Best Way to End a Monday

We started Monday morning in the car at 7:30 (a half hour later than planned) for a full day of adventures. First stop West Orange Trail for a twenty mile bike ride followed by a stop at Leu Gardens to walk off a big lunch at The Coop. Then a final errand picking up some items from Emily in preparation for her move before the day’s grand finale.

Instead of returning home, we took a detour to the coast and somehow managed to avoid the rain that hammered much of Central Florida as we walked out on the beach at Canaveral National Seashore.

Then on to the main attraction of the afternoon, the Black Point Drive in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in hopes of spotting birds or other critters. No more than we passed the Black Point sign, a large black snake slithered across the road in front of our car. As has been the custom of late, John located a carcass. This time of an animal with an impressive smile.

The rosette spoonbills by far stole the show. Their bright pink feathers creating impressive reflections in the shallow water.

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We couldn’t resist waiting a little longer for the sunset, and it was well worth the wait.

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As the sun slipped away, we started our journey home, pulling in the drive a little after 10:30. Quite a day.

TBT: Baseball Fever

In 1994 my parents took four of their grandchildren who lived in Ocala to the grand opening of the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame in Citrus Springs. Due to a bad case of baseball fever, the four missed a day of school to rub elbows with some of the best players of our nation’s pastime.

They met and got autographs from Brooks Robinson, Bob Feller, Ennis Slaughter and the grandson of Ty Cobb.

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Meghan, Emily, Steven and Brent had a fun day with their grandparents while celebrating our nation’s pastime. A great daycation  to the Hitters Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame is no longer located in Citrus Springs having moved to Tropicana Field several years ago. It’s open two hours before all Tampa Bay Rays home games through the sixth inning free to those with game tickets, a good reason for another daycation in St. Pete.

 

 

Daycation: St. Petersburg

In January, we checked off the first item in our list 16 in 16 when we attended a Jackson Browne concert. On Monday, February 22nd, we finally found the perfect day for another of the planned events for 2016 when we spent the day in St. Petersburg for a Daycation.

We waited for a warm and sunny February day because our plan was to bike ride the city trails and visit several of the museums. We started the ride on the trail behind the Morean Center for Clay, one of the museums on our list and rode in to the city. I was somewhat reluctant to ride downtown because I “don’t do traffic”. Fortunately, a concrete barrier divided the trail in the city from the traffic. We even had stop lights to make for a smooth flow downtown.

Traveling past Tropicana Field, through downtown, to the bay and then before the end of the day toward Treasure Island until we reached an end of the trail due to construction, our 17 miles on the bike met our goal for the active part of the day.

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Parking at the Historic Seaboard Train Station, our first stop was a tour of the Morean Arts Center for Clay.

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Here we were surprised to find the center closed on Mondays, but when a staff member realized we’d driven two hours, she permitted us to walk through the facility where artists were working in the shared spaces. Actually, we enjoyed looking at the art outside as much as the displays inside the center.

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From the train station we rode our bike downtown to see the Chihuly Collection at another of the Morean Arts Centers located on the city’s waterfront. A 20 foot sculpture located outside the center ushers guests into the building that was specifically designed to display the glasswork. The price of admission includes a docent led tour, but we decided to enjoy on our own instead of traveling from room to room with a crowd.

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Next, we stopped for lunch at Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro with margaritas overlooking the water.

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We purchased a bundled ticket which included a visit to the Morean Galleries as well as to the Glass Studio and Hot Shop with our ticket to the Chihuly Collection. Unfortunately, the Morean Galleries were in the midst of changing out the exhibit so we saw more cardboard boxes than art. Next time we’ll know to call ahead since this information is not provided on their website.

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But while the galleries were a disappointment, the highlight of the trip was the time spent in the Glass Studio and Hot Shop where we sat in bleachers watching David Sturgeon create a piece of glass art with the assistance of the narrator, Jeremiah. For fifty minutes, the glass was shaped, colored, twirled, heated, cooled, heated, cooled, and heated and cooled some more until the piece was completed.

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A successful daycation of bicycling and art. We’ll be back.

Costs: $106

  • Gas $16 (about 8 gallons at $2/gallon
    Tickets for Chihuly Collection, Glass Studio and Hot Shop $40 (tickets for two)
    Lunch $50 (2 margaritas accounted for half this cost)

Pigging Out at Pigfest: Polk County

We were introduced to a new event yesterday, the Lakeland Pigfest, a place to enjoy a warm January day with friends and family while feasting on delicious barbecue.

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According to the festival website, the goals of the event:

Raise money for local charitable organizations
Create a relaxing event for all walks of life
Eat some world class barbecue!

From the size of the crowd and from the food we tasted, I’d say they met their goal.

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Ribs by the bones, wings and pulled pork sold in sample sizes made it possible to try quite a variety of food. I’m proud to say none of us succumbed to any of the fried selections. No fried Oreos. No fried strawberries. No fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. No fried bananas.

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That doesn’t mean we skipped the sweets. We just stuck to strawberry shortcake.

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The Lakeland Pigfest is held at Tigertown on Friday night and Saturday. If you missed this year’s event, mark your calendar of January 2017 so you can pig out.

(Thanks, John, for sharing your pictures.)