Getting off the couch

We didn’t get any rain this past 4th of July. It was sunny most of the day. Brett and I stayed in and relaxed on the couch watching movies since it was so hot. Right before dark I jumped up and decided to get out and try and get some firework shots. Last year I went right into the thick of chaos on the causeway where everyone shoots off their own fireworks but the traffic is so bad so I decided to head to the airport and see if I could get some shots from the top of the airport parking deck. Of course I wasn’t alone. The open top deck was packed with people. There was a lot of firework tailgating going on. I found a good spot to stand facing downtown Tampa but realized there was a lot of haze and fog right over the city. And so far away. I realized I wasn’t going to get good shots but didn’t want to run out and try somewhere else.

The cool thing was that you could see fireworks going off all over the city.  You could see them across the bay and out on the causeway. They were everywhere. If only they weren’t so far away. I had brought my 200mm and these are very cropped.

The football stadium was all lit up and people were setting off their own fireworks all around the stadium. People were probably shooting them off in the parking lots there.

Heading over to the other side of the parking deck, I could see fireworks over at Rocky Point, near the causeway. Someone was shooting them off right behind that new building and it looked like the building was on fire from far away.

It was a fun night out and everyone was having fun just being out with friends and family. I think next year I’ll try and find a deck much closer to the city. From the airport, the tall buildings downtown hid the big city fireworks that were being set off by the city at Channelside so that was a bust. Hopefully next year!

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A little Tampa history

Oaklawn Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Tampa. It’s located downtown although north of the current main buildings that is downtown today. There is something peaceful about walking around in an old historic cemetery. I like to walk through and look at the dates. Some of the headstones are so old that you can barely read the names. Some were almost completely worn down. Some have pictures and some tell short stories.  The cemetery was started in 1850 and many of the early grave markers were made of wood. There are a lot of graves without markers due to the wood ones burning or getting damaged in storms.  The cemetery includes many prominent families, pirates, slaves and confederate soldiers.

Thomas Pugh Kennedy arrived in Tampa in 1840 and started the first trading post with the Indians here. Many of his descendants still live here. Kennedy Boulevard that runs through a lot of Tampa was not named after Thomas. It started out as Lafayette Street and the name was changed in 1964 to Kennedy Boulevard after John F Kennedy visited Tampa in November of 1963 right before he was assassinated.

The headstones back then were very ornate.

Vincent Ybor and his family is buried here.  Ybor started the cigar making business here in the area which became Ybor City.

This grave had a lot going on. Looks like it needs some love and attention.

Driving out heading into downtown.  Brett and I went out for a drive on a cool morning in late November. We saw the cemetery and decided to stop in and walk around.

My Corner of the World

Do you believe in fairy tales?

Why are these fairytale characters sitting on the grounds of a cool contemporary restaurant in Tampa? I had to find out. I vaguely remember hearing stories about going to Fairyland when we were visiting the grandparents in the Tampa bay area back in the 60’s. My dad had taken a few pictures of us when we were there. I was a toddler so I don’t remember being there. The original Fairyland Park was at Lowry Park which sat next to the zoo. It closed in the early 90’s and was torn down but some of the characters were stored in a warehouse in Tampa and forgotten. The owner of the restaurant (who also owns the famous Columbia Restaurant) grew up going to the park and when he found out there were characters that had been saved and stored, he was able to buy them and have them restored. It’s a little piece of Tampa history that was saved from oblivion.  Story of the characters being restored here.

A picture above of the original park taken from the Tampapix website. 

Above are some of the statues from the restaurant. The bust is of Princess Ulele, who the restaurant is named after. She lived in the Tampa Bay area in the 1500’s.

We wanted to get out on Thanksgiving morning for a walk before stuffing ourselves so we headed to downtown Tampa to walk along the water.

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Cranes and Sailboats

Not so early in the morning, the sun had just come up over Port Tampa, across from Davis Islands yacht basin. I was out for a walk on a Saturday morning.

More shots from my walk around the yacht basin.

I stopped by the Marjorie Park marina before leaving Davis Islands and took the above shot of downtown Tampa. There was a storm coming from the far left.

A wide pano of the basin taken with my phone.

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Davis Islands yacht basin

I hadn’t been over to Davis Islands in a while so I headed over for a walk around the yacht basin at the end of the island. There’s a small dog beach there that has a great view of downtown Tampa. The dogs looked like they were having fun jumping in the water. I wanted to join them but that water was not too pretty right there near the shipping channel.

Two panos of downtown in front of the small private airport on the island.

There are usually a few planes taking off on a Saturday morning but none were leaving this morning in mid-August.

Shots above of the quiet lagoon.

Looking closer, one of the docks at the boat ramp has gone missing. The other one is still there but looks like it’s about to crumble.

My Corner of the World

More from the sailboat sunset

More shots from my stop over to Davis Islands to get some sunset shots. These were taken earlier in then night near the Marjorie Park Marina.

Tampa late in the day.

Across from the yacht basin.

Downtown Tampa far off to the right of the yacht basin.

A beautiful night to be out. This was in mid-March when the weather was still cool.

Almost dark.

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Driving with the top down

We headed out for lunch on a warm Sunday in January with the top down. Driving down Bayshore Boulevard, you could see the Tampa skyline.

We hadn’t been over to Davis Islands in a long time so we stopped for a quick walk after lunch at the beach area near the yacht basin.

Driving through downtown Tampa on the way home. The above were taken while sitting at red lights. All pictures were taken with my phone.

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Heading in the other direction.

My sisters and I took the Cross Bay ferry from St. Pete to Tampa over Thanksgiving weekend one afternoon. When we got to the Tampa side we had a few minutes to walk around before heading back to St. Pete. You can take a later ferry but we took the next ferry back since we had plans later that day and well, we’ve spent a lot of time here before. I snapped the above before getting back on.

Passing back by the big boats as we were leaving.

The view from the upper deck including the selfie with my phone.

 

Lots of boats were following us out of the channel since it was a beautiful day. It looks like there was a sailboat class in the bottom picture. Lots of tiny white sailboats to the left of the yacht basin.

Bye bye Tampa (at least for a couple of hours).

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Crossing Tampa Bay

 

It’s funny that we took 3 ferry rides while we were in Boston but have never taken the ferry across Tampa bay. It’s hard to do fun tourist things when you are working and on a schedule. When my sisters came to visit we booked the ferry from St. Pete to Tampa. It’s a little less than an hour each way. It was fun hanging out and being a tourist.  As we headed to Tampa we got close to the TECO electric plant. It was so nice out that there were a lot of boats on the water.

In the middle of the bay you could see Tampa.

Passing by the ports and Davis Islands yacht basin.

We were close to the big boats at the port.

Heading into the channel.  I took a ton of pictures on the trip so more to come.

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