Travelrific® Travel Journal

A blog for travel enthusiasts. Listen to our podcasts on the blogroll at Travelrific® Radio. Visit our Wanderful Places® Travel Shop for travel-inspired merchandise!

Archive for Florida

Sunshine City

By Linda Tancs

Considering that Florida is the Sunshine State, it might seem silly to call out any one locale as “Sunshine City.” But St. Petersburg makes a strong case for it, holding the title of “most consecutive days with sunshine” at 768 days! That’s good news for sun worshippers, but there’s so much more to do there. The city is home to the world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum, housing the largest collection of his works outside Europe. It also hosts Mahaffey Theater, home of the Florida Orchestra, and a fine arts museum with a collection spanning 5,000 years.

Advertisements

Celebrating the Sunset in Clearwater

By Linda Tancs

Florida’s Gulf Coast city of Clearwater may seem overshadowed at times by St. Petersburg (the area is, after all, frequently paired off in print as St. Petersburg/Clearwater), but that’s hardly the case at Clearwater Beach. A vibrant beach town, they’re big on sunsets—so much so that they celebrate it all year long. Sunsets at Pier 60 Daily Festival on the beach operates all year from two hours before until two hours after sunset, weather permitting. The nightly celebration features artisans, crafters, street performers and, of course, the sunset, previously voted the best sunset in America. See if you agree.

Sponge Capital of the World

By Linda Tancs

Known for its Greek culture, Tarpon Springs is a city along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Just 45 minutes north of St. Petersburg, the locale is named for the fish found in abundance in nearby waters. Greek eateries line the waterfront, a legacy of the sponge divers who settled there in the early 1900s. Walk along Dodecanese Boulevard to see docked sponge boats and shops selling sea sponges, a tribute to the city’s status as sponge capital of the world. A bit quieter is the historic downtown district, where art galleries, antique stores and specialty shops are housed in buildings dating from the late 1800s.

Wings Over Florida

By Linda Tancs

The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail is a network of 510 premier wildlife viewing sites across the state. Crystal River Archaeological State Park is part of that trail, offering bird watchers ample viewing from the shell midden. The park is also a National Historic Landmark, its Native American mound complex being one of the longest continuously occupied sites in Florida. In fact, for 1,600 years the site served as an imposing ceremonial center for Native Americans. The visitor center/museum contains exhibits displaying artifacts related to the site.

A Hotbed for Machine and Mammal

By Linda Tancs

In the 1800s, Florida’s Blue Spring Landing was a hotbed of activity for steamboat owners. It was owned by gold prospector-turned-orange grower Louis Thursby, who purchased Blue Spring (a first magnitude spring on the St. John’s River) in 1856. In the 20th century, the site even hosted an episode of the Underwater World of Jacques Cousteau. The documentary highlighted Blue Spring as a winter refuge for the manatee, Florida’s state marine mammal. As a result, the state ultimately purchased the land, creating Blue Spring State Park in Orange City. Manatee season runs from mid-November throughout March, and the park fills to capacity quickly. A self-guided tour of the Thursby house is also available.

Florida’s Oldest House

By Linda Tancs

In St. Augustine, Florida, the Oldest House Museum Complex features Florida’s oldest house (over three centuries old), the Gonzalez-Alvarez House. The dwelling is a National Historic Landmark and an example of the oldest Spanish Colonial structure in existence in Florida. Docents lead guests through a 25-minute guided tour. The house is one of many stops along the Red Sightseeing Trains route.

 

Florida’s First Magic Kingdom

By Linda Tancs

Before The Mouse, there was the house—that is, the Tampa Bay Hotel, a lavishly grand hotel built by railroad magnate Henry B. Plant as a respite for wealthy Northerners. Affectionately referred to as Florida’s first “Magic Kingdom,” the 1891 Victorian-era getaway with soaring minarets (inspired by trips to the Middle East) is a National Historic Landmark now occupied by the University of Tampa. A section of the building is reserved as the Henry B. Plant Museum, featuring original opulent furnishings and artifacts from the hotel collected by Mr. and Mrs. Plant during their world travels as well as educational exhibits related to the late Victorian period, the beginning of Florida’s tourist industry and the early years of Tampa as a small village before Plant left his imprint.

 

%d bloggers like this: