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Old 03-08-2010, 03:47 PM   #21
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When we were on our cruise, we enjoyed a lovely day in Tarpon Springs. We anchored near Anclote Key, then dinghied up the river to town. Tarpon Springs is an old Greek fishing village, and very nice despite being pretty touristy. Good Greek restaurants, and delicatessens. We bought great cheese and olives there.

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Old 03-08-2010, 04:54 PM   #22
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+1 on Tarpon Springs!

We visited there 2 years ago, and enjoyed it a lot! Nice shops and good restaurants. We took a short 'sponge diving' exhibition cruise..only about 45 minutes or so long. They explained the whole sponging operation, and then a diver suited up in a diving suit with the big brass helmet (or whatever it's called), and went in the water to demonstrate how it's done.

Then we just enjoyed meandering around town, poking around the shops, and, of course, indulging in some awesome Greek food!!!
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:01 PM   #23
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New Smyrna Beach is a little over an hour north of Cape Canaveral (one of your wishes). A good friend used to vacation there every spring and I see there are what look like some nice listings at New Smyrna Beach VRBO® Vacation Rentals - New Smyrna Beach Condo & House Rentals.

That is a wonderful prescription--you will have fun planning as well as traveling.
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Old 03-09-2010, 09:45 AM   #24
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New Smyrna is a nice place! We explore it a little bit each year, too. It's about 10-15 minutes south of Daytona.
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Old 03-17-2010, 06:56 PM   #25
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Ok, my research at VRBO is about done.
Pricewise, I am favoring Ormond by the Sea, Ormond Beach, Flagler Beach, Palm Coast, or Butler Beach. St Augustine Beach looked great , but my tax refund budget isn't too robust.
The rest of the towns have some sort of premium on price, as far as I can tell by the price ranges of similar outfitted condos located directly on the beach.
I looked at photos taken out on the balcony for many of the places listed. I see that Highway A1A is a small road that separates some of the beach view (vs direct beach front) condos that are more in my price range. I can certainly walk across the street.
Has anyone ever been to the places listed, and able to give me feedback?
Recall I am looking for peaceful, quiet, and off the beaten track, with beachfront or within a short walk (across A1A). I can drive anywhere I want for the tourist type stuff.
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Old 03-17-2010, 11:35 PM   #26
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I've driven through Flagler Beach and Ormond by the Sea, but haven't stopped in either, let alone stayed in either.

However, I have spent time in Ormond Beach and have cruised all over town. Anything on A1A isn't going to be "off the beaten path" as that is the main "scenic" thoroughfare along the ocean, and the main highway "beachside". It's a two-lane highway through Flagler, and turns into four-lane in or near Ormond by the Sea.....with turn lanes. But compared to St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, A1A in Ormond Beach is actually fairly lightly travel, and there's not hardly any noise from the traffic. Even on the first day of Daytona's BikeWeek 2010, while the sound barrier was being broken in Daytona Beach, it was pretty darn quiet in Ormond Beach...only an occasional noisy bike cruising past. (the bikers start partying several days prior to BikeWeek so Daytona was rumbling and rattling, while OB was peaceful and quiet!)

There are condos of just about every stripe along A1A in OB...most, if not all, are beachside of A1A....residential and commercial businesses make up the majority of the westside of A1A in OB.

We stayed at the Castillo Del Sol Best Western Hotel (205 S. Atlantic Ave. in OB....Atlantic Ave. is A1A). It was very clean, very quiet, very convenient....we had oceanfront, with full kitchen. Everyone of the staff that we met and/or dealt with were GREAT! Very friendly! They have an outdoor parking lot, and an underground parking lot....your choice. The hotel restaurant is only open for breakfast, but puts out very good food all freshly made to order....even the veggies are freshly cut to order for omelets!!! The oceanfront rooms all have nice sized balconies with 2 chairs. They have a nice, large heated swimming pool and LOTS of lounge chairs on the ocean front deck. The only thing that we lacked and missed a little (but not much) was a couch and arm chair. But since we spent so little time IN the room, it wasn't a major factor at all! IIRC, it was about $107/night.

A big plus for us also was the fact that are all sorts of good restaurants within just a few blocks....Thai, Italian, a Steak House, Fridays, Outback, as well as IHOP, Burger King and a bunch of others! For groceries there's Food Lion about a half mile or less away, and a Publix and a Winn-Dixie less than 2 miles away.

I know you're looking primarily at condos, but since I have no "stay" experience with them, I thought I'd throw this one out here..."just in case". I looked at, and pondered condos, but this worked well for our needs and wants.....enough so, that we're planning on staying there from now on!
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Old 03-18-2010, 01:16 AM   #27
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You could always do exotic wildlife watching in Cape Coral:

Floridian: Enter the dragons

(Link pulled from my "yet another reason to avoid Florida" files....)

Seriously, though, I hope you have a great trip.
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Old 03-18-2010, 07:59 AM   #28
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Thanks, Goonie.
What I mean by "off the beaten path" is in a smaller town versus Daytona or New Smyrna. I'll go to these places during the day.
I like the Best Western idea with the full kitchen. Good to see there are plenty of eating options nearby. I will eat out at seafood places during the day, but since I am traveling alone, evening dining solo can be kinda not fun. I usually do takeout or just make myself something simple where I stay.
What would be really cool is to find a small bungalow right on or across A1A from the beach. I'm still looking...
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Old 03-18-2010, 08:04 AM   #29
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You could always do exotic wildlife watching in Cape Coral:

Floridian: Enter the dragons

(Link pulled from my "yet another reason to avoid Florida" files....)

Seriously, though, I hope you have a great trip.
EEEEEEK!
I am definitely not being used to encountering scaled critters of the 6 foot variety.
I do know not to go near any small lakes in FL. Chomp!

TY for the good trip wishes.
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Old 03-19-2010, 12:37 AM   #30
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....Good to see there are plenty of eating options nearby. I will eat out at seafood places during the day, but since I am traveling alone, evening dining solo can be kinda not fun. I usually do takeout or just make myself something simple where I stay.
I ordered from Genovese's Italian Cafe and had them deliver to our room. They have two locations that pretty much serve the whole area, and the food arrives HOT. It was very good (and highly rated too). I ordered from their place on Granada Blvd. which was only about a half mile away...but there were times I didn't feel like going out.
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What would be really cool is to find a small bungalow right on or across A1A from the beach. I'm still looking...
I know there are some down in Daytona Beach Shores across A1A from the beach....but no actual beach view directly from the ones that I saw, due to hotels, condos, or overgrown greenery. But I'm sure there are many bungalows, cottages, or small (and big) houses for short term stays all along A1A.
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Old 03-20-2010, 03:36 PM   #31
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I don't have any suggestions for you, but I must say that I am enjoying all of the responses on things to do, places to stay and places to eat. It is making me want to plan a trip to FL also. Thanks for starting this thread, enjoy your trip and please let us know where you end up and any links that you can provide us from your trip too.
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Old 03-20-2010, 04:08 PM   #32
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There is just no place on the planet, or in the Universe for that matter, as special as Florida.

Mexico and Central America generally is interesting, but forget it if you have any sort of trouble legal or health wise. And then there is dealing with the widespread poverty, wild dogs and so on.

All the islands north of Antigua are unreliable for weather in the winter, and when the weather goes in the islands, you are sort of trapped.

The nicer islands in the south chain are either not safe, not english speaking, very expensive, or too rural and quiet. I think Barbados is the best of the lot if you have money.

The desert of the southwest just doesn't do it for me, and California is becoming scary fiscally.

South Florida is the only place on the planet where you have an interesting tropical climate with the security of the American justice system, low cost of living, and tons and tons of things to do for stimulation junkies.
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Old 03-20-2010, 04:58 PM   #33
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I like going to FLorida for many reasons...
- It's tropical and beautiful and I can afford to go to the ocean or Gulf.
- No passport is required.
- Airline travel is cheap cheap cheap from my neck of the woods.
- I lived there for a summer in 1979 when my Mom relocated but I never had the moolah to really enjoy it. I was too darn busy w*rking and saving up money for college costs.
- I really enjoy meeting local folks and dispelling that "damn NYer" stereotype. I have an awful lot of fun with the few native Floridians I've met.
- It's not anywhere as boring as East Nowhere NY.
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Old 03-20-2010, 05:20 PM   #34
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East Nowhere NY must be in the lake effect snow zone?

Is it an urban myth, or are there places up in the hills that get 20 foot snowbanks in that area?

One of our fears of using Jetblue out of Syracuse is hitting whiteout in the stretch around Watertown. Is there a point at which the lake freezes over and lake effect snow stops?

Nice thing about the Jetblue flights is that they keep the connection going to Orlando in the off season.
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Old 03-20-2010, 05:53 PM   #35
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East Nowhere NY must be in the lake effect snow zone?

Is it an urban myth, or are there places up in the hills that get 20 foot snowbanks in that area?

One of our fears of using Jetblue out of Syracuse is hitting whiteout in the stretch around Watertown. Is there a point at which the lake freezes over and lake effect snow stops?

Nice thing about the Jetblue flights is that they keep the connection going to Orlando in the off season.
First off, I have to dispel one of my oddball jokes. "East Nowhere" is a fictional town name. If you've ever heard about living "in the middle of Nowhere", well, I'm just East of that.
Seriously though, I live approx 1 hour southeast of Syracuse NY. I am just below the region subject to the infamous Lake Ontario snow bands. Short meteorology lesson: Our lake effect snow is caused by winds predominantly coming from the NW direction, collecting moisture off the unfrozen lake, and dumping FEET of snow on the Tug Hill Plateau.
Yes, snowbanks of 20 feet can easily happen on the Tug Hill Plateau. Places likes Barnes Corners and Redfield have been visited by the Weather Channel roving crews covering extreme weather conditions.
JetBlue out of Syracuse is the best way to go to FL from the States. I see you are in Ottawa, so do you mean you would depart from Ottawa and connect through Syracuse? I would think JFK would be a better through connection hub if you can't go directly.
BTW, I've been to your fair city, way back in 2002. I was on a bus trip to see the tulips in May. I decided I would hike back to the Parliament building instead of going to a shopping mall. Such beautiful architecture inside!
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Old 03-20-2010, 06:11 PM   #36
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sure...I was just playing along with the joke : - )

I want to see the Tug Hill Plateau snowbanks at some point. Watertown is 2 hours from here.

My mom went down last month, Syracuse through JFK, but there is always the risk of delays there, and we figure it is simpler just to fly into Orlando and make the 3 hour drive, rather than waiting around JFK for a connection.

Otherwise we try to fly one hop Ottawa to SOMEWHERE in Florida, then drive, to avoid any whiteout risk. Westjet is going direct into Tampa now, which is pretty good for us. Also, the wife is a nervous flyer, and any flying has to be non-stop.

There are some really nice little old towns down your way on the Erie canal. There is some sort of weird historic building called the Mansion I think..built by some long disappeared cult that practised "group marriage??"

I was up on Parliament Hill just this week on business, no big deal, I was the flunky clicking a powerpoint presentation for a VIP...it is one fine looking building indeed...like an old stone Catholic church on steroids...I was thinking to myself that I should be looking for a post-retirement j*b there.
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Old 03-20-2010, 06:16 PM   #37
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tug hill plateau snowbank

[IMG]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/Randall/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/moz-screenshot-19.jpg[/IMG]
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Old 03-20-2010, 06:29 PM   #38
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Now you're talkin' SNOW.
I avoid the Tug Hill area in the winter at all costs.
I used to sail out of Sacketts Harbor years ago. I drive up there in nice weather to go see the lake.
Only about 1 more month and off I go to the Atlantic coast for a quick pre-taste of summer.

I found the group marriage reference:
Oneida Community - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I'll never look at Oneida silverware in the same way again.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:47 AM   #39
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I don't have any suggestions for you, but I must say that I am enjoying all of the responses on things to do, places to stay and places to eat. It is making me want to plan a trip to FL also. Thanks for starting this thread, enjoy your trip and please let us know where you end up and any links that you can provide us from your trip too.
Ok, I waited until after Easter for the prices to drop.
I had my sights set on the Ormond Beach area, just north of Daytona Beach. The condo rental prices were beyond my budget, so I decided to look at standard hotels with kitchettes (per Goonie's sugggestion).
I am flying JetBlue, so I went to their site to see what package deals were available. I had about 20 choices, and then I saw it!
A hotel a bit closer to Daytona Beach was offering every 3rd night free for stays longer than 5 days. This offer was good only if flying JetBlue. The savings total for those 5 free nights (15 day stay) was over $600.
I compared this offer to the hotel's own specials and a few online travel sites. No comparison.
I scored a direct beachfront balconied room with kitchenette for an average cost of $87 per night, including all taxes and fees. Free parking, free continental breakfast, free local calls, outdoor and indoor swimming pools, yadda yadda. It is located equidistant between St Augustine and the Kennedy Space Center, 2 of my many planned day adventure destinations.
I also got a compact car from Hertz for essentially $20 per day, unlimited mileage, for 2 weeks at their weekly rate, plus 1 day.

T minus 14 days until I go to my favorite playground.
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Old 04-06-2010, 10:15 AM   #40
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and then I saw it!

A hotel a bit closer to Daytona Beach was offering every 3rd night free for stays longer than 5 days. This offer was good only if flying JetBlue. The savings total for those 5 free nights (15 day stay) was over $600.
I compared this offer to the hotel's own specials and a few online travel sites. No comparison.

I scored a direct beachfront balconied room with kitchenette for an average cost of $87 per night, including all taxes and fees. Free parking, free continental breakfast, fee local calls, outdoor and indoor swimming pools, yadda yadda. It is located equidistant between St Augustine and the Kennedy Space Center, 2 of my many planned day adventure destinations.

I also got a compact car from Hertz for essentially $20 per day, unlimited mileage, for 2 weeks at their weekly rate, plus 1 day

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