St. Pete Beach: on our own!

Before we knew we were going to Europe this summer, Andrew and I decided to stay a couple extra days in Florida after the family left that Wednesday.  After waving goodbye as they drove to the airport, we decided to visit St. Petersburg for a drink.

Our first stop: Hyppo for a gourmet popsicle for walking around town.

I chose a green kale, cucumber and apple pop with no added sugar and it was MUCH sweeter than I expected.  Glad I chose that one!  We stopped along the way for a drink before heading back to the Don.

We really liked St. Petersburg and can’t wait to go back!  I could definitely see us spending a long weekend at the Don, spending our days by the pool or ocean and our nights downtown for dinner.

The next morning, we went to The Seahorse, a little diner recommended by a local lady we met while walking on the beach.  (She even gifted me a shark tooth she’d found that morning!)

Andrew and I spent our first day solo on the beach, enjoying the sound of the waves and some fun drinks:

The next morning, after a quick paddle-boarding session and checking-out, we drove over to the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg.

We started with a docent-led tour of the museum, and yes, she IS wearing a shoe on her head:

We ate lunch after the tour at Cafe Gala, named for Dali’s wife and muse.  The food was excellent and so well presented; it’s definitely a great place to grab a bite whether you’re visiting the museum or not.

I love this photo of Andrew:

After our lunch of tapas (a tortilla, a carpaccio and a ‘caprese’ salad with cheese toasts, spanish ham and radish) and sangria, we went back up to the third floor to do our own tour of the art work.

“Daddy Longlegs of the Evening – Hope!”:

This one, “Lincoln in Dalivision,” is a portrait of a woman looking out, but also a portrait of Abraham Lincoln!  Viewed from about 20 meters away (and perhaps squinting), it is most definitely Abraham Lincoln, check out the second photo and you should be able to see it.

Here’s another one of Dali’s works that incorporates something not obvious from first glance, the double helix of DNA: (seen in the far left and right sides)

And check out the name of the painting:

(Gala = his wife’s name, Dali = his name, deoxyribonucleic acid = DNA)

We absolutely loved our visit to the Dali Museum, and picked up one of their guides as a souvenir. Afterward, we walked along Beach Drive, one of St. Petersburg’s main drags.  We popped into Landing Company, a boutique jewelry store, and I fell in love with all their nautical designs. I am a beach girl at heart.

We stopped for a drink and dinner at Stillwater Tavern, where we (very much) appreciated their outdoor fans and cold drinks.

Once we finished, we headed for the airport to catch our flight home.  Despite the heat, I was a little sad for our vacation to end.  I love the water (lake, ocean, river, whatever) and miss it when it’s not close.  Andrew and I really enjoyed this visit and are looking forward to another trip to Florida soon, either back to St. Pete or perhaps to see the Keys.

St. Pete Beach: the Don

Andrew and I spent last week in Florida at the Don CeSar in St. Pete Beach.  It was our family vacation with Andrew’s grandma, taken every two summers or so these days, and our first repeat (we went four years ago).  It’s a big, beautiful pink Art Deco hotel on the beach with all the amenities.

The best part?  We got UPGRADED to the Penthouse!  (Andrew and I didn’t; we and his parents stayed in rooms on the second floor while his sisters, their spouses, nephew Blake and grandma got the Penthouse.  We’re pretty sure it was because the top floor wasn’t booked and we had such a large party, the hotel offered it so they could sell the suite we’d reserved more easily. Bummer.)

Check out this view:

The Penthouse came with a small kitchen, dining and living rooms, and three separate bedrooms.  Hi Grandma!

We spent most of our time camped out by the pool, taking turns swimming with Blake, who is a little fish!

I had to do a long run–14 miles–the day after we arrived.  I started on the beach and did 7.5 miles (from one end to the other and back), before heading inside for some air conditioning.  Running on a treadmill never felt so good!  My runs that week may not have been my fastest (how do the local runners do it?!), but I was pleased with my performances.  If nothing else, I gained mental toughness in the heat.

I also did some open-water swimming in the ocean (!!) and weight-lifting while I was there.  I really enjoy my workouts on vacation, but wish I had a buddy to do them with.

I’ll leave you with this photo of Andrew, hogging all the noodles to stay afloat: