Land of Newlyweds and the Nearly Dead
Just kidding! I stole that line from a guy that we met at Hog Island Fish Camp. He lived in this area his whole life, and during his teenage years “newlyweds & nearly-deads” pretty much summed up the demographics back then. Today it is more diversified, and vibrant. This week we head to the Gulf Coast and see for ourself.
We stationed ourselves in Palm Harbor – borrowing the Gleason’s condo for four nights, five days.
Arriving just around Happy Hour, the mostly Canadian residents gather around the pool to work on their tans, and their whiskey sodas.
We took a pass on the sodas – preferring our hoppy poison, which we picked up along the way. (You know us, never passing on a beer opportunity, we checked out Tampa’s Coppertail Brewing.)
Anyway, we joined the “Canadian party,” and enjoyed the camaraderie. Let’s just say there were a couple of “cannnnoooon balls”, and fun poked at our westcoast ways.
During our visit, we managed to not move our car at all. This is quite a feat, considering the unit does not have cable or wifi. (Well, extremely limited wifi, you can borrow it from the clubhouse, if you sit real close to a window, and tilt the computer just so.) But we did a lot of exploring, and all by bike.
A Linear Park
Hugging our Palm Harbor digs is a bike path which stretches 20 miles north, and 29.8 miles south, with a few side paths for extra adventure. This stretch of land was inspired, sadly, by the death of a young cyclist, hit by a car while crossing one of the causeways. It took years of bureaucracy to get even the first 5 miles installed.
Today, almost 50 miles, you can see a lot of Tampa Bay. Even with its many intersections, cars were extremely respectful of the cyclists, allowing us to rarely hit the brakes. One of the Rails to Trails, known as the Pinellas Trail, a linear park.
I think it’s safe to say that Dunedin is one of the highlights along this trail, and only 4 miles from our Palm Harbor base. Offering a sense-of-community vibe, a nice historical district, and plenty of cute little beach shops filled with those crafty little word signs, seashells and mermaid paraphernalia. Didn’t see any taffy, but we found great ice cream and some “good eats”.
My Big Highlight = Honeymoon Island
Once known as Hog Island, a land developer purchased the land with a vision to build romantic beachside huts. He knew a name change was a must, but ran out of cash, time, and the place fell into disrepair until the state acquired it and made it what it is today: Honeymoon Island State Park. Such a beautiful beach filled with nature, and so close to the urban centers.
Whenever I get a chance to see a free-wheeling dolphin, it’s a GREAT day. Honeymoon Island offered dolphin sightings, beach combing, extraordinary birdlife and reinforced the notion that LIFE IS WONDERFUL. This is where I’ll wrap up, a few images of my favorite stop from our mini getaway: