What started in January, 2007 as a pleasant way for men to fill their time on Wednesdays while the women were occupying the golf course, is now a full-blown extravaganza at Monterey. Bocce for women began in 2009, two years after the men's teams were organized, and amazingly there was enough interest to fill both Tuesdays and Thursdays with women's teams playing a nine-week schedule. By that time, the men's participation had expanded to include both Wednesdays and Mondays, and at the close of that season the first tournament of couples vying for a championship was held in March. The leaders called it "March Madness." This rather predictable contest has exploded into a huge chart of pairings over a two-week period to conclude the bocce season, and all players are welcome to take part. Each participating couple is given one opportunity to move up from one level of competition to the next. The final evening, when the championship will be decided, brings over a hundred spectators to the bocce court dragging chairs and balancing beverages the better to see and enjoy the fun and suspense. Yes, you're allowed to holler and cheer on your favorites, and the crowd has even more fun than the players, with the end result quite worthy of the title.
Green definitely dominated at Monterey's dinner party on St. Patrick's Day. Patrons arrived in full regalia, with plenty of beaded necklaces and ties printed with shamrocks. Joe Canney kept the Irish music coming as background during the social hour. Who but the Irish can boast a bulging collection of familiar sad and happy songs describing their land and their loves that honestly bring tears to your eyes?
A mixed collection of bottles adorned our still-new round tables, with some of the patrons adding to the pre-dinner enjoyment with home baked authentic Irish Soda Bread that might have gotten passed around to you if you were lucky. Of course you can guess what we had for dinner!
Monterey's dedicated partygoers were joined by many of our newcomers to celebrate the day and join the fun of line dancing and stylish freestyle. Energy levels were high, as you might expect, and the group singing from printed song sheets was friendly enough and raucous enough to guarantee they'll all be back again next year.
A crowd of over a hundred enthusiastic gamblers rocked the Yacht Club to bring the shortest month to an end with a blast of togetherness. Jammed around the roulette and black jack tables, the crowds were intent on spinning wheels and flying dice, play money in hand, while the more sober minded kept eight tables occupied with Twenty-one. Waitresses looking for drink orders worked their way through the crowd, while others circulated with trays loaded with fee cookies. In the capable hands of Sam and Kathy Mondello, with plenty of friends to help, Vegas Night once again proved itself a huge favorite at Monterey. The traditional horse race followed by prize drawings ended the evening, with virtually everybody going home with some memento of the evening's fast-paced fun.
Times Square had nothing on Monterey in its display of anticipation for the new year's arrival. Even at the seven p.m. starting time, a crowd of party-goers was assembled and ready to hang on for the long haul. There were plenty of hats and horns to go round and lots of dancing to an eclectic selection of music by our own impresario DJ. Some of the more adventurous, younger dancers, were the highlight of the evening with an amazing display of "twerking". When the magic moment of midnight rolled around, much to the surprise of the organizers many of the hundred revelers were still on hand to share greetings and make a big wish for a HAPPY NEW YEAR.
The door of the school bus opened, and nineteen carolers filed into our Yacht Club on the morning of December 5 to great anticipation of over a hundred residents of Monterey, a custom for many years now. The Hope Rural School of Indiantown annually sends their kindergarteners to entertain us with song.
Dressed in capes, with top hats, bonnets, plaid collars, and bows, the children, accompanied by two teachers and their bus driver, shyly but competently lined up in two rows to present their program of Christmas songs. "God rest ye merry Gentlemen," never sounded so good, as reflected in the smiles and gestures of the audience.
After the concluding "We wish you a Merry Christmas," the children circulated among the patrons to exchange words and hugs before adjourning to the porch to examine their bags of presents and savor milk and cookie refreshments furnished by the hostess and her friends, who also provided Christmas goodies for those in attendance, the price of admission being a toy or a cash donation.
The mission of the Hope Rural School of Indiantown is to offer hope to families. The school provides education from pre-K through Grade 5 and primarily serves children from immigrant families.
Monterey's ponds are full and if that doesn't turn you on, you're not from here – and the grass is thick and green and the golf course is beautiful! Returning snowbirds may not quickly recognize recent enhancements to the Palm City Road entry but do notice how good the place looks and how great it feels to be back. Once chilly mornings are the norm in northern climes, it's nearly impossible to deny the pull of the gorgeous October weather in Florida and Monterey's promise of activity and companionship. So people do what comes naturally – fly down to enjoy a few weeks in the sun before the calendar compels them to go back for holidays with the family. October/ November at Monterey has become another "season."
When you get the suitcases in the door, take a leisurely walk over to the office to "sign in". Everybody you meet on the way will smile and say, "Welcome back!" Stop and chat a bit with the people you encounter. Talk about the summer and about spouses and mutual friends. Seeing people on the first day back is the grandest homecoming you can imagine!
Just playing a round of golf is the obvious route to re-acquaintance with the landscape. Of course, it's all familiar, but that's what makes it so special! Still, you spot details…the length of the grass where your ball could hide… the new little neat rectangles for "drop" areas…the young grass on the expanded greens …those gorgeous old trees on the seventh fairway…and that same darn squirrel bothering your bag as you stop at the drinking fountain after playing Number Six! Of course a trip to the beach, downtown Stuart, the Elliott Museum and the new Indian Street Bridge are in order to see the changes and progress since Spring
In the Main Clubhouse, stroll through the library and stop to see the picture displays on the bulletin boards. (A boat ride for everybody's favorite photographer with a rowdy crew celebrating his birthday and Mothers Day; and a more sedate group having cake with the sweet lady in Building 22 when she turned one hundred!) If you're really energetic, you can sign the list right away to play on next week's men's or women's golf day. Upstairs, in the office, Chris and Gale and Gail are happy to see you and ready with help if you need it. Can life get any better than this?
About 38 Monterey residents from the New England and New York area met up at the Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut on August 21st. The NY area residents drive or take the Sea Jet ferry out of Orient Point, Long Island to meet up with the New England residents. There were also a few residents from New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
We all enjoyed a morning of gambling at the Foxwoods casino and a great lunch at the Golf Club. Afterwards some of us returned to the tables and slots, or just walked around and enjoyed the native America architecture.
The DeCarmine's, Luciano's, and the Bates' organized this event quite a few years ago. It is a great "snowbird" reunion to catch up on the events since heading north for the summer.
It is a wonderful summer break and opportunity to renew our Monterey friendships prior to our return to Stuart in the fall or early next year. This rendezvous' has become a great tradition that should continue for many years to come.
Monterey residents should see improving traffic patterns soon. There will be a project completion ceremony around the middle of November, and the Veterans Memorial (Indian Street) bridge should be open to traffic around Thanksgiving this year. The new bridge is expected to cut the traffic across the Palm City bridge in half. The project was funded by Federal, State and Martin County with a total cost of approximately 112 million dollars. The bridge will feature six overlooks, dedicated bicycle lanes and pedestrian walkways on both sides of the bridge. Intersections on both ends of the bridge have been widened for traffic control and decorative lighting and landscaping are included in the project.
While the snow birds have fled to northern climes, the slower pace at Monterey has been relaxing, but not without activity. The permanent residents still enjoy golf whenever they want and of course, the pool gossip continues.
The golf course is in excellent shape, enhancements to the outer wall at the entrance have been added and the maintenance crews are busy with summer cleanup and repairs.
There was a nice 4th of July luncheon at the Club House, arranged by Robbie Hart and volunteers, and of course a great Independence Day celebration at Flagger Park in Stuart with our own Bill DeNeill on drums with the Stuart Community Band, followed by a spectacular fireworks display over the St. Lucie River.
Numerous other opportunities have presented themselves for some creative photography by the local "paparazzi".
If the color green appeals to you, you'd have been right at home with the decor at our St. Paddy's Day party at the Yacht Club on THE day. Most of the "decor" was in constant motion, standing in as the attire of the would-be Irish folk in attendance. Every touch of green was represented. One individual managed to combine shamrocks with palm trees on his shirt in a way that was quite fetching. Others had versions of traditional hats and caps in green felt that effectively gave off strong Irish appeal.
Competition by local taverns for the corned beef business of the local populace had no effect whatever on attendance at Monterey's annual shindig. The place was jammed. The green beer ran freely. The music was fast and cheerful, bringing the patrons onto their feet and in a mood for fun. The crowd was a lovely blend of the old and the new. Anybody looking and listening in from the outside would have to admit: this was not just a party. This was a celebration!