Experiencing all of this cool weather motivates me to take off very soon, so I’ll join other snowbirds and head south. Oh, we’ll have a merry old time just clucking and honking all the way.

Our destination is always Venice, Florida. Bird Bay Village is a fine resort area for the winter months. It’s just the ticket for us old ducks. We stay pretty active all the while we are there. There are a lot of things to do to keep in shape while we winter. Close to where I stay there is a large swimming pool for me to wet my feathers in each day. While there I also do my exercises to stay in shape for my trip back.

The pool area has all kinds of activities around it. There are tennis courts on two sides that are used every day and pickle ball courts too, which many people find enjoyable. In that same complex there is a library where I can keep up with material to read. Next to that is a workout room. All of us members have a key so that we can go there any time of the day. Next to that is a building that holds functions and they have socials there all winter. All in all, the complex is very conducive for everyone to stay active and healthy.

Not far away are the beaches. There are several that go along the edge of the gulf and all are very nice. They have wonderful walks going out to the beach and some even have walks going off for picnic tables where people can cookout. At the beginning of each ramp going into the beach there are wonderful bath houses. One thing that really impresses me is that there is no charge for parking. No matter where we go in the business or the beach areas we can always find a place to park for free. Venice certainly takes good care of us snowbirds.

I have a wonderful time each year meeting friends that I have made there. We get together occasionally for coffee or maybe even to do some dining. Right across the street from McDonald’s is a Dunkin’ Donuts. People gather in the mornings at one or the other place just to socialize. I have been enjoying a group of guys that come from the Cape Cod area and live in Florida all winter. They meet at the Dunkin’s every morning around 6:30, so the mornings I don’t swim laps I am free to join these wonderful guys. The best part is that all of these great places are within walking distance of my nest.

There is a small town in Venice sort of like Newburyport. I go there often because there is always something going on. When my daughter Marianne comes to visit, I love to take her there. In the big parking lot there is a gazebo and one day a week they have a band play to delight us all with wonderful swing music. You can believe me when I say that I wish I had a dance partner but none is available! Not far from there is Venice Beach and I have written before how much I enjoy the pavilion there. Each night they have music to entertain the people and it is always well attended. As I have mentioned in the past on, Monday nights there is a Bluegrass group that really gets me moving. I just love that type of music, for it really stimulates me!

I am so grateful to my family for encouraging me to head to Florida each year. At my age I feel very fortunate to continue. I believe my devotion to exercise is the reason I am able to keep up with this wonderful tradition. I love my winters in Florida but with the first signs of spring at home I, like most snowbirds, head back north and all the while we honk, honk in our merriment.

Bob “Boots” Chouinard lives in Salisbury.

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