On March 9, I participated in a walkathon near Vinoy Park and downtown St. Petersburg. I adored the area and I knew Joe would share in my reverence. I wanted to explore the city after the walkathon, but I didn’t have the time. The following day he and I set our sights upon the area. Like the team that is Lewis and Clark, we headed out on our expedition eager to discover a hidden jewel hidden among the palm tree-lined streets.
I did as I always do on all of our trips- eye-ball the Starbucks. I needed my decaf iced mocha latte (minus the whip) fix like a PMS she-monster ravaging the streets for chocolate. Ok, my caffeine addiction isn’t that bad because I drink decaf. Nonetheless, that doesn’t stop my taste buds salivating for that rich chocolate and coffee combination. I decided to wait and work up a sweat for my cup o’joe. I knew I would have no problem doing that because Joe is equally obsessed with spending time outdoors soaking up the sunshine. If he had his way we’d be out there until the sunset.
We took a cruise through Vinoy Park. Eventually the sidewalk lead us to a small “beach”- a skinny stretch of white sand connected to the bay instead of the ocean. I spied a small playground in the distance and a restroom with drinking fountains. I was relieved to go on a restroom break. Joe and I have this long running joke that because of my small bladder I know where all the restrooms in Disney World are located. I noticed, as I walk back over to Joe, that the area was populated with moms, kids, and seniors.
Two hours have almost past since we first arrived. It was hot and I was both hungry and thirsty. A wide smile crept across my face. Cue my happy woman jig. It was STARBUCKS time!
I got my mocha fix along with a chicken humus bistro box. I really like their bistro boxes. The fare is light and tastes fresh and delicious. Having tried them all, the chicken and humus is my favorite.
We explored the outdoors and worked up not just a sweat but a suntan. Joe had his fun and now it was my turn. I decided we needed to tour the shops!
At the top of my list was the St. Pete Pier. The Pier has several restaurants including the second site for Tampa’s Columbia Restaurant, and a handful of retail shops. Every Sunday local musicians play in the Pier’s courtyard. There is also a small aquarium upstairs. Unfortunately I didn’t see it. I am scared of elevators, especially old, rickety ones. They had stairs but you had to be accompanied by a security guard. I didn’t want to make a big stink, so I decided to forgo the visit upstairs.
What I enjoyed the most was surprisingly the outside perimeter. Pelicans hung out near fishermans’ pole hoping to snag the catch of the day. I tried to get to close to them but they snapped their beak at me (the bird not the fisherman- hahaha). “Mine, Mine, Mine?”
One of the coolest activities at the Pier is the Wheel Fun Rental. I wanted to try the single suerry. O-M-G – what a bucket full of laughs we would have had driving around town in that thing. Regrettably, it wasn’t in our budget. Darn. Maybe next time.
We visited Hooker Tea Company next. I ordered a glass of iced tea called bamboo tea which is made up of bamboo, pineapple, papaya, loquat leaves, lemongrass, mango, banana, lichee and mallow blossoms. It was a light, fruity decaf tea perfect for a hot sunny day such as this one. There was a long line and we had to wait awhile before being served. The service itself was perfect. The staff was friendly and took orders as quickly as any non superhuman could. FYI- the tea is brewed upon order which is another reason for long wait times. It’s worth it because I’d rather have fresh tea.
EXTRA EXTRA read all about it! Meet the new Lewis and Clark: Junk Food Junkie and Healthy Girl! Joe is taking a break on the bench near a history museum.
Our next destination was the Savory Spice Shop. I LOVE finding new spice stores. Most of my spices in my cabinet come funky towns and unique places Joe and I have visited. I rarely buy my spices at Walmart or Publix unless it’s a Thanksgiving Day emergency. I buzzed through the front door and found myself in wonderland. The shelves are stocked with every spice and rub imaginable. And, again, the staff was enthusiastic and knowledgeable. A clerk spotted me and helped me find what I was searching for which was ceylon cinnamon. What’s up with downtown St. Pete retail shops and friendly clerks? I need to come here more often. Everyone is so nice!
Our last stop was the beautiful and historic Vinoy Renaissance. It is a gorgeous pink vintage hotel built during the 1920’s. I told Joe this is place we should get married at! We snuck inside and took a tour. Joe was hesitant at first but like I told him, who’s going to know we aren’t guests? After all were not a bunch of rowdy teenagers crashing the pool.
It was a fun day for the both of us. Unfortunately the one thing I forgot was to put on sunscreen. Two weeks have passed from the time of our visit and now writing this post. I still have a nasty scab on my chest. I rarely go out in the sun without my sunscreen and if I am at the beach I always bring a cover-up and an umbrella. I have nice skin because of my efforts to combat the sunshine. Oh well prevail and gain knowledge.
Our visit to downtown St. Pete was entertaining and I can’t wait to go back. During our expedition we racked up over 8 miles of walking! See? Exercise can be fun! Get out there like us and explore. The more you move the more you gain: muscle, tone, memories, laughter and fun. Definitely come and visit if you are ever in the area.