Friday, November 14, 2014

Escape to Treasure Island

This past weekend, Tom and I ran off to Florida. We were hoping to relax on the beach and enjoy some beautiful warm weather. After all, the Nov. average in the St. Petersburg/Treasure Island area is in the high 70s to low 80s.

To start things off right, we quickly learned that we had the 'tour director' pilot who took a nice loop around NYC for an aerial view. I love those guys. Much like the pilot who few us down to the Grand Canyon in May. They must love their jobs.
Beautiful Blue Ridge (we think?) Mountains.
Atlanta, in all it's sprawling glory.
The photo doesn't do it justice, this city had so many 'arms', stretching in all directions.
When we arrived, we went to the Spaghetti Warehouse (which we kept calling the Lasagna Factory- a much better name in my opinion). The food was delicious, and in the center of Ybor City, Tampa. The buildings in this area were incredibly beautiful, and full of character. I would definitely recommend coming for the spaghetti, and walking around afterwards.

We then made our way over to the Manatee Viewing Center, at the TECO electric plant near Tampa. The electric plant takes in the cold water in the bay and uses it to cool the machines, releasing warm water back out. The manatees typically show up in early November to stay the cold months, and the busiest time of the year is in January, when you can see tons of manatees, sticking their nose above the water and swimming around.
Beautiful Spanish Moss was growing everywhere. This, in my mind, is the iconic tree of the south. I'm sure this is due to Steel Magnolias and Forest Gump, which I might have to watch again. It's been a while.
Quick selfie before church. Because I've realized around this point that we have about 1 photo together, for every vacation we've gone on. Anyone else fail to document themselves actually on vacation? I could very easily be stealing some stranger's photos, since we are rarely in them.
After church, we drove to Sawgrass Lake Park (and their resident alligators). Of course, we made several back stories for the alligators, who were being taunted by the fish and birds (who would swim over their tails or would land right next to them). Or, maybe they were full after eating tourist that morning. Or, they became vegetarians, due to the evil looking squirrels that inhabit the swamp (judging from signs warning us to not feed them.)
That evening it was pouring down rain. So, we went to dinner and movie.
But, it was the best movie. Go see Big Hero 6. Best movie we've seen in the longest time.
 And, the next day, still rainy. But we had tickets to Typhoon Lagoon, and nothing was stopping us. Except that the park was closed for the season, meaning we were directed to go to Blizzard Beach. Still fun, though this park was definitely more geared to smaller kids. The slides and tubes were fun, but they had a lack of Disney characters, only a goofy gator on skis. It didn't really feel like a Disney park, but we didn't mind. Especially since no one was there. It was pretty surreal experience, with zero lines to stand in.
We've always loved the Waffle House, located on the way to my mother's from NYC- but this one was right across the street from our hotel. Of course, we became honorary regulars for those 4 days. I'm sure they were heartbroken when we didn't show up on Wednesday. Maybe I should write a letter to explain...
Finally, on our last day, we got beach weather (and here's some proof that we were there)!
We only went into the water up to our stomachs before getting out. The water temp stayed around 65-70 degrees, which is definitely not comfortable. Tom said that he wished he would've booked for the summer instead since we never really got to swim. I told him he was nuts, this turned out to be a great vacation. The time spent goofing around a new place made up for any botched beach plans we made. The entire vacation reminded us of why we love to travel together, making the best of what some would call a 'ruined' beach vacation. 

So tell me...
Have you ever taken an off-season beach trip (and was it warm enough to swim?)
Have you ever gone to a Disney park and had no lines to stand in?


  1. The further south you go in the state, the warmer it would be. My favorite time to go to the beach is between Labor Day and the middle of October- it's still warm but there are much less people. I lived in Orlando for almost a year and have been in Tallahassee for two. Never once ventured to Disney, but LOVED Universal/ the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The "off season" is still quite busy, but NOTHING compared to what the summer months are like!

    1. We would probably return for this same vacation, but in late September to avoid crowds (and, ahem, get some cheaper rates). And I've heard awesome things about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Might have to return and visit it :)

  2. Florida is always a good idea. I used to live in Broward County, near Fort Lauderdale. It's such an easy long weekend escape.

    1. I'm glad we went, the demeanor and pace is much more enjoyable. The beach and (usually) nice weather is just a bonus :)

  3. We always loved taking vacations off season - we did Maine in April and had to drive through a blizzard to get home! Not only are there less people, the cost is usually lower.

    1. I love the affordability and more importantly (for me) the lack of lines and crowds. An empty beach is a happy beach (Except for when it's cold)


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