Sunday, December 6, 2020

Room to Roam in St Petersburg, Florida

We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, we drove south to Florida for our winter getaway. We were surprised to find light traffic in the Atlanta area.  As we got closer to the Florida border, the traffic got heavier, slowing to a crawl in Gainesville and again in Tampa. Guess people were not heeding CDC's plea to stay home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Covid-19 cases were rising in many states, with Florida ranking top 3 as of  Dec 4.  We only stopped to fill up our gas tank and for bathroom breaks, so we got to our destination an hour earlier than our usual 12 hours drive.

With so many county parks and open spaces in the Tampa Bay area, we have room to roam, safely. It's a good thing the new St Pete Pier, which opened in July, is so open, airy and spacious, with 26 acres of land for outdoor activities. We met a friend for lunch at the rooftop bar Pier Teaki, and later explored the new pier and downtown by bike. 
Looking at downtown St Pete from the rooftop bar Pier Teaki
Walkway to the St Pete Pier
Pier Plaza, with a cafe, chairs and interactive fountains
Looking at the Pier from Spa Beach

Taking a break to soak up some sun

a blue heron waiting patiently for a meal 
Vantage point of the pier from the Dali Museum area
We wanted to see Van Gogh Alive at the Dali museum, but the tickets were sold out. Just as well. The exhibit runs until April 11, 2021, so we'll catch it next year. With vaccines out soon, it'll be safer to be indoors then.
Biked to the Vinoy Point
View of  the St Pete Pier from Vinoy Point
Gelato and brownies - sweet endings to a great workout!

Music and gelato, how sweet it is!
 My favorite Louis Armstrong song summed up our day:
I see skies of blue
And clouds of white
The bright blessed day
The dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Y'all have a good day. Be well and stay safe!

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Friday, October 30, 2020

Apples and Apple Picking

Apple picking and leaf peeping are some of our favorite fall traditions. We have fond memories of these outings with friends and families. Three years ago, we happened to be in Boston during the fall season, so we grabbed the opportunity to go apple picking. We visited Hilltop Orchards in the Berkshires and Honey Pot Hill Orchard in Stow. There's something to be said about picking your own variety of apples on a beautiful fall day. 
You can walk or ride the tractor wagon to the trees
Hilltop Orchard in the Berkshires
Resistance is futile ... on these yummy apple cider donuts
Pick the apples yourself or buy them from the store
At Honey Pot Hill, the cider donuts were even better than Hilltop's, and the farm animals delighted both kids and adults alike. 

We wanted to make a road trip to New England this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic had many northeastern states restricting entries as they tried desperately to stop the spread of the coronavirus. We stay put here in southeast Tennessee, and didn't go leaf peeping or visit the local orchards. We purchased some Cameo apples at the local farm stand; our neighbors bought some Pink Lady apples and gave us some. A few days later found more apples in my galley, as Ingles, our local supermarket, had a sale on the Honeycrisp variety. What chef or cook can resist a sale on these gems? Normally selling for 3 times the price of other apples, these delicate crispy apples were a steal at $1.29 a pound! After reading this article, I now understand why Honeycrisp apples command such high prices and are so popular.
Honeycrisp apples, cut and in basket
3 Cameo on left, 2 Pink Lady on right
So, on top of the freshly picked gingko nuts and pecans, I have a lot on my plate.  But no worries. I do have a plan on what to do with them apples (looking at you, apple cider and apple turnovers).
fan-shaped leaves on a Gingko tree on a beautiful fall day
Picking Gingko nuts that had fallen on the ground
Washed and dried gingko nuts, pecans in the back

What are your favorite fall activities?

This post is shared on Skywatch Friday and My Corner of the World.

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