Tarpon Springs Adventure

18 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Last week we enjoyed a Covid delayed trip across the state of Florida to spend time with family and visit Tarpon Springs, Florida. I have always found it interesting that my husband’s parents settled on the east coast of Florida and other members of my father-in-law’s family settled directly across the state on the west coast. Before interstates and toll roads we traveled one main road all the way except for maneuvering into and out of our subdivisions.

My father-in-law was the only boy in a family of five children. His sisters adored him and I learned on this trip that when my father-in-law’s sister was looking for land on the west coast, they chose their land because Highway 50 ran from their land straight-ish across the state.

I have wanted to visit Tarpon Springs for quite a while and I was disappointed when we didn’t make the trip last year. It’s a small town, so maybe you haven’t heard of it. Here’s a short description from exploretarponsprings.com

Tarpon Springs has the largest population of Greek and Greek-Americans in the U.S. The city is home to the World Famous Sponge Docks, which are still an active working waterfront as they have been since the 1800s. As the sponging industry grew, so did the City. Tarpon Springs was once known as the “Venice of the South” and has long touted the moniker “The Sponge Capital of the World.” 

We made an early for us start, 10:00 am. The weather smiled on us with lots of sunshine tempered with a cool breeze. We decided to cruise the town first to decide where to park. The main street of the town is lined with shops, restaurants and more bakeries than I could count. One restaurant with outdoor seating even had heaters. Fortunately they weren’t needed.

My husband and his cousin enjoyed chatting on a bench while the ladies walked along the dock to look at Sponge boats. We coaxed them from the bench to get a picture.

The pretty blue and white boat is a display and has a statue in front of it commemoring their heritage.

We decided on an early lunch and our hosts took us to their favorite Greek Restaurant. Early was a good decision. By the time we completed the meal the restaurant and the sidewalks were filling up.

As a rule, I research a destination to death. This time I decided to be surprised since our hosts were familiar with the town. I didn’t know any of the restaurant’s history but the food was delicious and the setting beautiful. A nice perk was the restaurant provided a parking voucher to its diners.

As I began writing this post, I decided to research the restaurant.

Since 1970 Hellas Restaurant has been a proud cornerstone of the Greek Community in Tarpon Springs. Owned and operated by the Karterouliotis family, Hellas Restaurant heralds their rich heritage by producing a truly authentic and cultural cuisine. We strive to provide you with the finest Greek dining experience. Located in the center of Tarpon Springs, Florida’s World Famous Sponge Docks and Fishing Village, Hellas Restaurant features Award Winning Greek Cuisine and Authentic Greek Pastries creating a truly memorable dining experience. Because of our uncompromising dedication to culinary excellence, Hellas Restaurant is a favorite dining spot among local residents, Tampa Bay area residents and visitors who crave an authentic Greek dining experience. We also have a full service bar with an extensive wine selection.

Did I forget to mention their bakery? Words fail me. When I learned the restrooms were in the bakery I felt an urgent call. I felt it would be a responsible action to cruise the laden cases so that we could make a good choice for our desert to go. Except the desert didn’t make it out of the bakery! My husband and I shared a baklava cheesecake. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of it. I guess I was a bit eager.It was beyond delicious.

Since my husband is getting his strength back after surgery, we decided to do the rest of our exploring by car.It was fun having someone point out interesting things instead of reading from a book.

For supper we had a lovely meal at a mom and pop Italian restaurant not far from the Gulf of Mexico. By accident, we timed our meal perfectly with viewing a beautiful sunset at nearby Pine Island. Our past attempts to view a beautiful ocean sunset were dismal failures, even from a cruise ship. This one was perfect.

It did my heart good to see families enjoying time together. If Covid has had a positive effect, it would be that our lives slowed and families spent more time together in the outdoors.

Our trip to the west coast and Tarpon Springs was short, but a delightful break from daily schedules and to do lists. We always enjoy time spent with our hosts. We usually meet in Orlando, half way between our homes, but this time we went all the way. Haha

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  where we frequently host the best in up and coming authors.

My 2020 goal is to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

One Response to “Tarpon Springs Adventure”

  1. ludyja March 18, 2021 at 9:18 am #

    It’s been many a year since we visited Tarpon Springs. I loved your descriptions and it has tempted me to suggest another visit with Fred. And thanks for the tip for a good restaurant! Greek food is one of my favorites!! I’ve never heard of baklava cheesecake! WOW! I’m definitely going to have to try that!!

    Liked by 1 person

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