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Vol. 17 No. 18 - February 15, 2017

FEATURE

Grassy Point renovations near completion

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

KRISTIN SWAIN | SUN

Holmes Beach public works project manager Don Gray surveys
the work already completed Feb. 8 on the new boardwalk at
Grassy Point Preserve.

 

HOLMES BEACH — With Grassy Point Preserve just weeks away from reopening, renovations are beginning to wrap up.

The major change to the park, a trail extension with two boardwalks ending with a view through the mangroves of Anna Maria Sound, was completed at the end of January. Prior to the park's grand re-opening, Public Works Project Manager Don Gray said there are still some issues to address, including regrading the paths with new crushed shell and removing some previously inaccessible invasive plants.

Gray serves as the city's point person for the preserve's maintenance and has been working on the project for four years.

Gray said he's proud of the progress made in the preserve and is excited for the public to see the expansion.

"It's really come a long way from where it was," he said.

Commissioner Carol Soustek, who serves as liaison to the project, hopes to help coordinate a grand opening reception in early March.

"Nothing's been nailed down as of yet with regard to an opening," she said.

The park is planned to remain closed to the public until the reception.

Beach Bistro love stories for Valentine's Day

Susan and I have owned the Beach Bistro for over thirty years. The tiny Bistro dining room is redolent with rich memories of proposals and birthdays and anniversaries.

Not long after our opening, a young patron staged his big proposal moment with us.

He picked his way through dinner toward dessert and crisis. We served chocolate, and he dropped to a knee by the table.

She said yes. The room applauded, and patrons took turns visiting the table and offering congratulations.

The charming young couple held hands and gazed into each others' eyes.

An hour later they were still gazing.

The second seating for the table was waiting.

The proposal train was stalled in the station, and something had to be done.

I grabbed a small cocktail table, whisked it out onto the beach and had it linened, flowered and set in seconds.

I approached the couple armed with a great bottle of champagne.

"Let's celebrate on the beach."

I settled them at their special table on the sand, popped and poured the champagne and watched them sip – and slip – back into romantic coma.

Nothing had changed but location.

When I seated them, it was a beautiful evening – a full moon, sounds of surf and warm breezes wafting in from the Gulf.

A half hour later the warm breezes had turned into gale force winds. Dense clouds of cold mist were sweeping the beach. Looking out through the broad windows of the warm and intimate Bistro dining room it looked like the young couple were being featured in a weather channel hurricane watch.

I brought rain gear and shawls. They remained oblivious – sipping champagne and holding damp hands for over an hour.

Twenty-five years later, they celebrated their anniversary with us. That fall they had shared another special evening – their first born was leaving for college.

They have often thanked me for making their betrothal evening a special memory.

Another proposal was a gift to us just a couple of years ago.

Annette, our Maitre D of over 30 years, loves to stage engagement rings – on little tufts of whipped cream or perched on chocolate for dessert. This causes me great anxiety. Watching tiny specimens of expensive jewelry disappearing into a kitchen bursting with big, fast-moving chefs and flames and flashing knives and floor drains and big sinks and pots of sauces would set any bistro owner on edge.

That evening I was quick enough to snatch the ring from Annette and secure it in a champagne glass. At the appropriate time I was presenting the bejeweled glass while the groom was on his knees, his heart bursting with love – and his voice bursting with song. He had decided to sing his proposal.

The room was in awe and then joined the man in song.

All eyes were on the lovely woman that was the center of all of this attention.

I hovered, holding the ring and glass directly in her field of vision.

The woman was so enraptured by the man's song and perplexed by all of the attention that she remained completely unaware of the ring in the glass.

I rattled the ring in the glass. Finally she saw the diamond. She squealed with joy and then turned, looked up at me and exclaimed, "Yes. Yes. Oh yes!!"

I pointed at the groom.

"Not me – him."

She turned to her future husband, "Oh, of course."

The couple then began to kiss and hug.

Their wedding was lovely, and they are very happy together.

Susan and I are incredibly grateful for being included in our patron's families' life moments.

The memories substantially enrich our lives. My supporting role might be the only thing that gets me into heaven.


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