Vero Beach has a reputation for being extraordinarily convenient for cruisers. It’s the kind of place where cruisers come to stay for a day or two and end up spending the rest of the season. A not-insubstantial number of cruisers end up swallowing the anchor here and moving to Vero permanently, with the CLOD’s – Cruisers Living on Dirt – organizing a Cruisers Potluck Thanksgiving every year. You can see why it gets the nickname “Velcro Beach.” With this kind of build up, we were excited to finally pull in and see for ourselves what it was all about.
After staying for 3 1/2 weeks we can definitely say that Vero did not disappoint. While we wouldn’t want to spend the entire winter (there’s so much out there to explore!), it’s clear why so many people do and also why people end up moving there. It’s warm and there’s a beautiful beach a mile away from the City Marina. There is a great weekly farmer’s market across the street from the beach. You can walk there or take the free bus which has an hourly stop at the marina with routes that take you anywhere you need to go – the grocery store, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, West Marine, the mall, downtown, etc.
Similar to St. Augustine, Vero has a daily cruisers net on the VHF, and there are organized cruiser gatherings including Mondays at Mr. Manatees and Thursday happy hour at the marina where people bring snacks and their own drinks. We struck up friendships with cruisers that we had met on our way down the ICW, and we met other cruisers for the first time that we are looking forward to seeing again down the road. We hosted people on our boat, we spent time hanging out on other people’s boats, and in general had a very nice stay. It felt good to stay put for awhile after being on the go since September.
We will definitely be stopping in Vero in the future, although next time it will likely only be for a week or so (yeah, yeah, that’s what everyone says). This time we knew going in that we were going to be staying awhile because we had planned to leave Pegu Club for a week and rent a car to visit friends and family in the Sarasota/Bradenton area. We had a great time seeing some of the sights on the west coast of Florida, and are seriously considering taking Pegu Club there next winter so we can spend a month in Sarasota.
A visit to the Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota.
Once we returned, we had the furler installed and took advantage of the free bus to start loading up on food and supplies for our stay in the Bahamas. Eventually we started getting antsy and wanted to move on, but first we had to wait out several days of high winds before we could finally rip the velcro off and continue heading south.
After we left Vero we stayed for a few days in Fort Pierce where we checked out the Farmer’s Market and had a great visit with some fellow cruisers that we had met through the blog.
A strong weather front kept us tucked away in Faber Cove for a few additional days, and then we were able to move on to Peck Lake for the night, before stopping in Lake Worth where we planned to leave for the Bahamas.
Next stop – the Bahamas! Weather permitting, of course!