Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Ft. DeSoto Celebration!

Post by Loretta 

This morning we said our goodbyes to our Montana friends, Bob and Maureen, as they journey to Texas to visit family.  We were fortunate to have them as neighbors while here at Sumter Oaks and we had several memorable days of paddling, biking, eating, and visiting with them.  Since they are going to be in the West this summer, we are looking forward to meeting up with them in a few months.

Henry’s long time friend, Jack,

Jack and Henry

recently got married and he and his bride, Josie, invited us to their wedding celebration. 


It was held at Fort DeSoto State Park close to St. Petersburg, Florida, which is about an hour and a half drive from us at Sumter Oaks.

We made a quick stop at the new Trader Joe’s in St. Pete and purchased a gift card for the newlyweds.  This was a super nice, more spacious Trader Joe’s.  This Trader Joe’s happened to be just around the corner from where Henry first worked in beer distribution, so we rode by the building, which is now a carpet store.  We also rode by one of his first apartments…a ride down memory lane.

Now, on to Fort DeSoto State Park and the celebration! 

Along with the invitation, Jack and Josie provided a detailed map of the park that led us straight to our destination.   We arrived right on time – 12:00 noon.  The pavilion was located directly on the Gulf of Mexico, so the setting was idyllic, with lots of palm trees and ocean breezes.  The pavilion itself was HUGE and reminded us of a spaceship. 
Ft. DeSoto Pavilion

Josie had told us that she was preparing all the food herself (!!) for an anticipated 150 guests (!!!) and had family that came from all around the country to lend a helping hand with food prep and decorating.  Although it was a rather gusty morning, they pulled it all off beautifully.  The tables were lined in white with burlap and blue ribbon table runners, topped with blue mason jars holding baby’s breath and white roses. 

White Rose in Mason Jar

The tables also held chips, salsa, guacamole, peanuts, and candies for snacking.

 Two grills were going with grilled herbed chicken. 

Grilled Herb Chicken

A spread fit for a queen was served, which included an orange dressed salad, mint pasta, vegetarian burgers and dogs, Greek salad with shrimp, green beans with feta cheese, and of course, the groom’s cake and wedding cake.  

Groom's Cake

Wedding Cake
My Feast

A catered affair could not have been any better – it was all excellent!

Jack and Josie are also both talented musicians. 

Josie and Jack

Their music is one thing that brought them together.  They are known in the St. Pete area for their music jams and perform frequently at local establishments.  So, they have many musically talented friends and this was a big part of the celebration.


Live music was on stage throughout the celebration, including a set by the hosts themselves!  Guitars, bongos, saxophones, harmonicas, and many beautiful voices entertained all afternoon into the early evening.  What a treat!
More musical talent

We feel privileged to have been a part of Jack and Josie’s special day and wish them a lifetime of love and happiness.

Happy Couple

More fun coming up tomorrow! 


  1. Oh my God Loretta! This is INCREDIBLE! We love it!!! Thank you so much for this beautiful short story, you are very talented! It was so great to see you both there Saturday, and we are so appreciative that you changed your travel plans and extended your stay to come to our wedding reception! You sure were a busy little bee with your camera! We are really looking forward to spending some time with you on Monday.... Hopefully outdoors, on our bikes, enjoying a beautiful day! Our love to you both, Josie & Jack

  2. Thank you, Josie! We really had a great time - everyone was so nice, the food was fantastic, and you really know how to entertain a crowd! Henry met your brother and they have exchanged emails and pics of their hiking trips. Looking forward to our day of biking!