Exploring Florida’s Suncoast in November

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Jack and Niki bring you the November issue of our Suncoast & Tampa Bay Snowbird Visitor’s Guide. It’s now up on the Internet at http://www.tampabaysnowbirder.com/.
 
This issue explores a 12-mile scenic stretch of the 45-mile Pinellas Trail that runs along a former railroad bed with Parks and other interesting places to visit as you bike, walk or jog. Where to park, what to see and some interesting mile markers.
 
Did you know the Beach Markets are reopening for the Season? When and where are they?
 
How about a list of area restaurants open for a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner?
 
All of the above plus our regular features including what’s playing this month at the Pier 60 Sunset Cinema, a listing of November’s local art & craft fairs and festivals, area attractions by city/town, webcams, shopping, parks, dining and more.

Happy November from Niki & Jack Armstrong!

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Can we talk about good eats?

Let’s talk about Restaurants and good food along the major East Coast RV Routes.

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Alligator bites on Clearwater Beach

Niki and I find that the best way to feel – and yes, taste – the local flavor of an area is to seek out the locals’ favorite places to dine. You meet people and you get a better feeling for what it might be like living in an area. Of course, the other benefit is that you find some delicious local tummy fare along the way.

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“Michigans” at the original Clare and Carl’s in Plattsburgh, NY

If you share our interest in RVing, exploring and good food – or I should say good food and good value – or maybe just looking for a good suggestion to grab a bite on your trip, we have broken down our lists three ways.

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Dining along East Coast RV Routes

First we have a BIG list from our Snowbird RV Trails files – Restaurant Reviews by State – from Maine to Florida and from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to Arkansas and the Mississippi River.

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Afternoon tea at Upper Canada Village

Secondly – Florida has been the home base in our travels and consequently we have visited more eateries here than any other State. Enough so that the Sunshine State Restaurants deserved a page or two of their own.

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Desserts to die for on the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs, FL

Now as Florida residents, the Tampa Bay Area is the epicenter of our lives which includes Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater Beach along with all of the surrounding picturesque smaller Towns. We, of course, continue our “hobby” of finding good places to eat in this area.

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Things to do and places to go in Tampa Bay

We publish online our local Tampa Bay Visitors Guide which we update constantly. It’s always a work in progress. On the website we have a section devoted to dining in this area with special emphasis on where to Find Cheap Eats in Tampa Bay for our out-of-town visitors – Snowbirds, Spring Breakers, family vacationers and all other beach goers and sun worshipers who want to see and do all there is in the area but still stay within their budget.

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Waterfront dining in Hooters of New Port Richey

We hope you enjoy our “lists” and find them useful to you. If you would like to comment or maybe add a favorite of your own for us to visit, we’d like to hear from you. Send us an email to snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com or tbsnowbirders@gmail.com.

Until we cross paths, we wish you safe travels and to always enjoy every journey.
Jack and Niki

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Lunch in Skene Manor – Whitehall’s “Castle on the Hill”

 

Happy New Year to all of our friends – Niki and I wish you the very best in 2017!

Niki and I had our New Year’s Eve dinner this night  (12/31/16)at a small restaurant we have been planning to visit for over two years. “Nauti Nancy’s” is located on a side street in a residential area in Clearwater, FL. Now on first look from the outside it looks like a cross between an old-time Mexican restaurant and a seafood shack that you’d normally find near the waterfront.

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Stepping inside does nothing to change our original opinion on the visual but then things begin to change. You are welcomed like friends and you can choose whether you want to dine inside or sit in the large Tiki Bar/enclosed patio outside.

Once seated with a refreshment in front of you it becomes a real challenge to pick your favorite entree’ from a short but very intriguing menu that changes daily. The emphasis is on seafood with combinations that sound too good to be true.
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This visit Niki and I both chose the “Cod Oscar”: Grilled fresh North Atlantic Cod with crab and asparagus over yellow rice topped with Hollandaise Sauce and sliced tomatoes (minus the tomatoes that neither of us are supposed to eat). Just a thought – you may want to order an appetizer as Chef Nancy prepares everything fresh and will not rush her dishes. The dishes are definitely worth the wait and our Cod Oscar plates were exceptional.

After the meal they serve beignets (gratis) for dessert. The perfect ending to a beautiful meal. Chef Nancy came out from the kitchen atter we finished our meal to spend a few minutes chatting with us. It becomes quickly apparent that she is passionate about her food and that her customers leave satisfied. Can’t ask for more than that.

The service is cordial, the food is excellent and the prices are fair. We’ll be back and suggest you might want to try Nauti Nancy’s as well next time you are in the Clearwater/Clearwater Beach area. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Nauti Nancy’s Restaurant is located at
700 Eldridge St, Clearwater, FL 33755  (727) 446-3717
Known for “Down-home American & seafood unusual, delicious dishes served in a funky joint with a patio & regular live music.”
You can visit Acoustic Open Mic night most Tuesday evenings and they have live music on many Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 6:30. Check the “Music Calendar” and all of the other info on their website at http://www.nauti-nancys.com/.

Blue Skies, Sunny and 88

Clearwater Beach Beautiful yesterday - today - and probably tomorrow
Clearwater Beach Beautiful yesterday - today - and probably tomorrow
Clearwater Beach was Beautiful yesterday – it  is today – and odds are great it will be tomorrow!

Did we mention that today is all sunshine, blue skies and 80 degrees? It’s a beautiful area for any RVing Snowbird to spend the Winter. This is our 7th Winter here and we love it. We are close to Busch Gardens, the FL RV Super Show and State Fair, and the Florida Strawberry Festival is just down the road in Plant City. So much to see and do. -Jack and Niki

Our New RV Journey Begins May 1st

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2014 Snowbird RV Route Florida to New England

We’ve had a great Winter stay near Tampa in the Sunshine State and now it’s time to pack up and head back up North to begin our Summer Season of Workamping in the Adirondack Mountains of Northern NY State.

We have previously outlined on our website (snowbirdrvtrails.com) how we go about preparing a new route and what stops we have planned. This trip there will be stopovers at 10 campgrounds in 7 States (including Myrtle Beach and Mayberry) and we plan for about 22 days to reach our destination. We are retired and have entered the “no rush” mode of travel.

Each trip we try new routes, visit new campgrounds, find great local restaurants, interesting sights, and meet new people. Always looking for the best routes and discovering America along the way. We will post the facts, figures, photos, and findings right as we go. Just click “Follow” to hop aboard and travel with us

Have you ever wondered what Workamping is really like and whether you might enjoy it? We will be posting about it all Summer long with photos of the good, the bad, and yes, the ugly on occasion which really keeps our life interesting.

Stop by and pull up a lawn chair. We’ll have the campfire going and the coffee pot on. Your comments are always invited.

Day Trip to the Show Palace Dinner Theatre

On a recent day trip
SHOW PALACE DINNER THEATRE
16128 U.S. 19, Hudson, FL 34667
727-863-7949

We attended an afternoon dinner show presentation of “La Cage Aux Folles” at the Show Palace in Hudson, Florida. The theater is located less than an hour’s easy drive North of Tampa and Clearwater on Hwy 19.

The Show Palace has table seating for 400 guests. They serve a well-prepared buffet-style meal, with a salad bar, hot buffet with carving station, and a limited dessert table.They also have a cash bar. The wait staff is cheerful, friendly, very attentive, and work primarily for tips.

SHOW PALACE DINNER THEATRE
SHOW PALACE DINNER THEATRE

It was our second visit to the theater and we totally enjoyed both visits. The food is quite good with a nice selection to choose from.

The stage productions are professional with talented performers who really can act, sing, and dance. The costumes are top-notch as well. At the end of the show the entire cast will line up at the exit to thank you for attending, shake your hand and hopefully receive your approval as well.

Show Palace Dinner Theatre Buffet
Show Palace Dinner Theatre Buffet

The Show Palace has matinee performances on select Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Evening performances on select Fridays and Saturdays and brunch shows on Sundays. Phone for information or visit them online.

The doors open approximately 2 hours before showtime and serving begins maybe an hour and a half before the show.

Ticket prices
Dinner and show: Adults $49.50+ tax, Children $24.95+
Show only: Adults $38.45+, Children $19.95+

Upcoming productions include “The Wizard of Oz”, “Forever Plaid”, “Kiss Me Kate”, and “A Christmas Carol”.

 "La Cage Aux Folles" at the Show Palace in Hudson, Florida
“La Cage Aux Folles” at the Show Palace in Hudson, Florida

Now about
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES
March 13th thru April 20th, 2014

The setting is La Cage Aux Folles, the most notorious nightspot in St. Tropez and home to the most extravagant array of performers ever assembled! Open your eyes and prepare to enter a world of rhinestones and glitter, where illusion and reality mix freely.

Based on the famous 1978 French film and 1984 Broadway Best Musical hit, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES is pure entertainment from start to finish, filled with humor, dazzling choreography and warmth.

Things are not always what they seem in this show, and as the show’s lyrics state “just who i
s who and what is what is quite the question” at LA CAGE AUX FOLLES.

St Armand’s Circle & Anna Maria Island, Florida

The Columbia Restaurant, St Armand's Key, Florida
The Columbia Restaurant, St Armand’s Key, Florida

Niki’s son Jay and daughter-in-law Kathy are “down” for a few days’
respite from the Indianapolis area weather and to soak up some of our warm weather. We were happy to meet them for lunch at the famed “Columbia Restaurant” on St. Armand’s Circle in Sarasota.
Always a busy place at anytime but the the seating is usually quick and the biggest problem is finding a parking place within hiking distance of the restaurant.

Once seated, the meal always begins with each diner being served a warm, crusty loaf of Cuban bread to be slathered with butter and savored while we peruse the large and varied menu offerings.

Aromatic dishes on the dinner menu feature traditional favorites of Spain and Cuba, offering tender pork, chicken and rice, fresh fish and shellfish. Entrees are served while still steaming and enhanced by overflowing pitchers of fresh, fruity sangria.

Of course we both had to sample the Sangria!

Niki ordered the “Gazpacho Andalucia”, Spain’s famous cold soup of puree of ripe tomatoes, green peppers, onions, cucumbers and garlic. Topped tableside with finely diced vegetables and toasted Cuban croutons. She also chose Columbia’s legendary “1905 Salad” tossed at our table. Crisp Iceberg lettuce with julienne of baked ham, natural Swiss cheese, tomato, olives, grated Romano cheese and their famous garlic dressing.

Niki thoroughly enjoyed the salad but said she has had better Gazpacho elsewhere.

Jack chose the “Crab Enchilado” purported to be a Sunday favorite among Spain’s young folk. It’s a mildly spicy sauce of fresh lump blue crabmeat, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, garlic, oregano, white wine and chili peppers. Served over pasta. If it’s pasta Jack has to try it wherever we visit and he proclaimed this pasta dish to be “delicioso”.

Overall we both enjoyed all the food immensely and the conversation with Kathy and Jay.

St Armand's Key and Anna Maria Island
St Armand’s Key and Anna Maria Island

After lunch we drove North along Gulf of Mexico Drive (Rte. 789) – Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island, with stops at Coquina Beach (Bradenton Beach) . . .

Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island
Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island

where there were many people enjoying picnics and bicycling in the park while the sun worshipers were enjoying a gorgeous beach day.

Coquina Beach Arts & Crafts Sale
Coquina Beach Arts & Crafts Sale Today!

In another part of the Park we visited the Arts and Crafts Show.

Coquina and Bradenton Beach Parks are located near Sarasota and Bradenton, Florida and are about an hour and a half South of Tampa and Clearwater. The areas are large with plenty of free parking, trails, picnic tables, beach access, life guards, restrooms and a snack facility. A great place to think about for Spring Break or just about any other time.

Another beautiful 80 degree day has slipped by in Paradise.