After a few days of the glamour and glitz of Miami’s South Beach, my husband Tony and I were yearning for a more laid-back vacation experience during our visit to Southern Florida. Eager to savor the ambiance of “Old Florida,” we made our way up the coastal road 1A1 on a leisurely drive past endless stretches of beach, stately mansions, and glistening waterways until we reached the town of Stuart, Florida (some 30 miles north of West Palm Beach).
Our destination was the quaint and picturesque Salerno Harbor and the Pirates Cove Resort & Marina, a 51-room property that exuded Southern hospitality from the moment we stepped onto the flowering vine-shaded veranda that surrounds the lobby. Situated directly on the waterfront, the hotel boasts spacious rooms, large balconies, an on-site restaurant and above all, a casual and laid-back atmosphere that invites total relaxation.
Welcoming and unpretentious, this is a place where everyday stress and cares are quickly forgotten. We sipped drinks at the colorful Tiki Bar on the wharf and soaked in the maritime ambiance while we watched pelicans soar in the air above us. We chatted with the friendly sports fisherman on the dock who were eager to tell us some colorful “fish tales.” Lovely tropical flowers and plants can be admired throughout the resort grounds.Fishing boats of all shapes and sizes line the wharf at Pirates Cove.
We learned from Captain Wayne of Reel Busy Charters that sailfish excursions are a favorite catch and release sport among visitors, and that Stuart Florida is the sailfishing capital of the world. Sport fishing is also a favorite activity here, and visitors can take their pick from a variety of companies that offer everything from half and full-day trips to overnight and multi-day excursions.
Eager to learn more about the fascinating nature and wildlife that surrounded us, we booked a 2-hour nature boat tour with Sunshine Wildlife Eco Tours. Led by Captain Nancy, whose knowledge and love of the waterways knows no bounds, we glided through the Indian River lagoon admiring the vast variety of plant and bird species. The highlight of the tour came when a manatee surfaced in the distance and we were able to catch a short glimpse of the gentle giant.
Evenings are magical at Pirates Cove Resort.
The rest of our time was spent in blissful relaxation. We enjoyed a savory meal at the Pirate’s Cove restaurant, took at dip in the hotel pool, and sat for hours on end watching the fishing boats glide in and out of the harbor. Each morning we enjoyed an ample complimentary breakfast on the veranda , enjoying the presence of the hotel’s three house cats who watched us wide-eyed as we dined. Pirate’s Cove is a pet-friendly hotel, and visitors are welcome to vacation with Fido or Fluffy for a small additional fee.
While our travels brought us to more excitement and adventure in Orlando, we look back with nostalgia on the few peaceful days at Pirates Cove Resort & Marina, where we discovered the gracious Florida of yesteryear.
Total relaxation is part of the charm of a visit to Pirates Cove Resort.
For more information: http://www.piratescoveresort.com