Best Kept Secrets Of The Gulf Coast

Old Feb 22nd, 2014, 05:25 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,072
If you do go to the Ringling Museum, be sure to check out the dorm buildings at the college next door, New College. They were designed by I.M. Pei, the architect of the pyramid at the Louvre.

You have enough to see and do just in this area, for 3 months!
And there are a couple of city parks in the St. Pete city itself that have lots of nature trails with plenty of alligators if that is something you haven't done yet.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2014, 05:57 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
Passe Grille area, just south of the Don Cesar Resort, St Pete Beach, has small and more quaint inns than, say, a stay directly on St Pete Beach. Granted, I've never stayed at Passe Grille except as a teenager, I always make that lovely drive! Passe Grille is a peninsula at the southernmost point of St Pete Beach.

Ft Desoto State Park is a great place to spend an afternoon and is easily reached from Passe Grille or the busier part of St Pete Beach. Beaches, birds, it's very peaceful.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2014, 05:59 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
Sorry, should have spelled it Pass-a-Grille.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2014, 06:53 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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I got immersed in your blog, Richard...loved your humor, so really look forward to your style trip report!

As an aside, there are two Hyatts in San Antonio and I'm not sure which you stayed at, but DH was GM of the Hyatt Regency San Antonio when he retired. I LOVED the Austin segment of your report! Gulfport too has the slogan, "Keep Xxxx Weird". Both towns always have been, and both are proud of it! Austin's weird is a little more upscale than Gulfport's. I'll be so curious to see what you think!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2014, 09:57 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 48
Winterson: the Bilmar is on the short list, as are the parks. Thank you.
simpsonc510: I always like to find nice drives so a trip to Pass-a-Grlle will be included.
OO: It's nice to know that Gulfport is a little "weird". And I'm glad you enjoyed the blog. It makes it so worthwhile when you get a bit of feedback.
On the planning front, Sue and I have seven days left to plan after leaving The Tampa Bay Area and before returning to Orlando. At the moment I'm enjoying reading everything about Cedar Key, Old Florida, the state parks, the farm country and the springs. We're hoping to work out a route taking in the best of the inland area (below Ocala) It almost seems rude to ask, but if anybody out there isn't bored to death with this thread then I would love to hear any recommendations for a base to stay and your favourite places to visit.
And once again a big thumbs up to all those readers out there who have been so generous with their time and information.
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Old Feb 24th, 2014, 10:50 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,012
Richard, you mentioned early on liking craft beers, and yesterday we went to a relatively new (and new to us) brewpub in downtown St Pete I think you would enjoy. Green Bench Brewery

It has a sampling room with adjacent Biergarten complete with picnic tables and pub style lawn games. The crowd was primarily 30 and 40 something's, with some people coming with their kids, others with their dogs, then there's our group with 3 generations, all of us having a terrific time. It was a 100% local crowd and doesn't seem to have been found yet by the tourist population, primarily I think because it's removed from the usual tourist track of downtown. Oh yes...the beer was very good, and probably a dozen to select from. I know that when you are here, you probably aren't looking for places like home, but this reminded me very much of a pub/Biergarten we enjoyed with friends in Garsington. Same set up and mix of people. Good spot for mingling with friends, old or new.
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Old Feb 26th, 2014, 09:54 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 48
OO thanks again for another good tip. Here in the UK it's been T shirt weather and we have spent the day slaving over Florida guide books. Right now I could do with a nice cold beer!
We have three days left to plan and having deliberately avoided all Disney/theme park attractions all the way round Florida, we are now wondering whether we should go to the Orlando area for our last few days. It's not what I would normally do, but I wonder whether we are missing out. Anybody out there got any views?
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Old Feb 26th, 2014, 10:15 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,890
Winter Park is a lovely part of Orlando.

And like you guys, we are a bit Disney adverse, but I have to admit when I was in Orlando for a business trip I went out to see Celebration Florida because I had seen a documentary about it. If you aren't familiar with Celebration, it is Disney built, and let me quote from its wikipedia write up:

"Response to Celebration has been mixed, some feeling it is creepy, one resident even admitting it is "Stepford Wife-like,"to those who see Celebration as an example of new urbanism with its safe, walkable community.",_Florida

I went there in 2003 and the whole place felt empty-kind of eerie. I would be interested to see what it is like now.

> does that mean the great UK floods of 2014 seem to be over?
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