Sunday, January 8, 2012

St. Petersburg, Florida

I think this is bougainvillea 
The days of our family vacation are drawing to a close...Girl Child leaves today and Boy Child and his Wife tomorrow....They've heard us go on about Florida now for six months....and we wanted them to love it as much as we do. It's a different feel being in the USA...very similar to Canada in many ways but also very different.  On the day we arrived we laughed at ourselves in our massive Yukon SUV doing a late night run for food at an all night Walmart.  Groceries are really cheap here, liquor even cheaper...and wine and beer is sold at the drug store too.  We find clerks in stores to be friendlier and we find that no one is really from Florida....everyone seems to have migrated here...and who can blame them.  It's winter and the coldest it's been is a sweater day.  360 days of sunshine. 

Apparently there is a house full of monks on the next street over....they have a fabulous Zen garden with this magnificent bamboo...about 25 feet high.  We've been to Tampa to the aquarium and Anthropologie and to Sarasota and Siesta Key...always looking for the best beach which is actually Passe a Grille beach a 10 minute drive away.  

The first night we arrived, I went to bed, and then got up.  I came downstairs, told the kids I thought something was missing.  I walked around the house, checked the side porch and then went back to bed. The next day I realized that there was indeed something missing and it was my beautiful elephant water fountain from the back yard.  It was a very old stone statue and when we bought the house, the owners said we could have it since I loved it so much.  It was going to be the fountain for the pool one day.  It makes me sad as it was one of a kind and likely not replaceable.  I may have to get TOM to come to Florida and carve another one. Anyway, I was most put out because it wasn't visible from the street and someone obviously knew we were gone and possibly unplugged the security camera in the yard to steal it. I have my suspicions...but it's gone and I can't do anything now.  But that could have happened anywhere in the world, so I am  just annoyed that my beautiful elephant has gone AWOL.

A stroll through the neighborhood reveals beautiful churches and heavily laden fruit trees........

And Spanish moss hanging from the old oak trees. At home we pay about $8.00 for a small cello bag of Spanish moss at a craft store....

Although about 70 F you can't keep vacationers off the beach.  Below is Siesta Key beach...even a few people in the water which makes me think they must be British and this is a warm sea for them.

January beach dwellers

Sand sculpture on Siesta Key Beach.  DIL took these pics for her BLOG. St. Petersburg has so much to do...a constant hub of activity in a small and manageable city. The first Friday night of the month is Get Downtown.  A street festival with live music and cheap beer. $2.00 for beer (imported too). Crazy. Loads of fun.  I love to sit outside and watch a busy street of people. Like any city, there's nothing more fun than the to watch the locals.

Yesterday we took a sail boat cruise around Boca Ciega Bay from St. Pete's Beach.  A gentle, non-narrated cruise to spot dolphin. We were lucky to see them immediately, even a mother and baby. They are so hard to photograph because they never come up in the same spot twice. 

Last night, our last night together, we ate at Civichi's in downtown St. Pete.  A tapas restaurant with amazing food.  We sat outside on the porch (they have heaters) and had some of the best food of the week. We did the corny thing that the Kardashians do on their show. They go around the table and said their peak and pit of the day.  My peak was having my kids around me all day.  Since they live in other cities and we don't often share a week with all of them, I am truly enjoying their presence here together as a family this week.  I have an added sense of contentment when my children are with me and that now extends to my new daughter in law.  She is such a part of the family and we fit together all so well, it's like she's always been with us.  

Since Real Estate prices have dropped significantly in Florida, I thought I would show you some waterfront property where you can watch the dolphins from your back yard pool.

About 4 million we were told......
These are all gated communities on the waterways.  Not sure what today will bring, except sunshine...


  1. That is very upsetting about the elephant. I am so sorry.
    LOL at no one is really from Florida.
    We should have lived over there instead of the East Coast city we chose, we might have stayed longer ..
    besitos, C

  2. My parents and sister live in that area. I envy the beautiful, tropical weather - but only in the winter. It's too darned humid the rest of the year. Seeing your photos makes me wish I could be down there right now! Sorry about the theft - why do people do that kind of thing?

    That is bougainvillea. It grew everywhere when we were living in San Diego.


  3. Sounds like a perfect holiday! So many blessings.

  4. How beautiful! I'm sitting here, looking out to our back yard, and it's cold, grey and pouring. Thanks for the sunshiny images! I really have to go to Florida one of these days ;)

  5. What a lovely warm family sun filled vacation you have painted for us. So sorry it was marred by theft. We are fortunate to have devoted neighbors at our yellow house and have not had any stealing but are aware it could very well happen as we are not there all the time.

  6. Florida looks wonderful. Chania, what a mean trick though to filch your stone elephant water fountain, hope he somehow finds his way back home to you.

  7. Happy New Year Chania...Love the photos of sunny Florida...grey wet days here on the West Coast...send us some sunshine luv...
    Sorry about your missing elephant.

  8. What a beautiful area you have chosen! It sounds like it's got great spirit (apart from the missing elephant). So nice that you've had some good quality time with family. xo

  9. Thanks for bringing a bit of Florida to those of us who are land-locked and surrounded by bare trees. I was in Savannah, Georgia over the holidays and am missing the southern temperatures (although it is 55 today where I live). Enjoy the time with your beautiful family. I like your new profile picture, by the way.

  10. A complete overview on different recreational activities available in st petersburg real estate.

  11. Chania ...Love your blog. I follow you via my google reader. We are coming down to FL..leaving tomorrow from Michigan. I recall a post of yours regarding some bubbly that you purchased at walMart (I think) that is oh so good and oh so cheap..compared to Cananda prices. Would you mind sharing the name? We need to stock up on refreshments. We will be over on the Atlantic, then Orlando then exploring St.Petersburg, Tampa. Read your posts on area. Looking for some fun things to explore.

    Thanks for sharing your inside info. Love your style!


I love to read each and every comment and are thrilled that you take the time to send one. Thank you so much. Chania