Home Of The Blue Jays

Trip Start Oct 07, 2013
Trip End Jul 01, 2015

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Friday, March 7, 2014

When the welcome signs at the town boundary announce the most significant claim to fame to be the spring training location for the Toronto Blue Jays team, you know you're not about to be overwhelmed with a plethora of cultural events (unless you think of golf as a cultural event). That was ok because we had booked some extra time here to just chill, play a little tennis, do some biking, and catch up with two of our favourite peeps, Ann and Sandy K. They are parents of friends/neighbours of ours back in the days when we owned a home and, under different circumstances, I suspect that they would be out doing pretty much what we're doing so we have a great time trading stories. DH is currently looking into the legalities of adopting them as surrogate parents but that might be more than they would have bargained for. 
Because of baseball spring training (although we weren't able to catch a game), there was a shortage of accommodation in Dunedin so we found ourselves on the main street in a place we affectionately called Joe's Motel. We were able to park our car right outside our door and, for some reason, that always seems to be a very cool thing to do. It was a very typical U.S. motel experience albeit much nicer than most (no hourly rentals or coin activated vibrating beds). Right next door was the Covered Bridge Restaurant which could have used a bit of a powerwash but served up comfort food at great prices (perhaps explaining why we were the youngest people in the place by a generation). 
We did do a little tennis and biking but a lot of our time was spent wandering. We made our way up to Tarpon Springs which, at one time, was the centre of a lucrative sponge diving industry. I wasn't even aware that harvesting sponges from the sea could even be lucrative, but it would seem that most sponge-related activities have been converted to tourist attractions. And just for a little Cuba flashback, we also spent time in Ybor City which was once known as the "Cigar Capital of the World" with nearly 12,000 tabaqueros (primarily cigar-makers who had escaped from Cuba) employed in 200 factories. Ybor City produced an estimated 700 million cigars a year at the industry's peak. Quick trips to Honeymoon Island, Clearwater, and Tampa Bay rounded off our visit to the area.
Since Dunedin is also something of a warm haven for winter escapees, we were able to hook up for dinner with Sam R and Stephanie - Sam worked with DH at her first Toronto Police assignment back in 1982 so he was able to sympathize with her Police Hall of Fame exclusion!  Also met up with Deb and Andy W who where making a last minute dash away from the brutal cold of Ontario- for those that have noticed, DH seems to have a lot of friends named Deb- easy to remember and I suspect it's her grand plan to avoid exhibiting any early signs of Alzheimers.  

Strange Floridian fact- there's a law still on the books that suggesting that unmarried Florida women who parachute on Sundays may be jailed.
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Doe on

Have you no national or at least some Torontonian pride! Ignoring a Blue Jays training game.....here I had to drive for miles just to go to one, in fact I went to four training camps in '08. I think I will put you both up for adoption!

Jim on

You didn't mention that Domer, Skydome's mascot was now living in Florida...

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