Allen & Betsy – London, UK

“My wife Betsy and I have enjoyed visiting Gulf Beach Resort for almost 15 years now. Our earliest visits in the late 1990’s provided a Great Winter Escape from the frigid winters of northern Ohio, where we then lived. To drive or fly from Lake Erie to the Gulf of Mexico in January or February was like exchanging planets–the contrast was that extreme. For us, being in Florida has always meant warm, moist and fragrant air you feel you can almost swim through, white cumulus clouds floating through limitlessly blue skies, and the complex energies of the waters of the Gulf exerting their forces at the sandy verge just beyond our doorway.

It also seems right to us to be staying at a place where we feel in control of our surroundings, which are on a very human scale; no elevators, no overly disinfected corporate chain hotel ambience, and small enough that other guests become our neighbors rather than fleetingly glimpsed anonymous ciphers.

Although we share most things when we’re there, naturally we also have our own quirky personal fields of activity. Betsy quickly returns to her ongoing obsession with gathering shells from the beach, reminding me somehow of a heron with her graceful and methodical probing (watch for her next time – you’ll see what I mean: tail up, beak down). As for me; I love swimming laps in the small pool, keeping track of the sets of five different strokes, and upping the number each day as I regain my strength (and probably my sanity). That, along with a bit of biking and jogging, comprises what I call my mini-Triathlon: all taken at a comfortably leisurely pace, of course.

Nowadays, having moved to London in the UK in 2006, our visits give us a much- needed break from the city, and a chance to dip our toes back into the American cultural world, a reminder of where we come from. We look forward to our next visit in July, when we’ll escape the hectic crowds of the 2012 London Olympics for the comfortable cocoon of Gulf Beach Resort, where we can enjoy it all on tv from a safe distance!

In so many ways, Gulf Beach will always be our beloved home away from home.”