Content about stpetebeach

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Occasionally I find myself in St. Pete Beach without Renee. It's not the same without her, of course, but one perk of the solo trips is having smoked fish at Ted Peters. It's just not her thing, so we never go when we're down here together.

Well, I've been down here for work the last couple days, and I'm heading home tomorrow. So smoked salmon, German potato salad, and Miller High Life in a frosted mug was an easy call.

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I think this is a first — I've got the entire pool to myself.

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Well, we didn't miss it. Caught the sunset at nearly the last second possible, as we pulled into the parking area under the condo. It was beautiful, even with this limited view.

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The sunsets have been nice so far this trip, but not spectacular. Tonight's was a step in the right direction.

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Went to the Farmers' Market in downtown St. Pete Beach today. The crowd is relatively light this time of year, with the heat. But I still enjoy going. Renee and Denny stopped to peruse some real estate listings — "looking at houses we can't afford" according to Jake. A listing for an empty lot on Pass-a-Grille caught my eye. He's not wrong.

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Shane, Kaylee, and Lindsey enjoying a little pool time.

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Noticed some pretty cool lines and colors when I looked out and saw Renee and Pat watching the sunset on the patio tonight.

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It was quite hot out today, even into the evening. Ice cream with the whole family was a great way to end the day. Teddy even got his vanilla pup cup, free on Wednesday's.

Mornings are a little atypical on this trip as we have to check the air for the smell of dead fish and red tide toxin before heading out to the patio for coffee. Red tide happens from time to time, but it feels like the "to" part of that expression is getting a little shorter lately.

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Denny and Pat closed on the sale of their Gulf Winds condo the other day, marking the end of their 46 years there. An end of an era for the family for sure.

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Giuseppe's asked Jake if he wanted to "vandalize" their wall. Not really vandalism if you're invited to do it, but it's cool nonetheless.

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Just a couple of guys waiting on our pizza. And calzones.

We decided to try a new (to us) pizza joint on our last night–Giuseppe's on Gulf Boulevard. Jake and I walked there and took this photo outside while we waited for them to finish the order. Pretty good pizza, and the calzones were huge.

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We hadn't really been to the beach during this trip—water was still too cold! We decided to dip our toes tonight though, thinking it wouldn't be a complete trip with out doing so.

I caught this shot of Renee and Pam as we headed out. Sisters, headed to the beach. Not sure why, but I like the black and white treatment on this photo.

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Spending a little extra time at the pool today before heading home tomorrow. Weather is absolutely perfect.

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Relevant data points for the day.

There's a storm sweeping across the route home today, so we'll stay another day. Darn. ;-)

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We enjoyed another perfect sunset here tonight. I love this casual shot I captured of Renee and Jake watching it over the railing on the patio.

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Another photo, from the Florida Memory Project.

Required notice: This work is from the Florida Memory Project hosted at the State Archive of Florida, and is released to the public domain in the United States under the terms of Section 257.35(6), Florida Statutes.

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And to prove that progress isn't all bad, here's another shot from our balcony looking over the preserve at Upham Beach. In the Aquatarium photo above, you can see the beach is only...a beach. At some point they established a preserve between the beach near the water and the street. Now it's lush, green, and full of birds and other wildlife. It's a beautiful and functional buffer.

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To complete the walk down memory lane, here's a shot from our balcony, looking straight down Beach Plaza. In the picture of the Aquatarium above, this is from inside the parking lot looking through the entrance to the parking lot at the bottom right of the photo, down the street.

The story of the Florida Aquatarium is short and sad, but I'm sure people all over the world have fond memories of that place. I've always viewed it as an "in between" attraction—bigger than a roadside attraction, but not quite the destination attraction that Disney ushered in.

I think my grandparents took me there once as a kid, likely after it had become Shark World based on the dates and my age at the time. Weirdly, my dominant memory is of the distinctive radial parking lot.

Renee has memories of walking along the sea wall you see in the picture posted above.

The Aquatarium is old school, beach town Florida, for sure. I miss the simplicity of it a bit, and I say that as I sit on our balcony in the air above that old parking lot in the photo above.

responsive image Jonah the whale never had a chance. A 2,000 pound pilot whale, Jonah was the “star attraction” at the Aquatarium, the $3.5 million marine park that opened on St. Petersburg Beach in the summer of 1964. Flipper, a series of hit family movies, would soon be all the rage as a Saturday night TV series, [...]
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responsive image A look at The Aquatarium, another closed attraction from Florida tourism history.
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There aren't many good photos available of the old Florida Aquatarium that used to sit on the property our condo is on now. I've found a couple over the years but not many. Tonight, we stopped in the "library" in the condo to find some good beach reads and I noticed this photo hanging in the corner. It's been there all along, I'm sure, but I've never noticed it before. I love it!

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We ended our morning adventure with a trip to the St. Pete Beach Farmer's Market. It felt good to be outside, with other people. It's probably the biggest crowd I've been part of in a year. It was all outdoors and it was easy to stay socially distant, and most people were wearing masks, so we felt comfortable. It really made me appreciate the mental benefit that comes with being fully vaccinated—it literally frees your mind.

We took Teddy with us and he did really well. Stayed calm, visited with a few of the people that wanted to pet him.

Great adventure!

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A detail view of the Corps of Engineers survey mark.

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There's a second mark on the rock at Pass-a-Grille, this one a bit more recent and detailed.

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Here's a detail view of the George T. Ward Poppas Point marker in Pass-a-Grille. I can't find any detail on either Ward or Poppas Point online. Ironically, there seems to be no permanent reference to Poppas Point or George T. Ward. Sort of weird, actually.

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At first I was a bit frustrated with this couple because I couldn't get them out of the frame as I tried to snap a pic of this marker. Then I realized how much I liked the composition.

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Some of the rocks on the pier have carvings in them. You couldn't miss the giant PAM carved into this one. Made me think of our Pam, of course, so I snapped a pic and sent it to her.

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I found a perfect sand dollar–no chips or anything. Unfortunately, I put it in my pocket and forgot about it. It was crushed to bits by the time I got home, maybe the seatbelt in the car or something. Lesson learned for the next time I find one.

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After breakfast at the Sea Horse in Pass-a-Grille, we went shelling on the beach for a bit.

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Well, this is probably the strangest sunset photo I've ever taken. We had a traffic incident happen on the street outside our balcony tonight. It seemed like a bit of road rage when it happened, but I actually think it was an accident. Coincidentally, we got our patio cam back online this afternoon and caught the entire thing on video.

The guy on the right in the orange ball cap ran over the island in the middle and hit the white car. His tire had ran up on the island as he approached the end of the street; he overcorrected in response and then shot over the island to avoid a car in front of him, hitting the parked white car. Crazy sequence of events. Luckily no one was hurt (including a pedestrian who was walking right for the white car and, had it happened 10 seconds later, might have been directly in the path of the oncoming car).

Meanwhile, the sun did its thing, in somewhat spectacular fashion.

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We went for ice cream after dinner tonight. Our usual (and favorite) Larry's was bit crowded, which gave us a little pause, so we opted for the less-crowded Sprinkles, which we haven't visited in probably over a decade.

Good ice cream and, bonus, they gave Teddy his own scoop–a vanilla pup cup! It was his first experience with ice cream. No surprise that he loved it; he even licked my cup clean after I was done.

Bringing Teddy on our trips down here might force us to rethink our ice cream routine a bit.

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Great sunset on St. Pete Beach tonight, but the sky reminds me of Missile Command a bit. Looking at this photo I feel like the hotel on the right is my last base and it's about to go under!

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The rendering of the coming Hilton Garden Inn is beautiful, of course, and I'm sure the hotel will do fine. But, that space will always be the HoJo to me, and I'll always remember it as my first exposure to my beloved St. Pete Beach.

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Well, it's a bit of a sad day in St. Pete Beach. The Howard Johnson hotel, which sits just a few blocks down from our condo, is gone. The structure is still there, but it's being refurbished and rebranded. The distinct orange roof is gone and construction is well underway. The Hilton Garden Inn will arrive soon.

The HoJo was my first exposure to St. Pete Beach, probably 45 years ago. My grandparents brought us down here. When they traveled, they would only stay at a Howard Johnson. So, each time they brought me here, we stayed at the HoJo (and ate dinner at the Brown Derby next door).

Sad to see it go. Progress sucks sometimes.

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We took Teddy on a quick walk today as we were a little behind and it was actually hot outside. He and Renee did some window shopping along Gulf Boulevard.

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I'm not sure what this statute did in its former life, but I kind of dig it sitting atop the front door of this house down the street. The pool balls on his vest might be a clue.

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We didn't get much sun today, but it finally showed up just in time to set.

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There's a new bar/restaurant going in down the street from us–going to be called 82 Degrees, maybe? Their new "Wish You Were Here" in St. Pete Beach mural is pretty cool.

Datelining this post made me realize—it's the first post I've datelined from St. Pete Beach in nearly a year and a half. Man I've missed this place.

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A great birthday memory - placing all of our handprints in the sand on the beach!

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Two fishermen are silhouetted against the susnet as they cast their lines into the Gulf of Mexico on Upham Beach in St. Pete Beach, Florida. (Matt Buchanan/St. Pete Beach, FL)

I watched these two fishermen cast their lines into the Gulf of Mexico several times while catching the sunset one evening. After the sun had slipped beyond the watery horizon, I heard one say to the other "this is our last chance." Then I took this silhouette shot.