Monday, February 15, 2016

Beer and Barbara Manatee...

Not what you would call a typical Valentine's Day outing but beer and Barbara sounded about right.

We started with a trip to Longwood's Hourglass Brewery for beer with our wings from Papa Bee's. Good stuff all the way around!

Just about 40 minutes from Longwood is Blue Springs State Park and in the colder months there are tons of manatees to be see at the spring. I think the count yesterday was over 300 and I'm sure I saw at least 100 of those and we were late in the afternoon. Be forewarned, the line to get in can be longggggg. Did I mention it can be long? Really long. Seriously, we probably waited an hour to get in but it was well worth it. You can see plenty of manatees in a few hours or you can picnic and spend all day watching the wildlife in the park. Heck, rent a kayak or go for a swim in the warmer months. 

It never gets old watching these gentle giants swim. 

Barbara here was doing some log rolls while basking in the sun. 

What are you still doing here? Go. See Barbara and her friends. Really. Sing her this special song like I do. 

I've got to tell you...

Well, I've got to tell you what Mardi Gras means to me. It's so very hard to explain to everyone the vast variety of things we do and see when we go home for Mardi Gras. I've written about it once before here but there is always more to say and some of it bears repeating.

We do go home to see my family and friends. That's a given. I get to experience Mardi Gras with my Mom, my 88 year old G'ma, my daughter and putting 4 generations together like that is reason enough.


There are just so many more reasons.

There's Candace.

My Family and their willingness to dress up steampunk style while braving the cold.

The Rolling Elvi. Scarf and doll acquired this year!

Music on the street corner. We really do run towards it when we hear it!

Seeing the end of St. Anne and St. Cecelia at the river. Aways something I wanted to see.

The food. Oh, the food!

Then there is Dusty. I've know him for 20 years. We live 6 miles apart and find each other in NOLA every year. Tradition.

The political floats.

The awesome, creative costumes.

Cafe Du Monde... 

Crawfish from Rouse's.

Oh, the Marching 100, how we love you!

Finding Lindy's Dad accidentally was awesome too!

And those lovely 610 Stompers! 

The look on this face. 

Coffee on tap! Yes, on tap at District!

Doubloons. Always Doubloons!

Trying new things. Calas cakes and their history.

Finally seeing Orpheus and Harry Connick Jr. 

This one.  

The awful things they say while teaching my daughter that not everyone speaks the truth.

And The Half Fast guys. 

Then there are random strangers telling you "Happy Mardi Gras!"

The Fearless Foursome.

Cady hearing and speaking with local musicians.

And truthfully, those are just a few of the reasons we go. Just a few. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Great List of FL Restaurants

Check out this awesome list of 15 restaurants to try in the state of Florida. I've hit six of them and haven't been disappointed. Check them out yourself! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Arrr! The Pirates invade Tampa at Gasparilla!

It's time for the pirates to invade Tampa! Yahoo! The annual invasion takes place over a month and is put together by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla. The day began with the boats invading and then the parade begins. We tried to get anywhere close to see the boats but the crowd was insane and we couldn't get all the way to a good view. I think we would have needed to be there maybe before 9am to have any chance at it at all. Now I'm envisioning a great brunch event with mimosas out there that would offer that view. Ah, maybe another year. 

Not much of a view of the full harbor but if you look closely at the left corner you can see the big pirate ship. And no matter where you are you can hear the booms of the cannons.

Arr! You have to dress like a pirate to get the full effect. Here are a few of our Mateys.

And the parade begins! Yeah!!!

The floats started rolling by a bit after 3. I think there were 102 in all. That's a long parade!

He's firing some cannons off the back of this ship/float! They sure are loud! You could sell ear plugs and make some easy money.

That's Mom. She likes big beads and she cannot lie. The little boy next to her is sure eyeing them though!

All in all, it's a fun day! Pack a lunch, bring some chairs and claim your spot! The waiting is part of the fun so make it a comfortable wait. See you next year.