We arrived into Florida on the sunniest of afternoons (like a kind of afternoons that was sizzling – even for Floridians), which immediately put a smile on my face.
It had simply been gray in London and the climate was having a kind of transitional “not-cold-enough-for-coats but additionally not-warm-enough-to-go-out-without-one” kinda limbo moments (which occurs over that temporary interval simply as winter slowly transitions to spring) and I’d had fairly sufficient of it. 😀 I used to be prepared for Florida’s sunshine.
We really flew in straight from London into Tampa however our vacation spot on this journey was to search out ourselves what’s formally top-of-the-line seashores within the US (for a few years operating now) – St Pete and Clearwater.
The plan was to begin issues off in Clearwater seaside – particularly so seeing as Clearwater has topped the rankings for finest US seaside for some time now.
The place we’d name ‘residence’ in Clearwater over the subsequent couple of days was a cute little spot known as the Resort Cabana Clearwater Seaside. Now, I’ve bought to confess, it’s a tad completely different from what we had been used to (particularly in Florida) however on the similar time, it was kinda the proper for the situation too.
Resort Cabana is a novel mix of boutique lodge / retro-motel and it’s really actually cool. To not point out, it’s all of a 1-minute stroll from the seaside!
Seeing because the solar was about to set, we wasted no time in placing our stuff away and head all the way down to the seaside simply in time to catch that each day present, earlier than heading out for drinks and dinner. (All I wished at this level was tacos and margaritas).
That sundown, by the way in which, was simply unimaginable!
It was simply the nicest ‘welcome’ to Clearwater…
…a lot in order that it took me a second to cease and spot how nice (and white) the sand on the seaside is!
It’s the longest stretch of nice sandy seaside and is simply the proper place to observe the sky transition by way of a sequence of fairly lovely hues because the solar dipped beneath the horizon.
Sunsets may be lovely however my tummy was having none of it after some time because it screamed for these tacos and margaritas and with that, we determined to oblige it and go discover ourselves one thing to eat.
The woman on the lodge really useful going to Frenchys however as we arrived at prime blissful hour/sundown viewing time, the wait time right here was pretty lengthy and so, with a word to return to Frenchys the subsequent day, we determined to cope with our starvation at Palm Pavillion (which has a ‘barely’ shorter queue).
I wasn’t kidding about these margaritas and tacos both!
We additionally determined to throw tacky fries, coconut shrimp and buffalo wings into the combo (I’ve bought a factor for buffalo wings – had them for the primary time after an evening out in Vegas as soon as and now HAVE to have them each time we’re within the US).
Suffice to say, by the point we had been accomplished with dinner, tummies stuffed with scrumptious meals, it was virtually a problem to stroll again to the lodge (I’d clearly over-eaten and felt no remorse about it).
The morning, jet-lag getting us up shiny and early (and lengthy sleep session leaving me quite well-rested), we determined to go over to Clear Sky café (which I vaguely keep in mind somebody recommending however solely determined to go to as we discovered ourselves proper subsequent to it on the way in which out of city).
I went for the breakfast quesadillas…
…whereas Lloyd went for the huevos rancheros – each of which hit the spot completely!
Leaving Clearwater, we headed over to a spot that’s identified for being one of many extra wild and pure but additionally lovely spots in Florida – Caladesi Island.
To get to Caladesi Island, you really drive to Honeymoon island (which is price exploring itself) and hop aboard a ship to Caladesi island.
This a part of Florida can be well-known for its Pelicans – they’re all over the place and I simply discover them unusually entertaining to observe.
For starters, they give the impression of being virtually pre-historic (virtually like they’re associated to Pterodactyls). Then there’s how clumsy they’re once they land on water. It seems extra like a drunken-dive than a calculated try to get into the water.
As we bought onto the boat, the captain instructed us that if we had been fortunate, we would get to see some dolphin and I believed nothing of it till a couple of minutes later, there they had been – dolphins!
It’s secure to say it may need taken us barely longer than essential to get to Caladesi Island than it ought to have as dolphin after dolphin popped up on completely different sides of the boat, virtually like a welcome procession to Caladesi island.
Sidebar: I wasn’t anticipating any so I needed to fumble to get my digicam and swap lenses to even get these photographs as we had been leaving.
Finally, we arrived at Caladesi Island and wasted no time in heading out to discover. We solely had a restricted period of time right here although, on reflection, I’d suggest leaving a number of hours to discover right here.
There’s a nature hike to go on (which we did a part of), there’s a stunning seaside right here and it’s simply such an important alternative to get misplaced in nature right here. (The island is simply so massive so you may’t actually get misplaced right here however you recognize what I imply).
We hadn’t deliberate on spending greater than a few hours right here so determined to go out on the character stroll first, earlier than heading in direction of the seaside. (It’s simpler to go again to the dock, to catch the boat, from the seaside).
That lovely nice sand you discover on the seashores right here is everywhere in the island and it’s completely attractive! It simply jogged my memory of afternoons spent biking on islands the Maldives, surrounded by nothing however lovely inexperienced vegetation.
Finally, we made our means over to the seaside, with simply barely sufficient time to take it in (we’d ended up spending extra time on the hike than initially deliberate) earlier than hopping again on the boat.
Again on the dock on Honeymoon island, these pelicans had been nonetheless at it besides this time, they had been joined by an Osprey (which might be the primary time I’ve really seen an Osprey up shut).
Are you able to see but what I imply about how pre-historic these pelicans look?
Anyway, sufficient about pelicans! We had been positively ravenous by this level and had nothing else on our thoughts however lunch!
For lunch, we headed over to the Olde Bay Café in Dunedin (which is fairly near Honeymoon Island – actually, it’s kinda in your means out of the island).
The meals right here is good, gentle and totally welcome. Lloyd went for the wraps and made the basic mistake of ordering chips as a substitute of fries.
Chips don’t imply the identical factor within the UK as they do within the US and regardless of figuring out this for ages, years of ordering chips within the UK are arduous to overlook as you sub-consciously order the identical factor within the US simply to do not forget that what you’ve really ordered are what we’d name crisps.
I went for the grilled grouper (a neighborhood favorite) and coleslaw.
By the way in which, have you ever seen how enormous grouper can get? Google it now! (Simply seek for ‘massive grouper’)
Given my comparatively wholesome lunch selection, I made a decision I deserved dessert (I at all times discover a option to persuade myself that I deserve dessert) and went for Key Lime pie to fulfill my sugar craving. *licks lips*
We determined to take a look at Dunedin after lunch on a leisurely stroll by way of the city, partly to stroll off lunch however largely to take a look at Dunedin.
Dunedin is definitely fairly cool and a enjoyable spot to whereas away the afternoon (although one of many locals we ended up randomly putting up a dialog with mentioned we needed to come again at night time as that’s when the principle avenue actually comes alive).
Our stroll by way of the city quickly led to a craft beer Brewery – the Dunedin Brewery. Seems this place is the oldest brewery in all of Florida and a little bit of a historic piece price trying out.
I wish to let you know I attempted to indulge within the historical past however I’d be mendacity, I used to be in it to check out the craft beers. Lloyd couldn’t have a drink as he was driving so I used to be chief beer tester (a job I took fairly a shine to).
From left to proper we have now ourselves – the Flash Mild, the Purple Head, the Apricot Peach and the American Traditional.
I used to be so satisfied that the Apricot Peach can be my favorite (all of what it’s is what I like) however no, the Flash Mild and the American Traditional are the true heroes of this bunch!
After a short time right here sampling beers, we determined it was time to go again to Clearwater seaside – simply in time for sundown!
This time it was a tad cloudier however no much less fairly because the seaside at sundown is simply such a superb place to be!
It’s additionally each bit as scorching sizzling because the day earlier than so it’s simply sensible.
This night although, we got here effectively ready and made our means over to Frenchys for dinner earlier than the frenzy of the day.
Though the queue was significantly a lot shorter, we nonetheless needed to wait to get a desk (which I don’t begrudge – you don’t actually wanna eat in a spot nobody else desires to, there’s often a cause for that).
Fortunately, like I mentioned, the wait was a lot shorter – I can’t keep in mind precisely how lengthy it was (10 minutes possibly? The reside band had simply began taking part in some hit and I used to be too into these songs by this level to care an excessive amount of).
Dinner took an identical theme to the day earlier than – frozen margaritas to begin, swiftly adopted by coconut shrimp and hen bites (#noregrets – I like what I like 😄).
We then went for the grilled grouper, coleslaw and fries (not chips! Lesson learnt by this level).
To complete issues off, we bought ourselves a peanut butter, chocolate pie. (Not the official identify however while you have a look at the menu, you’ll know precisely what I imply).
Going to Frenchys turned out to be simply the proper option to end off the night and certainly, our closing night time in Clearwater.