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Published: April 16th 2018
Trying to complete our annual bucket list, our friendly foursome headed out for another journey. Where were we going? We tossed several ideas back and forth and finally decided on Tarpon Springs. We’ve been here before but it is one of our favorite places and never hesitate to go again....and again...and again. As Cory drove our black beauty on various roads in order to avoid I-75 north. He truly knew what he was doing.....we passed under I-75: completely packed with vehicles of all sorts moving like snails. The snowbirds are trying to “fly” home but because there are so many....their pace is almost none-moving. We saw a couple motor homes stuck in this massive, creeping parking lot and gave pity out our window to them. As we buzzed along, we saw signs for Weeki Wachee. Hey, what about going there? We all had been there but it was years and years ago. I couldn’t even remember going. Cory followed the W-W signs. Of course, I was using our GPS Waze but got confused and had him drive right past this watery park. He was able to turn us around and go in the entrance with no problem. Well, kind of. There
was absolutely NO parking space! We saw many people walking into the park .....all wearing their bathing suits and some carrying coolers. We wanted to see the mermaids....not these bathing beauties. Cory ended up parking our car in a no-parking area so he could see what was available for us to enjoy and the admission price. Sandy and I were frantically trying to look it up on the Internet but not finding any cost. Lulu kept saying she didn’t need a bathing suit....she could go skinny dipping. Like what could people see on it anyway! She has nothing to show off except her gorgeous head. Cory returned: downtrodden. The 2 mermaid shows were already started & booked as well as the wild life show and river boat ride. Rats. We weren’t prepared nor interested in their water park. The cost for all this was only $13....no wonder everyone and their brother were here! What a deal. The weather was sunny and very hot so their water park would have been a big draw. We decided not bother going since we couldn’t really see or do anything. We put it on next year’s bucket list when we will go sooner in
the season and on a weekday. Lulu was hysterical. She can be a brat sometimes. She wanted to be a mermaid so much. She said it was her life’s dream. If they had a slip-on fish body, she probably could have done it but we had no idea if they had this appendage for her. We’ll just have to check it out for her.....next year! Quit blubbering, Lulu. Sometimes you just can’t have everything you want. Good grief....now she’s wailing and screeching!
A little disappointed but controlled, we headed south. We can still go to Tarpon Springs. We have former Tropical Palms friends who now live along this route somewhere but didn’t have their address and couldn’t remember the name of their parks so had to just wave in the air as we drove along. We spotted a nice, welcoming sign for Hernando Beach. Hmmmm.....that sounds interesting. A real beach town to visit. Cory turned and headed towards the beach. What beach??? We saw many big marinas and lots of lovely homes, all built on elevated supports. Why?? There was NO water - NO beach! We did find some canals weaving around the residences and areas of watery ponds
but NO beach or the Gulf of Mexico. Is this what they mean about being in a dry spell? We sighted a few interesting restaurants but we were saving ourselves for our favorite Greek one in Tarpon Springs. Just as well, one of the restaurants said “Not Open To The Public”. If not the public....then to whom? Certainly not the beachcombers.....no beach! As we continued along the narrow winding road, without a beach in sight, we passed through several yard sales set up in front yards right on the side of the road. Cory drove slowly so Sam and ourselves could see what they were selling. We call it “Shopping By Auto”. When we did some of our big field antique shows, some people would actually think they could drive their cars down through the narrow walkways so they could “Shop By Auto”. Crazy! Eventually, we came out of this overgrown vegetative “faux beach” onto Rt.19. There was a road sign that read: Aripeka. Hernando Beach must have turned into Aripeka. Not a lot to draw visitors to....no beach and nothing much either. A couple yard sales.
Now we were cruising right along. It was a pretty fair distance
For Tourists?? What is for them??
between Weeki Wachee and Tarpon. No problem, when we are all together, we chatter and laugh like it was our first encounter. Lulu was still pouting about not being a mermaid. She’ll get over it.
Yes, there’s the sign “Welcome to Tarpon Springs”. We take the first parking lot we always park in.....forgetting the parking fee goes down the closer you get to the end of this festive roadway. A lot of people here....lucky to find any parking spot. We make our way towards our favorite restaurant Hellas, stopping at all the quaint, “Sponge-Worthy” shops. One shop had all their t-shirts and tops for sale for $5.00. They were nice and of good quality. Sandy and I each snapped up one. Lulu made us stop frequently as she found her perfect photo perch. She’s just as vain as ever. Hey, what’s this? The police have closed off most of the road. Dealer tents are set up in the road. It is their arts and crafts show. Some people are sooooo talented. It was fun to see all their wares. It must be a well-known event because there was a big crowd to mingle through. Soon we were at Hellas.
Cory got us on the wait list...a table out on their roof covered but open patio. We waited about 30 minutes but had a buzzer so we could keep shopping. BUZZ. They were calling us. We had a four person table on the patio until the owner noticed Sam’s scooter and changed us to a 6 person table so we had lots of room. Now Lulu had her own chair. She was happy and we were, too! We love this place. Wonderful service and great food. Our first request was for this Greek restaurant’s special dish: Saganaki. It is a piece of cheese that is served enveloped in flames as we all call out “Opaaa” in celebration. It’s fun and tasty. Sandy got a gyro and a Greek salad. Sam & Cory got grouper. I drooled over my calamari. All delish! Their bakery is a cornucopia of so many sweet treats. More than the eye can comprehend. It was good we ate first....no room for these delicacies. We started our trek back to the car. We reflected about our visit here last year. We took one of their sponge boat island cruises. The weather was so bad....extremely cold and windy.
We had reservations so had to carry on. We froze to death and that’s just about the truth! Can you remember that blog? We were cold beyond cold. It was like doing snow angels in the snow, naked, and at 50 degrees below zero. I don’t know how we ever survived it. It truly is an excursion frozen in our minds forever.
Now, we were sweating. It was one very hot day! So sunny (a perfect Florida sky) but ever so hot! Even if we were naked, we would not have cooled off at all....only absorb even more heat more directly. Plus, our showy display would have burned out the eyes of the on-lookers. Lulu said she would do it......she loves to flaunt herself. Tsk, Tsk.
I looked on my IPad and saw we were only 5 miles away from our friends, Ed & Bev Clancy. Ed & Bev ran several popular restaurants in our hometown of Wellsville, N.Y. One of their biggest and greatly enjoyed restaurants was located just over the N.Y. border into Genesee, Pennsylvania. That meant we were located very close to it and frequented it a lot. What fabulous times we had there. Ed
Where’s The. Beach?
We never found one!
& Bev hired our 3 older children to work there. Being this close to their Florida home, we decided we had to try and look them up. Thanks to our GPS we found their house but we didn’t find them. Of course, had I called them earlier in the day we might have been successful. Oh, well.....such is life but rats! We were sorry we missed them. Perhaps, we’ll get to see them up North sometime....hope so.
Time to head home. It was a heathy jaunt to say the least. Along this lengthy route, we found a Culver’s eatery. Cory and I really like this place. Besides good food, they have yummy ice cream. Come to find out, it’s custard ice cream but doesn’t taste like it (not a custard fan). It seems like perfect hard ice cream. I ordered my favorite blizzard-style treat. I love the chocolate covered cherry one. This was a unique one. The big cherries were lined up around the top. Big chocolate pieces in the chocolate ice cream. No matter.....it was wonderful and hit the spot. That’s really all I had left....just one spot open after all the dinner we consumed. Squeeeeze......I squished in
Homes on canals
Homes in the sky
this delightful dairy treat. Lulu gobbled down one of the cherries......pig girl!
We made it home....at 7:00 PM. It was a good day and we enjoyed it immensely. Best of all, we really enjoyed just being with our good friends. “There are Good Ships and Wood Ships but the Best Ships are Friendships”. Thank you, Sam & Sandy
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