St. Petersburg, on Florida’s gulf coast, lived up to the nickname “The Sunshine City” while we were there. It is referred to as part of the Tampa Bay area, however it has plenty of charm, culture and beaches to stand on it’s own merits.
Its waterfront parks host the Dali Museum, featuring surrealist works of art; the Museum of Fine Arts, with works ranging from ancient to contemporary; and Mahaffey Theater, home of the Florida Orchestra. We learned about the Morse family who donated their Dali collection and created the museum. The visiting show at the museum was drawings, photos and paintings by Frida Kahlo. Both shows were remarkable collections and the grounds and museum itself are wonderful.
Also on the waterfront, the Chihuly Collection houses some of Dale Chihuly’s ornate glass creations. After viewing his work in many places around the United States, including botanical gardens and hotel lobbies, we thought it would be worthwhile to see a building specifically designed to show his works. We were also able to see a demonstration of Chihuly-style glass blowing across from the gallery.
Sidewalk cafes, galleries, boutiques and murals line the streets of the downtown art district. It was difficult to pick a lunch spot, we opted for a Greek place and it was delicious.
We didn’t make it to the Sunken Gardens, a century-old botanic garden. We did however, head to the beach. St Petersburg beach is made up of five little islands including Treasure Island where we stopped for breakfast at Sweet Brewnette. We spent some time walking on the white sands of Fort Desoto Park, just south of the city; it’s also spread across five islands and includes a circa-1900 fort, trails, and a campground.
We decided to check out Bradenton and Ana María Island and Holmes Beach too. They have a very relaxed gulf beach vibe. As we crossed the bridge we saw pelicans, then kitesurfers. What a treat. Pete and Repeat went kite surfing, Pete fell in, who was left?