whenever I would visit my parents when they lived there and then my mother after my dad died, we went out to lunch virtually every day. frequently we took the Gulf of Mexico drive to the top of Longboat Key to a small neighborhood called Longbeach. there were two of our favorite places at the first turn on the left, the Mar Vista (a mostly outdoor place) and Moore's Stone Crab (a mostly indoor place.)
because the weather was cool today we chose Moore's - we also picked this one because my husband LOVES stone crab (it is right up there on his list with Montreal smoked meat- LOL)
you can come by boat or by car to both of these restaurants
as you can see from the photos we had no takers for the outdoors, but we had a nice meal of chowder and stone crabs and key lime pie for Phil and chowder and fresh shrimp for me.
as we left the restaurant we saw a blue heron right along side the parking lot - just waiting to have his picture taken.
after lunch we did the obligatory drive through the neighborhood to find where the peacocks were hanging out. it didn't take too long to find them as it is a very small area.
there was something quite comforting in the ritual of this short trip. I don't think there was ever a trip I made to the island in the last 20+ years where we didn't go down to one of these places and we always went to look for the peacocks. it was as if my mom was right there in the car with us, traveling along silently in the back seat.