Happy Halloween from Dunedin

A bike ride to downtown Dunedin turned into a Halloween celebration. As we approached Main Street we could hear music and the voices of excited children and we soon saw ghosts, skeletons, pirates and trick-or-treaters filling their bags with treats from all of the businesses.

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No surprise that a city that caters to cyclists would include decorated bikes

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as well as Cinderella’s carriage. People of all ages were in costume, but my favorite was the girl dressed as a rainbow. I wish I could have gotten a picture of her little brother dressed as a pot of gold.

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Surprised by the event, we weren’t in costume, but a man let me borrow his parrot so I could get in touch with my inner pirate, and I posed with the skeleton at the photo booth painted on the side of a building housing a local realtor.

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Fortune telling and the showing of Hocus Pocus in the park attracted crowds.

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And the Dunedin Historical Society got in the spirit with displays representing Halloween through the years with everything from decorations

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to black and white scary movies to those wonderful costumes like the ones I wore as a child bought in a box with a plastic mask.

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Halloween sure has become a big event and “Funedin” knows how to do it right.

 

 

9 Down; 5 To Go

After nearly 40 years of talking about watching the sun rise over the Atlantic and then set over the Gulf on the same day, we added Sunrise/Sunset to our 13 in 13 list. We started the day in June of last year on Miami Beach watching the sunrise through the clouds after a thunderstorm and the evening ended much the same way watching the sunset from the Naples pier after being chased to the car by lightning less than an hour earlier.

This year we decided that Sunrise/Sunset deserved another year on the list. In fact, we made this a new tradition, one that will be witnessed from different beaches each year. Our 2014 sunrise destination...Canaveral National Seashore, and just as we crossed the boardwalk to the beach the sun began to peek over the horizon.

We kicked off our flip flops and walked south down the beach toward the launch pads visible in the distance and came across turtle tracks from a nest that hatched earlier in the morning as well as a crab that posed for the camera. Of course we both took pictures waiting for the perfect sunrise shot.

Finally the sun broke through the clouds.

After leaving the beach we drove the Black Point Wildlife Drive, a trail Meghan had taken in the spring where she’d seen birds, gators, and even a bobcat. However, we didn’t have any such luck. I guess it’s either sunrise on the beach or wildlife at sunrise. We’ll have to try this drive another time.

Then we were off to Dunedin on the west coast for sunset, but first a stop at Eli’s BBQ for some ribs, pulled pork and all the fixin’s. After a short nap, we biked the Pinellas Trail to Honeymoon Island to work off our lunch.

And for the final stop, we loaded the bikes in the Suburban and drove across the bridge to Clearwater (I refuse to ride that bridge…much too difficult.) and then unloaded the bikes on the west side of the bridge and rode the rest of the way to Clearwater Beach.

We passed the crowded public beach and found a restaurant near St. John’s Pass, ordered a drink, and relaxed while waiting for the final leg of our trip.

Sunrise and sunset, 2014, without lightning or thunder, who could ask for more?

Wonder what two beaches will be the site of 2015 sunrise/sunset?

Little Library on the Trail

littlefreelibrary2Take a book. Read a book. When I saw this message on a box posted on the Pinellas Trail in Dunedin, I had to stop and check it out. What I discovered was a Little Free Library. Of course, I opened the door and found nine new books waiting for someone to pluck them up and read. The titles were familiar. I’d read all of the children’s books in the box to my elementary students over the years. In addition, there were best sellers waiting for adult readers.

At the time I didn’t realize this was a recent addition, but the State Library of Florida posted a picture of the little library on their Facebook page with a link to an article in the Tampa Bay Times. I peeked in the book exchange box only three days after the Friends of the Dunedin Library unveiled it on April 30th…more than half of the original 26 books already in the hands of readers. According to the Times, this is the first of five Little Free Libraries planed for the community. Quite a commitment!littlefreelibrary

My curiosity led me to the homepage of an organization called Little Free Library which promotes literacy and the love of reading worldwide through book exchanges. With a goal of building 2,510 libraries, the Dunedin Little Free Library makes them one step closer. There’s even an official Little Free Library Pinterest board with pictures and stories about other book exchange boxes. Maybe Ocklawaha needs a Little Free Library!

 

5 Down; 8 To Go

IMG_0864We checked off the fifth adventure on our 13 in 13 list this weekend. It didn’t turn out exactly how we planned, but I don’t think it cold have been more perfect. The plan was to launch the boat in Dunedin and motor over to Caladesi Island where we’d spend the day on a relatively secluded beach for the first leg of the trip. However, we considered cancelling on Thursday afternoon due to the extremely rainy weather we’d been experiencing throughout the week and the prediction of more of the same for the weekend. Instead, we decided to make some adjustments – we’d leave the boat at home and just go to Honeymoon Island for the day. That way we wouldn’t have to dodge bad weather in the boat.

Of course, we didn’t have a drop of rain. In fact, the day couldn’t have been more perfect…overcast, slight breeze, mid-seventies. After a few casts and lunch we walked on the north end of Honeymoon Island which was nearly deserted. We walked and walked and walked for close to two hours picked up a few shells, watched dolphins playing just offshore, and occasionally threw a line in the surf.

We checked in our hotel which backed up to the Pinellas Trail and tackled the task of finding a place for dinner. Dunedin is known for its quality local dining establishments, but we finally decided to try Casa Tina’s, described as an upscale Tex-Mex restaurant. It turned out to be a great choice margaritas, black bean nachos, and chicken enchiladas…a little Tres de Mayo (Cinco de Mayo two days early).

The City of Dunedin sponsored a free concert Friday evening so we grabbed a beach towel and walked to the park on the bay for a couple hours of music.

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Our plan for Saturday was to ride the Pinellas Trail to Clearwater and do a little exploring. We stopped at the Green Market and made a couple of purchases then continued past the Toronto Blue Jays minor league stadium and finally down to the marina in Clearwater.

While the thought of Clearwater Beach was enticing, I knew there was no way I could ride over the bridge so we headed back, this time taking the path along the water in the Edgewater Linear Park taking in the view of St. Joseph’s sound and the intracoastal waterway.

We concluded our Dunedin adventure eating lunch at another popular eating spot, Eli’s Bar-B-Q. The best ribs ever.

I’m so glad we didn’t let the weather scare us away. This is a place we’ll return often!