend with good friends, good fishing and good food.