A 3 park morning

I was out early one morning right before Christmas.  My first stop was the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular but thought I would do a quick lap around the gardens.  The gardens were decorated for Christmas and you could see the lights all over the bushes and trees. I thought this owl statue was cool and would have loved to see it all lit up but I didn’t make it here for the night holiday lights this year.

The usual birds were in the main pond. A green heron at attention, a wood duck (the entire family was floating around the pond) and there were lots of moorhens.

After the botanical gardens, I stopped at nearby Largo Nature Preserve to see if there was anything new. A grebe spent some time preening close to the boardwalk and there have been some northern shovelers there for several weeks now but nothing new or different.

My last stop before heading home wasn’t really a park but the Dunedin marina. I was hoping to see dolphins or manatees hanging around the marina but I didn’t see any on this trip so after walking around for a while it was time to go home for lunch.

My Corner of the World

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.

SkyWatch Friday

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.

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Not happening this year

These are some of the shots from last year’s Thanksgiving weekend visit to Disney Springs. It was our 3rd annual lunch at the Springs with my sisters and we had a perfect day last year. This year we all did what we were suppose to do and stayed at home. They didn’t get to come visit this year so next year we’ll have to make up for lost time.

Above are some of the Christmas trees we saw around town last year including the manatee statue waving in front of the tree.

I hope everyone is having a good Christmas in spite of the things that are going on. Are you staying at home instead of visiting relatives? If it’s warm Brett and I might spend the day at the beach (if it’s not closed) just to get outside. Although, even if it’s cold we might still go. Nothing like a long walk on the beach all bundled up when it’s cold. Below are some old pictures I found of my family being bundled on the beach. The first is from the early 70’s of my mom and two sisters walking on Clearwater beach. The 2nd was more recent (early 90’s) of my sister and I goofing around on the the beach. Both were on Christmas day.

My Corner of the World

 

Lunch in Tarpon Springs

Boats along the waterfront in Tarpon Springs. While my sisters were here for Thanksgiving weekend, we headed up to have lunch and walk around the docks. When I was little we use to come down to the Tampa bay area to visit my grandparents and my parents loved to make the drive up to Tarpon to walk around. Little has changed since the 70’s here with the exception of some new public restrooms. The tourist shops have the same stuff and we always leave Hellas with a lot of desserts. The bakery there is the best. They even have chocolate covered baklava.

A small sampling of the desserts and pastries.

Natural sponges are still being harvested today although most sponges you find today are synthetic. Tarpon Springs was built on sea sponges being harvested in the area.

Christmas decorations along the docks. It’s always fun to take a selfie in the big ornaments.

That big golf ball in the sky

Years ago Brett and I had a free Thanksgiving day so we headed over to Walt Disney World to spend the day at Epcot. It wasn’t too busy in the morning and we were able to ride most everything we had planned to but it got crazy busy later in the afternoon. We took a break and climbed on the monorail and headed over to walk around at some of the Disney hotels just to get away from the crowds. All of the hotels that were on the monorail line were already decorated for Christmas so it was fun to walk around. Then we headed back over to Epcot to have dinner at the nice Italian restaurant.

It’s always fun to see that big iconic space ball light up at  night.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I’ll be spending the day with family

SkyWatch Friday.

Funny faces at the zoo

“Gimmi a kiss, lady”.

A fun day at the zoo over Thanksgiving week while my sister was visiting. The young zebra eating while mom was watching over was born last July.

A black and white warbler hiding out in a tree.

Pretty birds and lunch for some of the birds in the aviary. After this appetizing walk through the aviary it was time for us to leave and go have lunch (we opted for salads).

The zoo was decorated for the holiday season.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

It wouldn’t be November without a trip to Disney

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We always wait until school is back in and the weather has cooled off a little bit. Instead of going to a Disney theme park this year, we decided to spend  a few hours at Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney). It’s almost as big as a theme park but without the rides.  It’s a shopping and dining theme park.  We got there Saturday afternoon and spend a few hours walking around, looking in a few shops and people watching.  We had a great Italian dinner and then headed back to our hotel. It was extremely crowded but fun.  I was traveling light so I took all of these pictures with my Iphone.

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The Christmas decorations were just starting to go up. The little details are amazing.

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The sky was beautiful as the sun was going down. Yes, that’s a car floating in the lake. You can get in a car that drives down the driveway and then floats into the lake.

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Just one of the amazing deserts that you could buy in one of the many bakeries.

Happy Thanksgiving!

SkyWatch Friday

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

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This is NOT my house. I don’t even take the time anymore to put a tree. So I go to other people’s houses to see them. These were all taken last year inside Pinewood Estate at Bok Tower Gardens in central Florida. The 20 room home was built in the 30’s and is now a museum. During the holidays, volunteers decorate in historic Christmas fashion. It’s a fun way to put you in the mood without having to do the work yourself.