Other than the already centuries old Spanish domains in the north and the panhandle, south of St. Augustine Florida in the early 19th century was a land of bayous, forests, gators and mosquitoes. Fortunately, Florida’s still that way in some places.
Yet by the 1890s the Tampa Bay/Clearwater/Pinellas County Gulf of Mexico shore had been discovered by affluent Americans traveling by the new railroads that opened Florida. Their vacation homes would reflect the styles of the day from simple cottages to Edwardian mansions and Craftsman houses.
Over two dozen historic structures – and growing – comprise the the 21-acre Pinellas County Heritage Village representing Florida life from the mid-1800s to the outbreak of the Second World War. You can continue the story at…
Peru is not what comes to mind when wandering Mount Dora’s Victorian and Arts & Crafts streets. Yet among the myriad number of restaurants and cafes Mr. Cebiche Peruvian Cuisine is an innovative addition to the town’s American Modern standards.
But its culinary choices are not limited to people. Piglet’s Pantry has been baking all-natural dog biscuits for nearly 20 years.
Decorated artificial trees can be seen in the window walls of downtown condos, the cafes on Beach Drive are full of festive diners inside and out on the sidewalks and kids are talking to Santa under the Live Oaks on a balmy Saint Petersburg Christmas season evening.
It’s starting to feel a lot like a tropical Christmas.
South Florida is the American mainland tropics and a festival based on a return of the sun – winter solstice/Christmas – seems lost when the sun shines for only a couple hours less during this season. Yet of course Christmas is beyond climate and all areas of the globe have their own expressions.
Lighted boat parades are a Florida tradition and why not considering the enormous number of privately owned sea craft in the state. Both towns and yacht clubs put on numerous floating displays during December.
Especially for children, St. Petersburg turned North Straub Park into Snowfest 2015 the first December weekend. Complete with 65 tons of snow that created a sledding area under the Banyan trees, the festival boasted an artificial ice skating platform, karaoke Christmas carol singing, crafts and, of course, sno-cones.
Traditional decorations on houses and the streets are popping up as if the tropic in all its natural glory does dress up for the holidays.
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