Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A different kind of travel

Photo courtesy of airbnb.com
When we charged into Tampa Bay the other night on 6 foot swells, the plan was to go on up to St. Petersburg and take a mooring ball or slip for a couple days. The plan was foiled by the lack of availability of balls or slips, so we decided to come on in to our home slip at Snead Island, rent a car for the week, and go play tourist by land for a couple days. A few minutes on various hotel pages had me looking for alternatives due to the exorbitant prices so, remembering my daughter youngest's good experience with airbnb.com, I decided to take a peek. I had a pretty good idea where we wanted to be - close to the older part of town that flanks the shoreline of Tampa Bay and is filled with an eclectic mix of theaters, bars, restaurants, and parks. All of the one bedroom places were booked, but we happened on this adorable little two bedroom cottage that was available. It was a charming place just a few blocks from the shore, Vinoy Park, and a ton of good restaurants and bars. Ken and Renee, the hosts for this property, were gracious and accommodating. The website and booking software were incredibly easy to use, the communication from the hosts was quick; it couldn't have been a better first experience. The place was just the ticket for two weary sailors looking to spend a couple days on land.

The Vinoy Basin mooring field. There are only about 10 balls there so it fills up rapidly.

As soon as we got there, we discovered why there were no mooring balls or transient slips available (or nearby parking for that matter) - the Mainsail Art Show was this weekend. We dropped our stuff off and trekked over the two blocks to the park and enjoyed walking around looking at the art and crafts as well as the finish of a local rock band's performance. At the close of the show we walked on down past the Vinoy basin moorings to the Ale and the Witch, a local bar that hosts live music seven days a week. We really lucked out on this one, arriving just as a local rock band started their three hour gig in an open courtyard outside the bar. The group was called Antelope and was doing a tribute show to the band Phish. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Yesterday we went on a St. Petersburg walkabout, strolling about 10 miles from the historic northeast, down along the shore to downtown, around by the airport and the Dali museum, through town, back up past our place and down again through the neighborhoods. St. Petersburg is a beautiful city full of amazing architecture and more parks than you can count. There are copious amounts of trails along the shoreline that are wide and paved, benches strategically placed in the shade with great views, sandy beaches interspersed among the marinas, and one glaring omission - there was no trash. I'm not sure how this city has managed to get control of the litter issue but, in spite of a wind advisory, we saw almost no trash anywhere. It was refreshing.

After a quiet evening in the cottage and a good night's sleep, we climbed into the rental and headed out this morning for the boat. Grandbabies await our flight's arrival in St. Louis this weekend and grandbabies are never to be denied.

We're suckers for historical signs and amazing trees. 

I so wish my grandkids had been with us for this one! Such a great climbing tree.

Downtown St. Petersburg

Even their alleys are beautiful

More huge trees. You could actually get inside this one.

The Vinoy Basin on the horizon

As seen on the wall at the airbnb cottage. My motto!

1 comment:

Robert Sapp said...

Now you see why we enjoy it so much. We stayed a week on our first visit last April (during Mainsail), and a month last January. We look forward to our next visit, and plan to eventually spend our winters there. Everything a cruiser needs is within an easy walk or bike ride. And what a great town for cycling!

We're currently in George Town enjoying the Family Island Regatta. We might be passing through your way in a month or two.

Rhonda & Robert
S/V Eagle Too
Pensacola, FL