Friday, March 20, 2009

Blues Festival in St Pete, Fl

St Pete waterfront
When we cruised into St Petersburg downtown one weekend in March 2005, we were thrilled to find a charming waterfront city hopping with activities. The waterfront is lined with marinas, galleries, shops and restaurants. If you are looking for arts and culture, you came to the right place. Several museums including the famed Salvador Dali, a couple of theatres and a university (University of South Florida) are all located in and around the downtown area.

We dropped anchor at the Vinoy Basin anchorage. With friends and relatives living in the vicinity, we made arrangements to see them and re-provisioned. We had so much fun we stayed a whole week. By the following weekend, our trusty generator died! Right in the middle of the Blues Festival and with friends on board. Talk about great timing. The fun stops when you cannot charge the batteries to run the computer, TV, refrigerator, A/C, etc, etc. The list goes on and on. We can go to a marina to plug in every night, but that gets to be prohibitively expensive (think of paying hotel prices every day).
Vinoy Basin, St Pete downtown
We discussed our options and reluctantly kissed New Orleans goodbye. Our cruising plan was to spend the winter in SW Florida, spring in the Florida Panhandle and New Orleans, Louisiana. For the summer, we would cruise back to Mobile Bay and head up the inland waterway to Mississippi or Tennessee. So much for planning.

Guess all good things must come to an end some time. We searched frantically for a marina. There weren't many to choose from, as most had been bought out by developers and they had them turned into dockaminiums. We were lucky to find a space at Tierra Verde Resort and Marina, a hurricane hole, we were told. We totally agreed, having survived Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma that year!

As it turned out, St Pete was an excellent place to spend the hurricane season. We had a car to get around as it was stored at a relative's place. The marina is a mere ten minutes from Fort DeSoto Park, which by the way, was voted to be America's number 1 beach in 2005.

As for the generator, we got a Northern Light 6KW installed after the hurricane season was over. It runs great, and is pretty quiet compared the 16 year-old Westerbeke we had.

St Pete is hosting the annual Tampa Bay's Blues Festival this weekend. If you are in this neck of the woods, come and discover St Pete for yourself!

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