20 In Fabulous over Fifty

Camp Bonita

Welcome to camp Bonita. Some of you may have read this story in the Bay Watch News magazine. I am a regular contributor for them 😊 At the bottom of this post you will find contact information for the teeshirts we are sporting in our photo. For those of you that are not members of Bonita Bay this story is still a great read as I share how ‘outside of the box’ I wandered this season. Enjoy 💕 

Savannah & Remy, Me & Tank, Robyn & Murphy

Childhood was a simpler time. My days were spent at summer camps playing in the lake, doing archery and arts and crafts. I actually went to camp last year. Ya, I’m not kidding. It was a bring your dog to camp. My daughter in law Maxine told me about it. She was going for the weekend and bringing her dog Stormy. Savannah was bringing her dog Remy too. I thought she had lost her mind until Savannah got on the phone and told me she was going and  said “nana? Will you come with Tank? It will be so much fun” Lord help me I said yes! I packed up my gear and headed out to meet them.

Even Tank didn’t want to enter


Robyn leaning against my comfy, cozy bed. 😂

I literally thought there would be cute little instagram worthy  cottages lined up in a row. Each with their own mini kitchen and washroom. Nope.  There were little cottages lined up in a row, but the only thing in them was a couple of bunk beds, a lot of spiders and a flickering light. I laid on a bed and my butt hit the floor. What on earth had I gotten myself into. Did I mention the washroom was outside and nothing more than stalls with their own set of bugs swirling around the rusty light bulb that served as the only light source inside and out. 🤦‍♀️

Camp Bonita Shirt deets below

And here I am at camp once again. That’s exactly how I feel…we are all just a bunch of kids at camp here in Bonita Bay…and it’s completely instagram worthy!

We all….and by ‘we all’ I mean we Savvy Snowbirds love our life at camp don’t we? Whether it’s Palm Springs, Arizona or Florida.

Even though this is a second home for us there is just something special about Bonita Bay that makes me feel like I am escaping the real world.

The best part about this camp is that I have my own soft bed with my thermal regulating bamboo sheets! I have a washroom a couple of steps away from my bed with a light that comes on when I enter the room. 

It doesn’t seem to matter when Tank 🐕 and I go for our walk here in Bonita  we bump into so many friends. The first question we ask is  “what did you sign up for at camp today?” More often than not the answer is “im playing pickle ball right after golf” or “I have a tennis match this morning “.

But what if you don’t golf or play pickle ball or tennis? What is there to do?

I set out to answer this on my own. I am addicted to pickle ball but it takes 90 minutes out of my day…then what?

Like most of you that live in a gated community, you likely have a community magazine that lists all the happenings around your club.  Our’s is called Around the Bay.

Now typically I would browse through it, maybe flipping to the pages that I thought were of interest to me. Not this time. This time I read it from cover to cover. WOW…there is a lot going on here in Bonita Bay. There is a LOT of fun things to do that does not involve playing tennis, golf or pickleball. Around the Bay has become my Bonita Bay bible!

I started the season out with a couple of classes offered through our fitness center. Meditation and Mocktails was my first class. I practise meditation on my own but it was nice to be led through a class with someone else’s perspective. We made a tasty mocktail that has become a staple in my home. A few days later I participated in Nutrition in the Kitchen for Inflammation and arthritis. I learned a few new things and was reminded of some information that I should be practicing on a regular basis.

I signed up for Tai Chi on Monday mornings for four weeks in January. It is amazing. So much so that I signed up for the March and April sessions too. It is a lovely way to start your busy week. The atmosphere is very calm. Our instructor is very good at cuing us as we move through the postures. Tai Chi is a great way to connect mind and body. Tai Chi emphasizes correct posture which means it can instil an awareness of how the body moves through space. Regular practice can increase flexibility, strength AND improve cardiovascular fitness. 

Tuesday mornings I tried Chair Dance yoga. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it but as a yoga instructor myself  I thought by doing a few classes I might be able to incorporate some of the asanas into my own practice. This class was lead by a real little spit fire! Every class was lively and different. The women in this class have been doing it for some time. There was some teasing between them and they knew what songs to request. Each song having its own chair yoga sequence. Super fun class. 

Every Tuesday afternoon I have a regular group of ladies that I do reformer Pilates with. Our instructor is amazing. We all love her knowledge and ability to challenge us. There are a number of fitness and health classes that we can join at the gym. Apparently we even have ballroom dance classes with bubbly, Bebe who studied with the NYC ballet. It’s on my radar….I wonder if I could talk Steve into it. 😂 

I love our Bonita Spa…first off let me say there isn’t one spider to be found and no flickering lights! I don’t always go for a regular spa treatment. Sometimes I go just to use the facilities. It is a great way to unwind. I love the steam room, followed by a dip in the tub. It is so relaxing to sit back with one of the ice cold face cloths over my eyes. It is truly heavenly. 

I signed up for a ‘paint and sip’ art class a couple of weeks ago held at our community center. I was a little intimidated when I got there. I looked at the artists picture of what we were going to paint and thought ‘fat chance’ this is going to work out. I don’t paint…but now I might take it up as one more hobby to add to my already over flowing list. It was fun and I can’t say it was very hard. The instruction was perfect. She told us exactly what to do, step by step. When I brought my painting home and showed Steve he thought it was the instructors, that she given it to me. Yup…apparently I am that good at painting!! Who knew? 😂 

My second ‘paint and sip’ class was paint your pet……ok…this one? Not so good! LOL 🎨

I made some etched wine glasses. It was a simple, fun and  a no skills required class. We supplied our own wine glasses and the instructor supplied every stencil you could imagine. I used beach themed stencils while my girlfriend used Christmas themed. They turned out as good as anything you’d find in a store.

So delicious – home made pasta

I did an Italian cooking night with Chef Daniela Cracium. It was fantastic. We made our own ‘hands on’’ pasta. I will definitely be making this on my own. Chef Daniela gave us instructions on three different sauces that she made at the front of the class. We watched and listened to all of her tips. At the end of the class we sampled the sauces she made. She also made cheese stuffed ravioli that day for us. We took our fresh pasta home along with all of the recipes It was a fun class. If you are a local SWF snowbird you can find her on Facebook 

Check out this frosted, fused, glass bowl! My favourite piece of art that I have made so far. We snipped pieces of our favourite colours of glass into small pieces and glued them  onto a base and voila!!! Beauty eh?   


Not to brag…but Bonita Bay has 12 miles of trails inside the gates that we can bike or walk along. In some areas it’s like walking through the jungle. Lots of mossy covered trees and scurrying iguanas 🦎 We also have access to the Gulf of Mexico which is why we ended up here in Bonita Bay. We came to BB because there is a Marina and we needed a place to park our boat. Fast forward a few years later,  we sold the boat and started the Sweetwater boat club. We love being out on the water. Savannah and Lilah were just here and the first thing they asked papa “when can we go boating to the beach?” Do I even have to tell you how much Tank enjoys the beach?

Best staff ever – Sweetwater Boating Club

We love to end our day on one of our boats and head out to the stunning Gulf of Mexico to watch the sun go down. Sometimes it’s just the two of us and other times we love having our friends join us. Ahhhhhh…that feeling of the last remnants of the suns rays on your face. Can I just share that the young girl in the photo above, 3rd in from the right….her name is Ally and she is one of the youngest Master Captains in the USA. We are so proud to have her as part of our team.

So, while sports like golf (5 courses) tennis and pickle ball are super popular here, there is so, so much more to do! I encourage everyone to open their minds and try new things no matter where you are.  It has been an amazing season taking all of these classes so far. As I write this I am thinking about all that I am going to miss when I leave Camp Bonita in April.  My calendar is full going forward as I try to cram everything that I can into it. I am excited to continue putting myself out there learning new things and making new friends.

Coming down to southwest Florida is something that us  Savvy Snowbirds look forward to every year. You can’t beat the weather but it’s our community created here in Bonita Bay that gives us that nostalgic feeling of reliving days at summer camp. Whether you’re spending your days on the links, the courts or taking classes, don’t forget to do it in style. Camp Bonita merch is now available from Marie Nolting, Mary Powell and Dana Ward.
Contact info [email protected]  or 937 479 6677




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  • Reply
    Mary Lynn
    April 5, 2024 at 6:25 AM

    Glad you are enjoying your winters in Florida, must be hard to leave.

    • Reply
      April 5, 2024 at 12:15 PM

      It’s always nice to get home to see everyone on a regular basis ML!
      Plus, we have the new digs to get organized. I am ready. It has been an amazing winter though.
      Have a wonderful weekend

  • Reply
    Joan Livermore
    April 5, 2024 at 7:29 AM

    Marion…. May I just say that you are amazing! What a great article….. not sure what pic I like best but I think it’s the first one of you jumping off the back of the boat. Keep living your best life 😊

    • Reply
      April 5, 2024 at 12:14 PM

      Hy Joan!!
      I am not sure who had the most fun that day. I can tell you I was probably the most tired by the end of it though! LOL
      Happy Friday

  • Reply
    Ann Burbidge
    April 5, 2024 at 10:01 AM

    I am so inspired by your article and all the fun things you have done this season!
    Next season we need to do a lot more playing together!

    • Reply
      April 5, 2024 at 12:12 PM

      Absolutely Ann! We definitely should…having said that I think you are going to be busy enough chairing the Naples Table event next year. 😉

  • Reply
    April 5, 2024 at 12:00 PM

    I love your art work. You are a natural. I think the one of your dog is beautifully done.
    I particularly love the photograph of you flying off the slide into the Gulf. Not sure I’d have the nerve to do that. I would be worried about sharks!

    • Reply
      April 5, 2024 at 12:10 PM

      I am hardly a natural Nicole but thanks for saying so LOL. The teachers were all just very good and gave me great instructions!
      If there are any sharks in this water they would have been afraid of the splash I made! LOL
      It was fun to play on it with my granddaughters.
      Have a great weekend.

  • Reply
    April 5, 2024 at 12:03 PM

    This story is a tremendous pitch for you community. I hope someone of importance notices it.
    I spend most of my days on the golf course. Next year I am going to take your advice and ‘put myself out there and try new things’. Thanks for this post. Very inspiring and well written.

    • Reply
      April 5, 2024 at 12:08 PM

      Thanks Marianne. I am happy enough to share my stories with my readers.
      I am thrilled though that you are going to try some new things! It has been fun for me for sure.

  • Reply
    April 5, 2024 at 12:03 PM

    You should do reviews for a living. You make me want to move to Bonita and be a part of your camp. What fun.

    • Reply
      April 5, 2024 at 12:06 PM

      Thank you Susan, that is so nice of you. You should move here. LOL…it truly is a lot of fun.
      Thanks for stopping in. Have a great weekend.

  • Reply
    April 5, 2024 at 1:40 PM

    3 words….you are amazing.
    I can feel your excitement and pure enthusiasm for life and living it !
    My heart is smiling for you. Love your writings..and your art.. I’ve just taken up watercolours and love it..spending a month in Az. Hugs to you

    • Reply
      April 5, 2024 at 2:19 PM

      Awwww shucks Marion!! You are the best. Thank you so much. It was a great season! With no SOS messages to you. 😂
      I want to try to make my own greeting cards using water colours. It is on my agenda for next season.
      Have a wonderful time in Arizona with the good Dr. 💕 Thanks for stopping in.

  • Reply
    Betty King
    April 5, 2024 at 10:06 PM

    You really do have a talent for writing. As you know I am in Bonita Bay and I am ashamed to say I only golf, play bridge and eat and drink!! I would love to join you on your next adventure in BB but I won’t jump off the end of the boat as I would get my hair wet!! xx BBMA

    • Reply
      April 5, 2024 at 10:19 PM

      HA!!! That made me LOL!!!!
      You are the best BBMA!!!
      YELD ❤️

  • Reply
    April 6, 2024 at 7:35 PM

    Dear Marion – I have so many wonderful memories about our weekend at the pup camp. And although it was ‘rustic’ I was grateful for the time with you and your family. My favourite memories are watching you and Savannah on the robes course laughing and enjoying time together & you and me texting at 3am from opposite sides of the cabin. Miss you very much – I am forever blessed for our time together last summer at the beach. xoxo.

    • Reply
      April 9, 2024 at 1:38 PM

      You were one beachin’ gal!!! Tanky and I loved having you as our Neighbour. He especially misses spying on you making your coffee in the morning 😂
      Your 3AM text was the best! OMG. I will never forget that. LOLOLOL
      I hope you come see me this summer xo xo

  • Reply
    Mary Ferguson-Allan
    April 7, 2024 at 10:01 AM

    Finally managed to get into my computer and read your article, what a good read sounds like you have had quite a busy winter now it’s time to come home and start to get the house put together to your liking. Looking forward to you coming home. Love you, mom x

    • Reply
      April 9, 2024 at 1:40 PM

      I am so excited to get home. 11 more sleeps xo

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