Welcome to my "Florida" blog

Being a third generation Florida native, I'm completely enamored with the diverse beauty of this gorgeous peninsula. For most of the year the weather is divine which makes exploring its unlimited nooks and crannies fun and easy.

Wherever I go I appreciate nature and the world around me. Come along with me as I share the places I visit and perhaps a few other amusements I find interesting along the way.

(FYI: Every post prior to January 1, 2009 was previously published and imported from my garden blog)

Monday, December 31, 2007

tarpon springs

Central Florida weather has been so mild and rather spring-like this December. This is the time of year when we Florida natives can actually enjoy being outdoors taking advantage of our great parks and attractions.
Hubby and I made our way toward the gulf into the next county Saturday afternoon. The Anclote River Park in Tarpon Springs was to be our first destination before heading to an early dinner in Tarpon. Positioned at the opening of the Anclote River and the Gulf of Mexico makes the park's location unique. It provides waterfront (shaded by pines & palms) picnic areas, boat ramps and a beach swimming area.

Black mangrove, Avicennia germinans; growing at the water's edge. The black mangrove can be identified by numerous finger-like projections, called pneumatophores, that protrude from the soil around the tree's trunk.

I did my usual photo overload while hubby found a comfy place to sit and read.

With the sun setting so early-- the afternoon was quickly turning into evening. We moved on to make our way back to the main thoroughfare in Tarpon where visitors come to walk Dodecanese Boulevard and visit its unique Greek shops, buy sponges and feast at restaurants serving traditional Greek fare and delectable pastries. Many of the shops are owned and operated by the descendants of the City’s first immigrants from Greece.

Tarpon Springs is a predominantly Greek community famous for its sponge docks and great food. Rusty Bellies is a fabulous seafood restaurant we had been to on other occasions. We are fastly calling it a favorite. They actually send their own boats out daily for fresh caught seafood. Yummy stuff and a surprising rarity around here- fresh caught that is.

We sat outside overlooking (literally- I was sitting in my seat taking this photo) this ginormous fishing boat at sunset with a perfect breeze blowing off the water. Our meal was spectacular including one of the best crab bisque soups we've ever had.

Hanging fishing nets at the back of the ginormous fishing boat at sunset.

After dinner we strolled along the street to the sponge docks where so many fishing boats are lined up with nets full of sponges.

Variety of sponges for sale at the sidewalk markets that open onto a shopping square.

Crowds of people waited to be seated at one of the many Greek restaurants on the main street.

We picked up some freshly made Baklava at one of the many Greek bakeries along the way. So much good food and good times.
The weather predictions for the next couple of days is by Wednesday morning to turn very cold . Of course cold here is in the 40's but there is a possibility of a freeze by Thursday morning. We will watch and see. I will be busily covering plants if so... I really hope not.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

florida december beach

the very next day after i went to cedar key with hubby i headed south to anna maria island with a dear long-time friend to spend a girl-day at a few of our favorite haunts.

we started out at "ginny's" antique shop and tea room for shopping and lunch. inside this unique and quaint gift shop --among all the wares for sale (new and old things)- tables and chairs have been placed throughout with seating for 2 or 4 or 6 with no two tables of like-kind. the food fare includes homemade quiche, sandwiches, soups, desserts and coffees. the creamy aspargus soup we chose to begin with was out of this world good.

across the street lies one of florida's quiet beaches. we walked over the wooden ramp to sugary white sand and clear blue waters.
december weather in florida is most often ideal, tourista perfect. this day it was warm in the sun and cool in the shade. we parked our chairs as close to the shoreline as we could and commenced to chat for hours.

of course we walked up and down the beach for a long time too... but always keeping pace with our ability to talk.

as long as i've lived in florida- all my life actually since i'm a native- the sights, sounds and smells of any beach quickens my soul and enlivens every fiber of my being. it is peaceful and restful there and yet everything about it is so alive and active.

the restaurant where we ate dinner is a walk-off-the-beach experience. our table sat in the sand facing the sunset.

i must remember not to wait too long for my next visit. i guess this is why so many people from the north come here this time of year... the beauty and perfect temps are delightfully alluring.