Sunday, February 8, 2009

On the Beach with Jen

I've got sand in my bag, and my nose is a little bit redder than a doctor would recommend -- and I'm back from the beach.

I had a great time in Tampa/St. Pete Beach -- well, more so in St. Pete Beach because that's where I stayed. I spent all day Saturday with my butt parked on a beach chair (hence the red nose, though I did wear suntan lotion).

My only regret about the trip is that I didn't stay longer. I think I need a vacation.

Anyway, onto the pictures.

I stayed at the Sandpiper Tradewinds, a three star hotel that's right on the beach. Even though I knew Tampa well from college, I had no clue about St. Pete Beach other than the Don CeSar because my grandparents took me there for lunch when they visited in college, and as much as I'd have liked to stay there, it was way out of my price range. I found the Sandpiper through Curingcoldfeet.com (tip: book your car rental when you book the hotel. Big money saver).



It was nice -- but not as nice as its sister hotel, the Tradewinds Island Grand, but I can't complain. The Sandpiper was just fine.

I spent most of Thursday and Friday in Tampa, but Saturday -- oh, Saturday -- it was all beach all day, kicked off with a 7ish mile run from St. Pete Beach through Isle Del Sol (yes, that map says 8, but I got a little lost and ended up running 7.5). That span over the Pinellas Bayway was gorgeous -- right over a nice stretch of blue green water.

Then it was time for one of my favorite dining establishments:



"BLT on wheat toast with mayo, and could I get hash browns instead of fries?" PERFECTION. Florida doesn't have diners like NJ does, but they do have Village Inns. Many many of them, and I've never had a bad meal at Chez Village.

Then it was beach time.



St. Pete Beach is not the Jersey shore -- obviously. It's on the Gulf of Mexico, the beaches are wider, and it has a transient feel. Everyone really is from somewhere else, and not just an 1.5 drive away. I saw a lot of tour buses from Canada, and met a German couple who stayed a few rooms down from mine.

You can also see the sun set on St. Pete Beach (which, yes, you can do in Cape May but no where else along the shore):











Yeah, I'll be lavishing my face (and torso) with moisturizer for the next week. Little bit too much sun, but boy did it feel good.

And in the most random picture of the voyage:



Last night, I went exploring with a few people who were staying at the same hotel for a dental conference. Our goal was to get a drink at a bar that was not part of the hotel "campus," and we found a Russian bar -- St. Pete Beach does, after all, at least share part of its name with St. Petersburg.

Fun trip. I wish it had been a longer trip, but duty calls.

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2 comments:

Julie said...

After looking at those photos, I realize how desperately I could use a beach weekend, too!

Katie said...

Jen, just wanted to say on behalf of TradeWinds Island Resorts, I'm very glad you had such a great time on your trip! And I just love the sunset shots you got! Hope you decide to visit us again in the future.

Best,

Katie Mulford
Marketing Project Coordinator
TradeWinds Island Resorts