Skip to comments.Bush Family greeted by well wishers as they arrive for holiday vacation [Also: photos - Boca Grande]
Posted on 12/27/2001 9:24:01 AM PST by summer
Bush family greeted by well wishers as they arrive for holiday vacation
Thursday, December 27, 2001
By CHRISTINE GIRARDIN, firstname.lastname@example.org
A chill wind and uncertain arrival time didn't keep about 75 people from gathering on Boca Grande for a chance to catch a glimpse of the families of Gov. Jeb Bush and former President George Bush as they arrived at the Gasparilla Inn on Wednesday for a post-Christmas vacation.
Whisked up to the side of the Old Florida-style hotel in sport utility vehicles, the families arrived about 1:45 p.m. to light applause from onlookers along Palm Avenue. President George W. Bush did not make the trip.
With a wave, the governor wished the crowd a "Happy New Year," before seeing to his family's luggage. Little was heard from his father, the former president, who didn't linger for a visit with well-wishers.
The Gasparilla Inn is a three-story hotel and complex of luxury cottages built in 1913. The former president and Barbara Bush have stayed there annually since 1998 to enjoy Florida fishing and golfing. The inn is known for protecting as much as possible the privacy of its celebrity clients, but public attention is difficult to avoid when the Bush clan comes to town. In the days after Christmas 2000, the annual visit included then President-elect George W. Bush and hundreds of people turned out to watch the men of the Bush clan golf at the inn.
The cold and windy weather may have helped keep the crowd down Wednesday and the governor said he wouldn't be fishing in those conditions either - at least not immediately.
"We're gonna fish, absolutely," the governor said.
Today, the governor is scheduled to be on hand at a ribbon-cutting ceremony as the Gasparilla Island toll plaza in Placida officially opens. He is scheduled to speak at 11:15 a.m. at the Millennium Toll Plaza, 6201 Boca Grande Causeway, Placida.
The Bush clan, including the governor and his family, spent a traditional Christmas at Camp David with the president. Instead of joining his family in Florida, the president headed for his Texas ranch Wednesday to continue his vacation where he is expected to stay through next week.
In a Christmas radio message to the nation, the president said Americans were thinking of families who lost loved ones, both in the Sept. 11 attacks and in the campaign against terrorists in Afghanistan.
On Boca Grande the day after Christmas, visitors and residents were thinking of power and politics, at least for a little while.
Allison Geist, a Republican who lives in Englewood, said she brought her brother, David Barnes, a Democrat visiting from Boston, to the island for some sightseeing. Barnes, however, was convinced that she was more interested in seeing a certain family than seeing the sights. They teased each other good-naturedly while waiting for the motorcade.
"We can't talk about politics. My family was split last year. David's on the other side," Geist said.
An island resident since 1982, Joyce Stern said it was the first time she had waited at the inn for a chance to sneak a peek at members of the Bush clan, but admitted she and most of her neighbors have known for some time the family would be visiting after Christmas.
"Word travels very fast on this island," Stern said.
And, now, for your personal tour of Boca Grande:
Downtown Boca Grande
Boca Grande Outfitters
Boca Grande's PJ's Seagrill
Boca Grande's Catholic Church
The Lighthouse, a National Landmark
Cat, in snowy Wisconsin
"QUITE cold" in Florida means you are contemplating putting on a sweater. "QUITE cold" in Wisconsin means your skin freezes upon contact with the outside air.
There's a difference :-))
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