Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgiving in Vero Beach, Florida

A walk on Vero Beach
     Given that it was Thanksgiving Day and being away from family once again for the holidays, I began feeling somewhat sentimental. Not so slushy that I wanted to be back in New England but, none the less missing the old days with the sound of pots and pans banging about and all that tension on Thanksgiving morning in my mother's kitchen. I searched the Intenet hoping to find some reference that would bring back the nostalgia of home. I came across a few Thanksgiving quotes online that were mostly sappy, laments about giving thanks for all our gifts..blah, blah, blah. The host of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart's quote cheered me the most. He said, " I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land." That certainly put a new spin on Thanksgiving! With that thought in mind, this year Joe and I celebrated Thanksgiving while moored aboard Simple Life in Vero Beach in the company of our extended family; more than a hundred other cruisers.
Joe and I had a picnic in the park at the beach.
Joe and Jim Austin from SV Salty Paws at Vero City Marina

The mooring field at Vero Beach, Florida
     Due to the number of vessels attending the event this year the Vero Beach Municipal Marina required rafting up to three vessels per mooring. Simple Life was rafted to Kismet an Island Packet 350 with Jim and Laurie aboard and Sail Away a 34 foot Beneteau from Ontario with her skipper Ken. 
Another cold front arrival was in the forecast ushering in more heavy nine foot seas with winds in the 30-35 knot range. Within a few days the predicted winds arrived and lasted beyond Thanksgiving. We were all "thankful" to be safely rafted in the protection of the harbor.

Dinner with friends Elaine and Lawrence from Elle and I



     Thanksgiving dinner was scheduled to begin at 2:00 PM in a large hall at Riverside Park which was within dinghying distance from the marina. One of the nice features about these loosely organized pot luck shindigs is that each person contributes one traditional side dish for dinner. Most boat ovens can handle a bird about the size of a stuffed quail but, squeezing a turkey thats been hopped up on hormones into one of these compact cookers would be a stretch. Having the responsibility of stove top cooking on Thanksgiving can be liberating. Traditionally, there are a few towns along the southern migration route that contribute to cruiser's Thanksgiving celebrations. The oldest and best known events are at Vero Beach, Florida and St. Mary's, Georgia. This year it made sense for us to bypass St. Mary's and continue south to Vero since Thanksgiving fell so late in November. Vero's event didn't disappoint. More food than we could possibly consume, meeting new friends, interesting banter around the dinner table and ending the day with a music jam. It felt like home.
Music jam after dinner with a motley crew of individuals.
To read more about Thanksgiving in Vero Beach read the following newspaper article from Vero Beach featuring several quotes from my blog and photos that Joe Boulay took during the festivities.

Jim Austin SV Salty Paws and Michele share a laugh
black and white photos taken with Jim's film camera.