The Floridication of Tim

Most people know of my love for my home state of Florida, including my overwhelming desire to move back. Three weeks after every visit home features a homesick/mourning period where I pine for all things Florida, even the bad stuff, like hurricanes, love bugs and real estate developers on steroids. Tim, who had not been to Florida in at least 2 decades, could not understand what the attraction was — until this past weekend. Our four day, long weekend began what I would call Tim’s Florida Education(Floridication for short).

Landing at the Tampa Bay International Airport, our visit was off to a good start when Tim discovered many tanned, attractive “natives” milling to and fro, an atmospheric décor that Florida is famous for: beautiful people.

Friday was hot – Florida hot, the kind that catches you unaware and brings on a drowsiness and lethargy that you don’t understand where it came from. But we persevered while doing the obligatory tourist thing; dining at Ballyhoo Grill for seafood gumbo in Tarpon Springs  and a strolling the town’s big tourist destination: the sponge docks. We also visited Dunedin where we began our first of many purchases of Florida art at the Painted Fish Gallery and the coolest coffee shop ever, called the Walkabout Coffee Shop & Emporium. The owner of the coffee shop is an Aboriginal musician who specializes in didgeridoos. His 15 minutes of fame include the didigeridoo solo on the Outback Steakhouse theme song.

The rest of the weekend, we enjoyed cool gulf breezes that made time outside, exploring the area very comfortable. It also helped that we had a pool to dip in whenever we needed a pick me up. Sunday, we spent most of the day running around St. Pete, including a trip to the St. Pete art show where we purchased a boatload of art. We discovered another wonderful artist named Sandra Williams. We purchased a number of items from her including the one to the right called Coconut Courtship, which will be gorgeous over our fireplace.

Perhaps one of Tim’s favorite discoveries was a brochure detailing the many golf courses in the Tampa/St. Pete area. Can you guess how many golf courses there are? 83. Yes, that’s 83 golf courses/ranges in the Tampa/St. Pete area alone. Our friends kindly showed us two areas we might like to call home in the not too distant future – the historic Old Northeast section of St. Pete and a Clearwater/Safety Harbor neighborhood called Del Toro. If only we could move there NOW!

I can happily say that Tim’s Floridication is well underway. We’ve decided to make more frequent trips to Florida and have already booked a birthday trip for October. Perhaps my long held dream of going home will be realized in the near future.