An interesting site to see

Since I now live fairly close to Tarpons Springs, I have been going there quite a bit to walk or get lunch. I’m always interested in sites around the area and had heard about a shrine that’s in Tarpon Springs. I found St. Michael’s shrine easily after my walk at a park close by.

The shrine was built over 80 years ago after a greek woman’s son was taken ill and then cured through praying to the Holy Icon of St. Michael (so the story goes which can be read here). It’s an interesting small chapel that was built in the woman’s backyard. It’s since had many visitors who claim they have been cured.

Walking in you can see all of these cool artifacts and artwork in such a small place. It’s a little overwhelming at first with so much stuff in here. You really have to sit down for a while and look at all of the different items.

So many little details and history. There’s no charge to come in and you can light a candle for a dollar.

There’s also an outside room that has more pictures and candles.

On the side of the chapel there’s a quite place to sit and reflect. Maybe admire the stained glass windows or take a break in the shade.

Another small shrine outside, the picture on the left is of the lady who built the shrine. Her daughter, who managed the shrine after her death, is pictured on the right.

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Hunting for shells

The best spot in the Tampa bay area to look for shells is Honeymoon Island, out past the Dunedin causeway. Thanksgiving morning we heading over for a quick walk before the cooking began. It started off cold but warmed up quickly as the sun kept rising. The tide was super low and you could walk out pretty far in ankle deep water. I love mornings like this. Sunny and cool, low tide and very few people out.

My sister’s stash.

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Working up an appetite

My sister and I needed to work up an appetite for dinner so we went for a late afternoon walk at Riverwalk in downtown Tampa. The round building along the river looks so tall up close.

Our walk started out sunny but the clouds started rolling in half way through.

Walking under the overpass bridge, the lights turn colors.

We got to the other end and thought we were going to get some drizzle on the way back but it held off until we got in our car and was heading home.

Watching the activity on the water. There were a few people out on peddle boats.

Back at the parking lot, I snapped a last shot of the old 1927 Cass Street bridge.

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Out on the water

On our dolphin tour during the week of Thanksgiving, we headed out to a small spoil island to walk around and look for shells. It’s a tiny oasis in the middle of all of these tall buildings.

The flag on the island was starting to look a little weathered.

We could see a kiteboarded across the waterway.

There were small sailboats all around the area. It was a windy morning and perfect to be out on the water.

I was looking the other way and heard my sister yell “Oh no, they went over.” I looked around and saw that the boat had flipped on it’s side. The 2 guys were working on pulling it back up. At first I thought they would need to be rescued but our captain said it happens fairly often and the guys on these small boats are good at getting them back upright. That has to take a lot of upper body strength to get that sail out of the water. (That big white complex in the background is Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater).

The guys in another boat nearby were leaning pretty hard to keep theirs from going over.

Nice view heading back to the marina.

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My favorite holiday tradition

I recently had someone ask me what my favorite holiday tradition was. It was an easy answer. Climbing in the car and riding around looking at the Christmas lights. I can remember back to when I was a toddler and we came down to Clearwater to visit the grandparents at Christmas. On Christmas eve we would have an early dinner, go to mass and then drive around and look at the neighborhood lights. We would go to different neighborhoods including around Clearwater beach. I remember everyone saying “Ooh, look at that one” over and over again. Brett and I still do it every year. This year we went after dinner with friends a few weeks ago. These were all in our neighborhood. They were nice but none were over the top “Christmas Vacation (movie)” decorated.

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

I always love a great over-done decorated house but I think this one tells the story best.

An added bonus was seeing deer in the neighborhood as we drove around.

Merry Christmas and thanks for stopping by all year!

Christmas in the gardens

Two of the big trees at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.

Some of the fun decorations I saw.

I thought these were cool and maybe I could do them myself. I could use some of the pine cones in my backyard and add some ribbons and some of my balls since I didn’t put up a tree this year but here it is, a few days before and I still have done it. Maybe next year.

They have some cute critters that are wearing fun holiday outfits.

I walked over to Heritage Village next door but they had minimal decorations on the historic houses.

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Visiting my parents

Wreaths Across America is a donation/volunteer based group that puts wreaths on the graves of veterans across the country. I took this at Bay Pines National Cemetary in mid-December last year when I stopped by to visit my parents grave. They were still laying wreaths but it was beautiful to see them all laid out across the field.

Some of the graves had more personal touches that were added by family members.

The memorial monument dedicated to those who served our country stands at the entrance.

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The perfect spot

More shots from my sunset walk at the Dunedin marina.

You can see why this is one of the best places to watch the sun go down but don’t tell anyone else. It already gets crazy crowded.

People in the surrounding neighborhoods ride over in their golf carts since parking is limited in this area. I park several blocks over and walk in to the marina. Many of them decorate their carts which makes it more fun.

I decided to head back to my car before it got too dark but I stopped for one last shot in front of the sailboats. All shots taken with my phone.

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Starting vacation

The Monday before Thanksgiving I headed to the airport to pick up my sister who was coming to spend the week with us. I had a few minutes before she got off the plane so I snapped the above of this beautiful tree near her concourse. Even though it was a bit early, it still put me in the vacation spirit.

It was beautiful outside so after lunch we headed over to Clearwater beach. It’s always fun being a tourist in my own town when she comes to visit. We ended up at the Clearwater marina later that afternoon and watched the fishing boats come in (it was something we use to do with our parents when we were growing up and came here to visit our grandparents).

We decided to stay for sunset even though the clouds were moving in quickly. The sky looked like it was on fire as the sun went down. While we were there we thought we might as well have dinner on the beach too. A great way to start the week.

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From one side of Tampa bay to the other

It was a two waterfront kind of day in late October. I went for a walk along the waterfront on the bay in downtown St. Pete early in the morning and then went to the Dunedin marina on the gulf side for a sunset walk.

I got to the marina late in the day right as the moon was coming up.

Fun boat at the marina.

This little spot is one of my favorites to catch a sunset. I think it’s also a lot of other people’s spot as well because it can get pretty crowded on the weekends.

Maybe it’s because watching the sunset here makes you feel like you are on vacation. Until you drive home and have to cook dinner and do the dishes. Then back to work the next morning.

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