Looking back, 2016 was an awesome year with numerous highlights - two weddings, two national parks, wonderful harvests of myriad tropical fruits from our aunts' garden, and many opportunities to meet new members of our extended family.
We started the year with a small mishap - a flat tire while returning to St Pete from our annual visit with friends in South Florida. A weird bumpy noise on the road got us concerned. We pulled into the picnic area of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to find one of the tires just about ready to blow out. The captain replaced it with the donut spare and we drove cautiously back to St Pete, about a half hour away.
|Sunshine Skyway Bridge|
|Isn't this AirBnB home pretty?|
In June, we bought a small home near our aunts' in the Tampa Bay area. The next month, we hosted three sets of relatives, from Oakland, Houston and Boston. They were delighted to discover new beaches and places to eat, and thrilled to pick tropical fruits like mangoes, longans and starfruits. They had just missed the glorious lychee season. Boy, were they delicious!
|Sweet juicy lychee ripened in mid June - this season was the best they've ever had.|
|Picking starfruit from our aunt's garden|
|Longans almost ready to be picked|
|Famous Maine lobsters and blueberry pie|
|Hiking Cadillac Mountain at Acadia National Park|
Les 3 Brasseurs, where we had an excellent Québécois meal.
|Cruising on Guntersville Lake, Guntersville, Alabama|
|Fall outing to Wooden's Apple House in Dayton, TN|
|Hiking Point Park at Lookout Mountain|
On the brighter side, the holiday season in the Tampa Bay area was studded with amazing holiday lights and decorations. At least 3 places took our breath away - The Oakdale Christmas House which apparently has been in the making for 40 years and has appeared on HGTV and NBC's Today Show, the Florida Botanical Garden, and the Lake Park neighborhood.
|Oakdale Christmas House in St Pete|
|Lights at the Florida Botanical Garden|
Happy New Year, y'all!