BY MARISSA CUDDY
While many people stayed in Canada over Reading Week I headed to Florida for a weeklong vacation with my parents.
This was the fourth time out of 17 years that I have flown to the sunny south. Every year other than those four we have driven.
We had a driver bring us to our hotel in St. Pete Beach from Tampa Airport. The population of St. Pete Beach is about 9,471, however, this doesn’t include the seasonal people.
We stayed at Blind Pass Resort, a small hotel with only about 30 rooms. It’s nice because you get to interact with others who are staying there and you get to know the regular staff.
This hotel is perfect for small families or older couples. However, that doesn’t mean no younger adults stay there. It’s a quiet hotel but in front is a busy road, which can be loud.
The beach is about a 20-minute walk from Blind Pass Resort, but the company Free Beach Rides operates all over town and will take you anywhere from Pass-A-Grille all the way to John’s Pass in Madeira Beach. All you have to do is call. The ride is free, however, the drivers should receive a tip.
There are also trolleys and buses that run through the area to all these cities and for a day pass, it’s only $5.
Not far from St. Pete Beach is Clearwater which was just named USA Today’s Best Beach Town. The trolley goes from Pass-A-Grille all the way to Clearwater.
Even though it is small town there is quite a bit to do. We flew in on Feb. 12 and spent the first two days relaxing by the pool.
On Sunday we went to the market on Corey Avenue. The market is every Sunday October through May from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There are many vendors offering a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, kettle corn, crafts and vegan Jamaican food. We picked up some fresh strawberries that were delicious.
Throughout the week we spent lots of time at the pool at our hotel. It was heated and has a waterfall but it was never on.
We went to the beach one night to go watch the sunset. The sky was clear and the sunset was gorgeous.
The beach can get overcrowded during the day so we stayed by our pool instead.
John’s Pass is a well-known boardwalk in the area which we visit every time we are there. Even though the shops are small it has a nice atmosphere. The day we went it was overcast, the only day out of the eight days we didn’t have sunshine the entire day.
I wish I could say I ate at some cool restaurant there but we ate at Hooters, which was still delicious.
We didn’t go somewhere every day, but in Pass-A-Grille and St. Pete Beach there are many places where you can rent paddleboards and get lessons. This is a big attraction in the area because the waves aren’t big enough to surf on this side of Florida. There are also many other attractions such as dolphin watching, riding Sea-Doos and pirate ship rides.
We ate out at PJ’s Seafood one night where we shared alligator bites as an appetizer. Alligator tastes like chicken and you can get it at almost every restaurant in Florida. For dinner I had a buffalo chicken sandwich and fries, my mom had a grouper sandwich and fries and my dad had fried clam strips. We all enjoyed our food and my sandwich was big enough that I brought it back to our hotel and had the rest the next day for lunch.
There are many small, locally owned restaurants in the area that all have their own specialties, which is usually some sort of fish.
Overall the week was great. We had fabulous weather and we got to see some of the new places that have opened.
We walked lots because we didn’t have a vehicle which was nice because we got a true St. Pete Beach experience. It also kept us active on our vacation.