Saturday, March 10, 2018

Florida Spring Break: Largo & Clearwater

On our fifth and final day of vacation, we drove an hour to Indian Rocks Beach on the recommendation of a friend. The beach itself was beautiful, but the weather was not, being 60 degrees and windy. (Nevertheless, this did not stop two older couples in bathing suits and sweatshirts, who set up chairs and an umbrella a little ways from us. The friend explained that, "Every day is a beach day in Florida.") We stayed a few minutes to enjoy the vista but quickly moved on to our next stop, the Florida Botanical Gardens. Entrance to their 30 acres is free, but it was still rather early in the year to see much growing. I decided that if we lived in a warmer climate, I would want dwarf palmetto and red shrimp plants in my garden.

It's a pineapple plant!

Although there wasn't too much growing, the physical structures were interesting, including this gazebo in the Wedding Garden, with "Love is the flower of life. D.H. Lawrence" inscribed on the patio. There was also a little stone chaise lounge in the Jazz Garden, where I imagine someone could pop in their ear buds and unwind to the sounds of saxophones and double bass.

A pleasant bonus was discovering the Heritage Village, a collection of structures (homes, schools, shops) all moved from various locations around Central Florida to this "village." Some have exhibits inside, like this Gulf of Mexico Sponge Company shack, while others offer tours. There was a little white clapboard Methodist Church that had once been picked up by a hurricane and deposited some distance away on its property, facing a different direction. The congregation just left it that way!

Finally, we drove over to Spectrum Field in Clearwater to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Philadelphia Phillies. It was a better game than the Blue Jays vs Orioles, and "our" team won. For this game I had purchased us outfield "seats" on the berm, where we settled in the grass with other couples and families. Unfortunately, it was sunny to the point of being uncomfortable where we were, but it was chilly in the shade. I ended up getting sunburned. Afterward, we dropped off our rental car at the airport and settled in for a couple hours to wait for our flight. FrDrDr slept most of the way. We landed at midnight.

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