Anna Maria Journals

Lazy day on the Gulf Coast

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A May 2003 trip to Anna Maria by jaybroek

Rod and Reel Pier Photo, Anna Maria, Florida More Photos
Quote: Around two hours away from Orlando, this peaceful island makes for a relaxing day in the sun. If you like life at a slower pace, give it a try.

Lazy day on the Gulf Coast

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Overview

Anna Maria Islan Photo, Anna Maria, Florida
Quote:
With the temperature soaring, the best thing to do in Anna Maria is nothing. Kick back on one of the historic piers with a beer doing nothing, baste yourself on the beach doing nothing…The more energetic hire a fishing rod and dangle it in the ocean – some of them even watch their floats occasionally. Of the two piers at the Anna Maria City end of the island the Rod and Reel Pier is the smaller, less crowded and generally more down-at-heel. Park yourself on the shady balcony of the restaurant and watch your glass of beer sweat - it’s a great place to stop for a quick lunch. The City pier, larger with more facilities, attracts more crowds and queues for the bar and restaurant. The rickety wooden...Read More

Rod and Reel Pier

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Restaurant

Rod and Reel Pier Photo, Anna Maria, Florida
Quote:
There's a bar and restaurant delicately stuck on the end of the Rod and Reel Pier -- alongside the rod hiring and bait shop. The pier itself is a narrow, rickety looking, sun-bleached collection of planks. There's a great deal of ambling done here -- ambling, standing, and sitting still. On the first floor, pleasantly shadowy, is a small bar. It serves cold beer. There seems little else to say -- its clientele demand little else of it. Upstairs is a cafe/restaurant. There's a small, covered outside area where you can catch the pleasant sea breeze -- this as far as we got although there is inside seating too. The staff are really friendly and welcoming -- they had plenty of time ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 4, 2003

Rod and Reel Pier
875 North Shore Drive
Anna Maria Island, Florida

Mama Lo by the Sea

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Restaurant

Mama Lo by the Sea Photo, Anna Maria, Florida
Quote:
Bay View Plaza is situated across the road from the City Pier -- a rather new looking mall in stark contrast to the ramshackle charm of the pier itself. With windows facing towards the ocean, Mama Lo offers a great view of the seafront and an excellent, and refreshingly cool, spot to people-watch from. On a day that was fairly quiet around the rest of Anna Maria, Mama Lo's was surprisingly busy -- it is difficult to resist the draw of ice cream in such heat. The interior has a long refridgerated counter displaying the enormous range of ice cream and sorbets that Mama uses to tempt passers-by. All manner of fruit, chocolate and nut flavours are on offer -- a good excuse to spend time choos...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 8, 2003

Mama Lo by the Sea
Bay View Plaza
Anna Maria Island, Florida
(941) 779-1288

Bay View Plaza

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Attraction

Quote:
Bay View Plaza provides a stark contrast to the City Pier and most of the other housing along the shores of the island. In place of the clapboard and faded wooden structures we have a pale peach ranch-style mall. It is not offensive as some new constructions can be . . . but it didn't fit with my view of town! There are a mere halfdozen shops in the arcade and the masterful ice cream emporium Mama Lo. The shops are of the craftsy, boutique style souvenir ilk with 'The Museum Shoppe' selling marine based antiques with a strongly American flavour. There is some nice stuff in here and if I had a mantlepiece big enough -- and the Blonde would've let me -- I might have been tempted. ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 8, 2003

Bay View Plaza
101 South Bay Boulevard
Anna Maria Island, Florida

Anna Maria City Pier

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Attraction

Anna Maria City Pier Photo, Anna Maria, Florida
Quote:
Built in 1910, Anna Maria City Pier is an historic wooden fishing pier that plays host to fishing, drinking and dining. The pier made us think of Jaws . . . and Amity. I'm not even sure if the shark ever bites through a wooden pier in the movie or if people run screaming from one -- but rickety structures sticking out into clear blue waters just have that effect on me. The pier is over 700 feet long and makes for a very pleasant stroll in the sun. A restaurant sits at the sea end and it seems to do a great deal of business. We liked the look of the quieter and shabbier Rod and Reel pier for a pleasant lunch (see other entry in this journal). There's an outdoor bar and bai...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 7, 2003

Anna Maria City Pier
100 South Bay Boulevard
Anna Maria Island, Florida

Drifting around Anna Maria Island

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Anna Maria Island lies off the Florida mainland just south of Tampa. It's about seven miles long, not very wide and consists of three small cities -- Bradenton Beach, Haynes Beach and Anna Maria City (note for the English: cities can be very small . . . smaller than villages. I guess it's a political thing). The main route onto the island takes you through Bradenton proper along state road 64. It's probably best not to pay too much attention to Bradenton -- it'll put you off (or it might make the island seem a little more delightful!). There are two other routes on, one from Longshore Key to the south and another from the mainland. Route 64 brings you in to the middle of the island -- ...Read More