September 17, 2019

Bradenton, Florida: Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing

Oh, the places they stole.

Then I cross the span to Anna Maria, and dig my toes in the soft sugar at Coquina Beach. The sand seems to get even better, though, as I make my way north, along Bradenton Beach, to Manatee Beach, Holmes, Anna Maria, and ending at the secluded and somewhat secret Bean Point at the very northern tip, named for George Bean, first permanent resident of Anna Maria Island. Castled in the kelp are jut-eyed little crabs, a world of inch-high devils. The wet sand here is so sumptuous it's like Julia Child's butter. Meandering back down the coast a ways I stop for dinner at the Sandbar Restaurant, smack on the beach. Ed Chiles, the owner, stops by for a drink and a nosh, and we watch as an almost nuclear sunset shatters the sky. “Like my exterior design?” Chiles asks to an audience too transfixed to answer. I have a couple of sons, one 19 and one 6, so the next day I decide to check out what might be available for families, as am now thinking of returning with the brood. ” title=”Olympic Hopefuls by Didrik Johnck, on Flickr”>Olympic Hopefuls” title=”Surfer Bus by Didrik Johnck, on Flickr”>Surfer Bus” title=”Sunset by Didrik Johnck, on Flickr”>Sunset” title=”Bunker Hill Winery by Didrik Johnck, on Flickr”>Bunker Hill Winery