December 7th through 11th

Crowded harbor at Vero Beach

Vero Beach is a delightful cruiser’s destination.  Cutter Loose is moored at the City Marina, which is located on the barrier island or ocean side of the City.  A short trip to the City Marina’s dinghy dock provides access to all of the City’s amenities.  Free bus service is provided to most areas of the City from the marina.

A four block walk or bus ride to the east takes us through attractive residential neighborhoods en route to the beach.  The north – south street closest to the beach is Ocean Drive, which features restaurants, small shops, condos, a specialty market, upscale homes and the offices of a dozen or more stock brokers.  The City has invested heavily in its parks and recreational amenities, including the enormous Riverside Park adjacent to the marina.  At five block intervals on Ocean Drive, there are a series of parks lined with palm trees that provide access to the beach.  The barrier island is an interesting area to explore.   During the first few days of our stay in Vero, we spend hours walking and bicycling through this area.

Bike Fridays at Vero Beach

Shuffling down to the Vero Beach public courts

After a few days of exploring the barrier island, we branch out to explore the other Vero Beach on the west side of the waterway.  The free City bus collects us at the marina and transits the bridge over the ICW to the mainland, where the pace is faster and development is more oriented to vehicles.   The trip to the closest Publix grocery store is a brief ten minute bus ride from the marina.  Other shopping plazas, theaters, libraries, etc. may be accessed from the main transit hub near the Indian River County Courthouse.  Coach Carey Colwell (aka Tiller’s dad) of Catspaw organizes a cruiser’s shuffleboard competiton at the City courts near the transit center.  We share the courts with a group of local seniors who obviously take the game very seriously.  This experience is all part of a broader socialization process through which we adapt to the Florida retirement lifestyle.

Dianne and Terry visit aboard Cutter Loose

On Thursday, we are visited by my sister Dianne and her husband Terry.  They drive more than three hours from their home in Spring Hill, FL on the west coast to spend the day with us.  After a tour of Cutter Loose, we enjoy lunch with an ocean view and a quick tour of the barrier island.   Thank you, Dianne and Terry for delivering our packages and for going the extra mile to visit with us.

On Saturday 12/10, our cruising friends aboard Island Spirit and Catspaw resume their journey south while Cutter Loose remains in Vero Beach.  A steady rain with periods of heavy downpours keep us boatbound until early afternoon when the precipitation subsides.  This weather window offers an opportunity to visit the Vero Beach Museum of Art located in Riverfront Park, a short stroll from the dinghy dock.  Exhibitions include winners from a local photography contest and an interesting display of wood sculpture from the private collection of artist Robert Lyon.

Wood sculpture by Robert Lyon

Since there is no bus service on Sundays, we hike three miles under cloudy skies across the ICW bridge to First Pres where we are treated to a special holiday concert complete with choir and orchestra.  After breakfast, we hike back to Cutter Loose and become drenched in a rainstorm.  Wet clothes and more rain provide the perfect rationale for an afternoon in the marina laundry.  We have no complaints about rainy weather.  After 50 days on the water, this is the first significant rain event of the winter cruise.  Weather permitting, we will leave Vero Beach in the morning.

Great white egret strikes a pose at the dinghy dock

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