Edison & Ford Winter Estates ~ Favorite Restaurants ~ Fort Myers, Florida ~ Photos

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page ~ St. Augustine

A neat place to visit in the Fort Myers area is the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. They date from 1885 and in addition to the winter homes there is an historical museum, a 21 acre botanical garden plus a gift shop and a garden center where guests can purchase plants and trees. Plan on spending several hours as you explore this beautiful area ~ Check out the web site for additional information. www.edisonfordwinterestates.org

Favorite Restaurants ~ Happy Hours

Matanzas ~ the main restaurant has a fabulous Happy Hour, with good drinks and super appetizers ~ plus a fabulous bartender. The restaurant has a very good lunch & dinner menu ~ best Key Lime Pie! ~ eat inside or outside ~ or choose Petey’s Upper Deck ~ also a marvelous place to relax and enjoy the ambience. The restaurant is located at Matanzas Inn, where I stayed for several days and highly recommend ~ great location ~ short walk to the beach and next to the marina.

Matanzas on the Bay | Waterfront Restaurant on Fort Myers Beach

Matanzas Inn | Fort Myers Beach Bayside Resort & Marina

Courtney’s Continental Cuisine ~ mouthwatering menu, including many terrific Italian entrees and Key Lime pie for dessert ~ the food definitely lives up to your expectations (or surpasses them!). Bon Appetit!

courtneyscontinentalcuisine.com

Lani Kai Island Resort ~ the bar on the top floor has a fabulous Happy Hour ~ terrific drinks and a special menu ~ plus a spectacular view of the beach

Fort Myers Beach Resort | Lani Kai Island Resort | Book Today!

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St Petersburg. Florida ~ Dali Museum ~ June 2022 ~ Photos

I do not bring back from a journey quite the same self   that I took ~ W. Somerset Maugham

A highlight of my recent journey to Florida was a visit to the Dali Museum in beautiful St. Petersburg. It was a short walk from my hotel (The Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown St Petersburg, which I recommend) along parks and the waterway.

I met a friend at the Museum and it was great fun exploring it with someone who had already visited this impressive museum. After a delicious cappuccino at their café, we downloaded the free Dali Museum app for a self-guided tour and set off to explore. https://thedali.org/ .. check for hours and note that at this time, advance tickets are required.

Let me share a few of my favorite Dali paintings (Photos below):

  • Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea, Which at 20 Meters Become the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln (1976)
  • Slave Market with the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire (1940)
  • The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory (1952-54)
  • The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus (1958)

The app goes into marvelous detail about all of the exhibited artwork and after touring the Museum, we explored the enjoyable and very well stocked gift shop where you can purchase guide books (which give detailed information about the collection), clothing, magnets, jewelry, puzzles, etc.

Then we walked about the avant-garden, including the wish tree, from the admission bands given when entering the Museum.

Afterwards, we walked back to the town, checking a few restaurant menus and settling on one that is now one of my favorites.

Favorite Restaurants:

St. Petersburg, with its beautiful beaches, parks, terrific restaurants and shops plus the Dali Museum, is certainly on my list to revisit.  

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Journey to Fort Myers, Florida ~ June 2022 ~ Photos

Who lives sees much, who travels sees more ~ Arabian Proverb

Last month when I flew to Tampa, I liked the area so much I decided to fly to Florida again, this time to the Fort Myers area. I had to connect in Charlotte, NC and two of the four flights I took were delayed. Fortunately, I made my connection going to Fort Myers (after running thru Charlotte Airport – why are connections so far apart when there is little time?) and coming home, while missing a shuttle, there was another an hour later.

Travel Tips:

  • Always try to get a non-stop flight (earliest in the day) and if connecting, always opt for the earliest flight.
  • Check with friends or travel advisors about which airline offers best connections to where you are traveling.
  • Download the airline’s app to keep up to date re flights.
  • If you HAVE to get to your destination (a wedding, cruise, etc.) perhaps book your arrival for a day or two in advance.
  • Be patient and keep your sense of humor as plane travel will not be “fun” this summer.

I spent several days in beautiful Fort Myers, seeing friends, enjoying the beach, Happy Hours and some terrific restaurants plus one of the best Barnes and Nobles that I have ever visited. Since this is Florida’s rainy season, I witnessed some spectacular thunder/lightning storms in the evenings.

Then I drove north to St Petersburg, stopping at Punta Gorda for a terrific lunch at Fishermen’s Village, at the Village Brewhouse. It was fun exploring all of the local shops. Village Brewhouse | Fishermen’s Village | Punta Gorda, Florida (fishermensvillage.com)

After visiting St Petersburg (the Dali Museum is a must!) for a few days, I headed south staying in Sarasota for a few days, loving Siesta Key Beach. It is ranked as one of the best beaches and I definitely would agree. Also in the area, are the beautiful Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

I drove south to Naples for lunch, then headed back to Fort Myers. This time, instead of a chain hotel, I opted for a local hotel near the beach that a friend recommended. Great recommendation!

I’ll have several more posts and photos about St. Petersburg, the Dali Museum, the Botanical Gardens in Sarasota plus some favorite restaurants, especially in Fort Meyers and St. Petersburg.

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Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Florida ~ Photos ~ Quotes ~ May 2022

There’s no question dolphins are smarter than humans as they play more ~ Albert Einstein

Several years ago, after watching the beautiful movie, “A Dolphin Tale,” I made a mental note to someday visit the Clearwater Aquarium, which is Florida’s Marine Life Rescue Center. It is an incredible place to spend several hours and one that you can easily revisit.

Your journey to the Aquarium will include learning about the dolphins and otters and pelicans, etc. For those who have seen the movie and its sequel, there are photos and information about parts of the movie which were shot on location plus interesting data about Winter, the star. Winter and the Rescue Center gained world wide attention due to the film and the compelling story of Winter.

The main attraction is the dolphins ~ they are beautiful, mesmerizing and quite memorable.

Their web site has a great deal of information, including special events plus several web cams:

Clearwater Marine Aquarium | Florida’s Marine Life Rescue Center (cmaquarium.org)

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Dolphins speak to us of the rhythm of our emotions; breathing in joy before plunging into the depths and rushing to the surface to do it all over again ~ Anonymous

The dolphins and whales have a brain that is actually bigger in proportion to their size than we do. They are very complex. They are thinkers ~ Owsley Stanley

Tarpon Springs, Florida ~ Photos ~ May 2022

Tarpon Springs, about 13 miles north of Clearwater, has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the US. It’s a cute town to walk about and definitely time it for lunch or dinner. The restaurant I chose for a late lunch was fabulous, from appetizer to dessert. I selected the restaurant that seemed to be the busiest – and I understood why once I tasted their food.

Hellas Restaurant ~ A friendly waiter brought the menu with many popular Greek dishes, plus some unknowns. The waiter spent time answering questions and giving recommendations. My favorite appetizer (Taramasalata with pita) was incredible. LOL – there were no leftovers! It was perfect with a glass of a delicious, white Greek wine, Kretikos. Because I knew I wanted dessert, I followed the appetizer with a very nice salad. The dessert menu is very extensive. I chose kataiffi – it’s a rolled type baklava and is terrific. The restaurant definitely warrants many trips to try other items on their menu. Bon Appetit (in Greek: Καλή όρεξη. [Kalí órexi]

Hellas Bakery | Hellas Restaurant | Wholesale and Retail Greek Patries | Greek Festivals | Tarpon Springs, Florida – Hellas Bakery and Restaurant

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Clearwater Beach, Florida ~ May 2022 ~ Photos ~ Quotes

Don’t grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach ~ Michelle Held

The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul ~ Robert Wyland 

The beach to me is a sacred zone between the earth and the sea, one of those in-between between places where transitions can be experienced – where endings can be mourned and beginnings birthed. A walk along the beach offers the gift of the unexpected ~ Joan Anderson

 Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone ~ Anonymous

 Isn’t it strange, the way time moves? I could stand here and watch the sea crash beneath me for hours and it would feel only like minutes had passed ~ Sjana Elisa Earp

 We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds ~ Aristotle Onassis

 In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans ~ Kahlil Gibran

I followed my heart and it led me to the beach ~ Unknown

Dunedin, Florida ~ Photos ~ May 2022

Dunedin is a delightful town less than an hour west of Tampa, bordering the St. Joseph Sound. It is also close to Clearwater, Clearwater Beach, St. Petersburg and Tarpon Springs. You can easily get about using Uber or the Jolley Trolley. Jolley Trolley – Welcome Aboard Clearwater Jolley Trolley!

Main Street is fun to browse and explore. Get a map at your hotel and spend several hours leisurely perusing the many shops, including apparel, jewelry, arts and crafts and restaurants.

Favorite restaurants include:

            Frenchy’s Outpost Bar and Grill ~ Frenchy’s has a Tiki Bar, terrific outdoor and indoor dining ~ very good menu, including excellent Fried Zucchini, grilled Mahi Mahi and a super Key Lime Pie

            Criketers British Pub ~ extensive menu ~ Superb Fish N Chips and marvelous Portobello Fingers (fried mushrooms) ~ and the best Moscow Mule drink ever!

Yes, I want to return and explore more of this beautiful part of Florida, including Honeymoon Island State Park.

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Journey to Dunedin & Clearwater, Florida ~ May 2022 ~ Photos

My first plane trip since the pandemic was terrific. Flights were full, but on time ~ always a good thing. Rather than renting a car, as I’d never been to the area, I opted to explore using either Uber or the Jolley Trolley. It worked well ~ and next time I visit, I shall rent a car. I stayed at the Hampton Inn in Dunedin, just north of Clearwater and I highly recommend it.

There were two places that for me were “must see.” First, the Clearwater Aquarium, which I have wanted to visit since seeing the beautiful movie “A Dolphin Tale.” The Aquarium lived up to my expectations and more.

Second, I had heard about Tarpon Springs, north of Clearwater, which has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the US. It was fun to walk about and the restaurant I chose was incredible. Definitely worth a repeat visit.

I’ll have several more post about the Clearwater Aquarium, beautiful Clearwater Beach (yes, the Gulf is spectacular!), Tarpon Springs and Dunedin plus some favorite restaurants.

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Armchair Traveler ~ Greece

Greece is the home of the gods; they may have died but their presence still makes itself felt. The gods were of human proportion; they were created out of the human spirit. ~ Henry Miller

We are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, out religion, our arts, have their roots in Greece. ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Enthusiasm is a wonderful thing. In South Africa, they throw flowers at you. In Greece, Greeks throw themselves. ~ Melina Mercouri

Recently, on a rainy day, I came upon some old postcards. Several were of Greece, primarily Athens and they brought back some terrific memories.

A friend and I went to Greece (Athens plus a 3 day tour to Corinth and Delphi) and Rome on our first trip to Europe. Athens has so many memorable sights, including the Acropolis (link below) and a short distance away from the city is the beautiful scenic Temple of Poseidon. Temple of Poseidon at Sounion | The Official Athens Guide (thisisathens.org)

I still recall a fabulous restaurant dinner at Dionysius restaurant which had the most incredible view of the Acropolis. I googled the restaurant and yes, it is still there … with it’s fantastic view and menu. Home | Dionysos Zonar’s (dionysoszonars.gr).

Here is a link about Delphi, one of the most beautiful serene places I have visited. It is a place where you can feel the presence of the Gods.

Delphi Greece – Complete Travel Guide | Discover Greece

The great fun of Armchair Travel is you can go where you want, check out museums, monuments, parks, restaurants, book shops, day tours, etc. And imagine yourself there … enjoying stuffed vine leaves, Moussaka and a beautiful glass of Greek wine. If you are lucky to live near a good Green restaurant, indulge!

Perhaps play some Greek music, watch a movie set in Greece, check out “Aerial Greece” by the Smithsonian Channel  (marvelous 4 part show covering mainland Greece and the islands)  or hunt about for books set in Greece. If you enjoy mysteries, check out the Chief Andreas Kaldis series by Jeffrey Siger. Most of the books also feature the Greek isles … which is definitely another Armchair Travel journey.

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. ~  Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Home | Acropolis Museum | Official website (theacropolismuseum.gr)

Athens (visitgreece.gr)