Monday, December 28, 2009

An Art & Educational Event at Weedon Island Preserve

Residents and Visitors alike should make time to visit the The Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center. The Center focuses on the natural, cultural and archaeological history of the preserve. The Preserve includes two canoeing / kayaking trails in the preserve, over four miles of nature trails for hiking, and areas for fishing and picnicking.

A 3,000-foot boardwalk leads visitors to a 45 foot observation tower is an excellent aid to viewing birds and other wildlife. With favorable weather conditions, one can see much of the Preserve and Tampa Bay from this tower, as well as the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg.

Wild Thing, I Think I Love You

An Art & Education Event at Weedon Island Preserve

Make SPECIAL plans to visit the Preserve on Saturday, January 9, 2010, from 1 to 4 pm.

You’ll love the wild things that have been captured (on canvas) by local artists from Augustine-Ludovico Studio. See Gopher Tortoises, Pelicans, Screech Owls, Alligators, Mangroves, scenes from Egmont Key, Fort Desoto Park and more.

Exhibiting Artists include: Lorraine Cavanaugh, Loren Corrieri, Diana Craig, Vivek Lakhotia, Marc Levasseur, Augustine Ludovico, and Suzanne Wheeler.

Meet the artists

Date: Saturday, January 9, 2010

Time 1- 4 p.m.,

Paintings will be on exhibit until February 28, 2010

See painting demonstrations, and also learn more about local animals and plants from Weedon Island Naturalists and classroom displays at this free art & education event.

Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center

1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg. FL 33702

For information call 727-453-6500

Directions: Take Park Blvd. east towards the Gandy Bridge. After Derby Lanes Dog Track, make a right on San Martin Blvd. There will be a brown sign for Weedon Island Preserve. Continue on San Martin until you see sign for preserve on your left.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tampa Bay Gulf Beaches Public Parking and Access

Although much of the Gulf Beaches on Florida's Pinellas County West Coast are built up with private homes, condos and resort hotels, there is still a myraid of public parking and access points along the 25 miles of Barrier Islands.

To help you find these public beach accesses with parking available the website has teamed with Plumlee Gulf Beach Realty to provide beach access information for the beach communities of Clearwater Beach, Sand Key, Belleair Beach, Belleair Shores, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Redington Shores, North Redington Beach, Redington Beach, Madeira Beach, Treasure Island, Sunset Beach, St. Pete Beach, Pass A Grille

An explaination of the Gulf Blvd. Mile Markers and the Beach Trolley System are also included on this helpful resource.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Speaking of Food ...

Residents and Visitors to Tampa Bay's Gulf Beaches have a myriad of choices when it comes to restaurants and grocery stores. The following are my personal observations, not influenced by advertising dollars as no restaurants or grocery currently advertises on my web sites.

SUSHI ... When I get Sushi cravings, I head to KiKu on Clearwater Beach. Upstairs in the Pelican Plaza at 483 Mandalay Avenue, Master Sushi Chef Daniel has developed a strong following of locals, and "Blending a unique fusion of East meets West Coast Japanese fare, Kiku brings an innovative approach in Japanese cooking to Clearwater Beach and Tampa Bay in an upscale, urban environment."
NOTE: Closed on Sundays!

GREEK ... Just opened in August, Greektown Grille at 1230 Cleveland St (East of downtown Clearwater) quickly became my favorite for Greek cuisine. Operated by the Karamountzos family, restaurant veterans, I predict a bright future for this establishment.

When I'm looking for dinner in Tampa's Ybor district, I head to 1833 E. 7th Ave. and the Acropolis Greek Taverna. Outside seating lets the diner enjoy the cooler days and warm evenings we often enjoy, while inside diners can enjoy the Greek music and dancing.

SEAFOOD ... There are many seafood restaurants in this area, but like many locals, I have my favorites.

Keegans Seafood Grille at 1519 Gulf Blvd. in Indian Rocks Beach was featured on the Food Channel's "Diners, Dives & Drive-ins" a couple of years ago. Now with a new owner, the menu is a bit more varied, but still features quality offerings for lunch or dinner in a relaxed atmosphere.

A bit North of Keegan's at 1701 Gulf Blvd. is Guppy's on the Beach Grill & Bar featuring an upscale environment and menu, with great outside dining plus inside seating for inclement weather.

Belleair Bluffs is home to one of my favorite seafood establishments ... Bonefish Grill (2939 W Bay Dr). Although part of a chain, the service, food, and ambiance never fails to please.

GROCERY STORES... Now that Publix has replaced my local Albertsons in Belleair Bluffs, I find myself driving to the Albertsons in Largo Mall to take advantage of their Weekend Specials and generally lower Sale Prices. I also found that the Sweetbay Supermarket at 10370 Seminole Blvd, Largo has an excellent selection at competitive prices in a modern store.

For Fresh Fish I head to Wards Seafood Market at 1001 Belleair Road, Clearwater. With two close by Produce Markets - one attached and one across the street - this can be one stop shopping.

Closer to my home and the beaches is Surf and Turf Market at 2900 West Bay Drive in Belleair Bluffs - an excellent source of Meat, Fish, and Gourmet Foods.

This list is in no way a complete list of all the good establishments in the Tampa Bay Gulf Beaches area ... and the fact someone may have been omitted does not imply they should be passed over.

Looking for a place to stay at the Beach during the Holidays or the Superbowl? Check out the Florida Vacation Rental Guide

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Bit of Florida Humor

A Bit of Florida Humor ... from the daily eJokes from david mail list

You know you're from Florida when............

"Panhandling" means going to Pensacola, Panama City or Fort Walton Beach .

Flip-flops are everyday wear.

Shoes are for business meetings and church. No, wait, flip flops are good for church too.

Socks are only for bowling.

Orange juice from concentrate makes you vomit.

Tap water makes you vomit.

Sweet tea can be served at any meal.

An alligator once walked through your neighborhood.

You smirk when a game show's "Grand Prize" is a trip to Florida .

You measure distance in minutes.

You have a drawer full of bathing suits, and one sweatshirt.

You get annoyed at the tourists who feed seagulls.

You never use an umbrella because you know the rain will be over in five minutes.

All the local festivals are named after a fruit.

A mountain is any hill 100 feet above sea level.

A good parking place has nothing to do with distance from the store, but everything to do with shade.

Your winter coat is made of denim.

You can tell the difference between fire ant bites and mosquito bites.

You know the four seasons really are: almost summer, summer, not summer but really hot, and Christmas.

Anything under 70 is chilly.

You've attended a hurricane party.

You go to a theme park for an afternoon and know when to get on the best rides.

You understand the futility of exterminating cockroaches.

You can pronounce Okeechobee, Kissimmee , Withlacoochee , Okahumpka and Loxahatchee.

You understand why it's better to have a friend with a boat than have a boat yourself.

You've driven through Yeehaw Junction.

Bumper stickers on the pickup in front of you include various fish, the NRA and a confederate flag.

You were 8 before you realized they made houses without pools.

You were 12 when you first met someone who couldn't swim.

You've worn shorts and used the A/C on Christmas.

You know what the "stingrays huffle" is and why it's important!

You could swim before you could read.

You know that no other grocery store can compare to Publix.

Every other house had blue roofs in 2004-2005.

You've gotten out of school early on Halloween to trick or treat before it got dark.

You know that anything under a Category 3 Hurricane just isn't worth waking up for.

You dread the lovebug seasons.

You are on a first-name basis with the Hurricane list. They aren't Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances, but Charley , Frances , Ivan, Jeanne and Wilma.

You know why flamingos are pink.

You think a six-foot alligator is actually pretty average.

You were twelve before you ever saw snow or you still haven't.

When the northerners complain that 80 is 'so hot', you just stand there and smile.

You refer to the seasons as "Tourist Season", "Fire Season" "Hurricane Season" and "Mosquito Season"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Exciting Art from Behind the Iron Curtain.

I made an opportunity to re-visit the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts recently, and strongly recommend spending time with the Florida Collects Folk Art which is featured thru July 8, 2007. If you arrive at a time convenient to a docent tour .. take the tour ... the stories told about some of the various artists, styles, and works bring additional meaning to some of the over 120 idiosyncratic works that defy categorization. It has been called folk, outsider, visionary, and the more accepted term, contemporary self-taught art. I agree with the museum website that contemporary self-taught art is now considered, like the blues, spirituals, and jazz, a great contribution to American culture.

I was not as impressed with the On the Road photo exhibitions. Nice prints, but with the "Kerouac" reference I longed for more background information on the photos, the photographer, and "why" the image was selected from their vast collection. An obvious short-coming was the display of just ONE picture of an old Alabama store, noted as being from a series taken in the same spot every 5 years over a period of many years. Wanting was more, more images showing the changes overtime!

But the REAL TREAT of the day was across the street from the Museum of Fine Arts. Tucked in among other interesting store front shops was the Croatian Naive Art: Gallery and Museum Collection. Glancing in the window revealed colorful, whimsical paintings with a glossy, glassy look. Each image "popped" with vibrant color.

Stepping inside I was pleased to see even more of these intriguing paintings and was just realizing they were painted in reverse on glass, when James Nannen, the moving force behind this Gallery, approached me. James readily explained that farmers in Croatia, during their cold winters between farming seasons, perfected the skill of creating art on the back of glass panes.

4 of more layers of paint are laid down for each painting .. with the foreground colors first, and the background painted last. It boggled my mind thinking about how difficult it would be to turn a vision into a reality - backwards.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union these unique original, one-of-a-kind reverse oil on glass paintings from Croatia are now available in the United States.

An 90 day exhibition at the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts in 2000 called "The Fantastical World of Croatian Naive Art" introduced Croatian Naive art to the United States and drew record crowds and rave reviews. James was so impressed with the 100 paintings from the 10 Croatian artists exhibited that he spent the next few years gathering information, making contacts, traveling to Croatia several times, and finally opening his gallery in the Fall of 2006.

Do yourself a favor ... Take the time to check out the art work, the story, and the 15 minute narrated slide show - not exciting, but very informative ... it's worth the time ... at their website


Next time you're in downtown St. Petersburg, stop by 300 Beach Drive and check out Croatian Naive Art and catch the enthusiasm of James and his staff for this unique art style.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Regions Bank (AmSouth) Exchanges Canadian $ for Free!

I often "buy" quarters from my local AmSouth bank for use in parking meters, laundry machines, and other coin operated devices. Recently I found 3 Canadian Quarters mixed in with the US Quarters I expected. Since they won't work in US vending machines, and since they are not quite worth as much as a US Quarter, the next time I took a deposit to the bank and I also took along the 3 Canadian Quarters and asked for an exchange. Here's what I learned.

1) If you take a roll of coins to the bank, they WILL NOT put your name, acct. # or business name on the roll, so there is no way anyone can trace the roll back to you.

2) Usually they do not unwrap and recount the coins.

Therefore, to get FREE exchange of Canadian Coins to US $$$, just wrap them up with some US coins, take them to the bank and either deposit them or ask for paper money in exchange. NO EXCHANGE FEE involved!

Of course, the person who later "buys" the roll, as I did, gets screwed .. but the bank doesn't seem to care .. Even thought I'm a "good" customer, they refused to exchange my 75 cents Canadian for 75 cents US! (Who's more petty, them or me? - Well, I'm sure they have more money than me ... so it certainly hurt me more than it would have them! ... So much for "Customer Service")

They did tell me, however, how to avoid getting YOUR Canadian coins when I next purchase rolls of coin.

Simply insist on NEW COIN in Federal Reserve Wrappers! ... If the teller says they have none, then you will have to open the coins - at the teller window - to be sure you're getting what you asked for!

At a current exchange rate of around 7%, this is a better return on my investment than their savings accounts!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Swimming in the Gulf - temps & conditions link

Summer is here, and with that season comes daily temperatures in the mid to high 80's, and often humidity to match. One of the advantages of living near the Gulf is the ability to take a bit of time off from working to go for a swim in the Gulf and cool off.

Water temperatures are now high enough (in the mid 80's) that I'm able to spend an hour or so floating on my "noodle" and enjoying the serenity without the freezing sensation that often comes with cooler water.
You can find the latest conditions of Clearwater Beach from the NOAA Buoy Data Center website.

I swam off Indian Rocks Beach Saturday and was pleased to see many other people enjoying this fine day at the beach. I'm sure that scene was repeated up and down our barrier islands.

If you live in the area, I encourage you to make the trip to the Gulf and renew your Summertime Spirit.

If you live far from the Gulf, make arrangements to come on down and vacation here. Check out the many vacation rentals available via the Florida Vacation Rental Guide.

See you at the beach,


Welcome to the NEW Tampa Bay Gulf Beaches Blog

Welcome to the Tampa Bay Gulf Beaches Blog where I will, from time to time, provide information about happenings in the Tampa Bay Gulf Beaches area and area websites.

Feel free to leave your suggestions for things to do, comments about the area, or anything else you feel would be appropriate for residents of and/or visitors to the Tampa Bay Gulf Coast Beaches.

This is my first attempt at blogging, so bear with me as I work out the details.