A Train Station, Clay and a Wedding: A Unique Combination

October has been a working month for John and me. Not the set the alarm clock at 5:30, go in to the office and then return home at dusk kind of work, but instead, the delivery crew for Emily Grace Design, Emily’s wedding rental business. Three Saturdays this month we’ve delivered glasses, dishes, hand painted signs and other decor items to make a bride’s day special.

Last weekend’s wedding provided a bonus since it was located in the Morean Arts Center for Clay in St. Petersburg.

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We toured the historic train station turned art center…

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where workshops and classes with professional teaching artists are available at the center for pottery lovers of all ages and skill levels.

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We especially enjoyed the pieces produced by children and displayed on the fence behind the station.

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Art and plants occupied much of the outdoor space.

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But a more formal gallery inside showcased the work of artists.

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We didn’t get our hands dirty in mud or throw a pot on a wheel, instead we had a hand in creating the space designated for events into the wedding reception area for Shelby and Angel.

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As a bonus, we discovered the Pinellas Trail running behind the fence decorated with the children’s work so we’ll be back again soon, but this time for a bike ride.

Thanks to my husband, John, for sharing his photos!

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!

 

Run, Ride, Work Out on the Pinellas Trail

After my bike accident last summer on the Mission Trail in San Antonio, John thought I’d given up on bike riding. With skinned arms and legs, the inability to ride back to the rental company, and a bruise that lasted over six months he was confident my days on a bike had come to an end. So when I agreed to add a bike ride to our 13 in 13 list, John was pleasantly surprised. The ride on the Pinellas Trail convinced me I’ve still got a few good years of riding left

Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Clearwater, Largo, and St. Petersburg a few of the destinations on the Pinellas Trail and while I’m not a true bike enthusiast, I discovered I still enjoy riding short distances if there’s a purpose in reaching a certain destination. Visiting local eating establishments is my favorite reason for biking, but the Pinellas Trail passes through historic train stations, county parks, beaches, ball parks and even breweries.

 

We spent time riding and exploring the portion of the trail running from Downtown Dunedin to North Clearwater on Saturday stopping at the Green Market and the old train depot. The Toronto Blue Jays minor league baseball stadium is located right on the trail only a couple of miles from downtown. Unfortunately, no game was scheduled. A little further down the trail we watched the boats departing the harbor. We even rode past the Scientology resort I’d heard about…but we didn’t see John Travolta or Tom Cruise. What better way to end the ride than with a couple of scoops of ice cream at Strachan’s Homemade Ice Cream!

The maps on the Pinellas Trail website clearly label restaurants, restrooms, water fountains and points of interest from Tarpon Springs to Downtown St. Pete. On future trips I look forward to visiting the following places:

  • In North Largo – The Belleview Biltmore Resort, opened in 1897, the largest continually occupied wooden structure in the world
  • In South Largo – an Amish Country Store
  • In North Seminole – Florida Botanical Gardens and Gulf Coast Art Center
  • In Downtown St. Pete – The Chihuly Museum, the Dali Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Museum of History, as well as the St. Petersburg Pier, and Tropicana Field

 

And the news from Florida’s legislative session is good when it comes to additional bike trails. Legislation passed allocating money to link trails from Pinellas County on the Gulf to Titusville on the Atlantic. Good news for those who enjoy exercising on the trails, but also good news for the communities that will benefit from the runners, cyclists, and walkers who use them. Even good news for people like me who enjoy riding to eating establishments. If they build it…I’ll come.

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!