The Suite Pea has landed. For the winter season that is. We arrived in Punta Gorda on the first of the month and thus far it’s made a pretty favorable impression on us. We’ve found only one ding, although we are only 4 miles from the ocean, we are a good 37 miles away from the nearest beach, and approximately 46 miles away from a dog friendly one. So when we go, and we will, it’ll be an all day excursion.
We’ve barely made a dent into exploring the locale. We do know there’s good music venues nearby and some pretty good eats too, many of which are puppy friendly. We also discovered the weekly farmers market on our first Saturday in the park. It’s not huge but it’s adequate. Along with the usual bounty of fruits and vegetables, there are bakery, popcorn, fresh fish and seafood, eggs, coffee, honey, and tea kiosks. There are handmade trinkets of all kinds, painters, soap makers, and musicians. There’s a hotdog peddler, a smoothie stand, and best of all a crepe maker where we are quickly becoming Saturday morning regulars. A couple of other places in the area have piqued our interest as well but I will leave those gems for a future post.
As far as the park goes we are very pleased with it and with our site. We were aware going in that Alligator Park had a large clientele of returning Snowbirds. So much so that some years there are no openings for newbies. We were fortunate. I called first thing in the morning of the first day after their seasonal renewals were due. The manager told me I was the first caller, even so there was only 4 sites available out of 164. We made our site selection using only the online park map and we are quite pleased with it.
The RV sites are paved with a lengthy attached paved patio area. Most are 30′ wide X 80′ deep, a few are larger. Each has a nice grassy area with at least one palm tree. All are full hookups. The park does a nice job of maintaining them. Ours also has an attractive white privacy fence at the back end separating us from a neighborhood.
The facility is an ownership park with separate sections for modular homes. In the past when we have stayed in other ownership parks we found that the RVers and owners don’t mingle. Sure, they say the functions are open to everyone but when you attend you’re often not made to feel welcome. That isn’t the case at Alligator Park. Everyone has been very welcoming and friendly. People often stop by our site just to say hello and to make sure we”re aware of park functions. Several of the park’s homeowners were once RVers here themselves. Also, it is much more welcoming to visiting grandchildren and bigger dog breeds than the vast majority of other 55+ parks.
We can’t complain about the amenities either. There’s a huge pool that goes from 3.5′ to 8.5′, which Don likes, a good sized laundry, a lending library, a mail room, a large air-conditioned clubhouse, and a 25 acre lake that hosts activities on and around it. Because of the park’s layout it’s great for walking and biking in as well. There are a few dings as far as we are concerned, first, the laundromat is set up to accept credit cards only, I don’t like that. I prefer cash. Secondly, there isn’t an off leash, fenced play yard for the fur babies, just an on leash dog walk area. However we did locate two very nice dog parks nearby and utilize them regularly.
Since our arrival we’ve visited 2 of the music venues. The first was a well known spot called Center Court at Fishermen’s Village. It was just the two of us out for an afternoon of entertainment and lunch. The second venue is a popular waterfront restaurant in downtown Punta Gorda called Hurricane Charley’s. It hosted the Songwriters After Party with 2 of Don’s favorite TropRockers, Cory Young and Donny Brewer. He HAD to be there. We hooked up with friends Mardy and Carla for this afternoon outing. Mardy is a musician too. It was a lot of fun.
The last music scene we took in was The Lighthouse at Stump Pass. We were invited by Mardy and Carla to go listen to The Gummy Sharks, a band that Mardy once played drums for. The Gummies played some original scores but most were old rock or Motown tunes. They’re pretty good and I really enjoyed their song selection but the thing I liked most about this place was the setting. The water setting was gorgeous. Another bonus was watching dolphins swim up through the pass. They are such a delight.
Until next time, here’s lookin’ at you kid…..