November 2014 News And Events
Florida Heritage Travel is the companion monthly e-zine of FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL.
SAFETY HARBOR, FLORIDA: HOME OF HISTORIC ESPIRITU SANTO SPRINGS
Safety Harbor is on the far northwestern shore of Tampa Bay. Although surrounded by heavily populated Pinellas County, it is a tranquil spot far away from the noise and hectic life of its urban neighbor. The small town of 17,000 people is the home of the historic Espiritu Santo Springs. This "spring of the Holy Spirit" was given its name in 1539 by the Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto. In the early 1900s water from the spring was bottled and sold around the country.
The little town was incorporated in 1917 and the famous Safety Harbor Resort and Spa was opened 9 years later. It was built over the springs and is still a popular resort. The site was designated a Historical Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1964.
The area was originally known as Worth's Harbor and was first settled by a French nobleman named Count Odette Phillippe. He is known for introducing the first grapefruit to Florida in 1823. His name is still honored around Safety Harbor in the beautiful Phillipe Park. This 122 acre treasure is a short walk from the Spa and is a great place for picnics or to just spend a quiet day. Local legend says the name Safety Harbor comes from the 1700s when pirates were a big threat to the Florida gulf coast. If a ship could get as far as the shallow waters of this part of Tampa Bay, it was safe from pirates.
The main drag in Safety Harbor is appropriately named Main Street. It runs east-west and ends at the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa located on Tampa Bay. It is a pleasant street with dozens of neat shops, restaurants and art galleries. Art and artists are important elements of this little town. The side streets also have lots of interesting old houses and buildings to look at. An example is the Safety Harbor Art and Music Center shown above. The cozy little Safety Harbor City Marina is also at the end of Main Street adjacent to the Spa.
The downtown area in the Main Street neighborhood shows its artistic heritage with all kinds of buildings decorated with bright primary colors or pastels. It is a pleasant experience just to walk around and soak up the ambiance.
The map below shows you where Safety Harbor is located. For directions, go to Google Maps and enter Safety Harbor. Bring your camera and have a lot of fun recording memories.
RESTAURANT OF THE MONTH
122 3rd Avenue North
Safety Harbor, Florida 34695
I've always thought of southern food as being comfort food. Southern Fresh confirms that I am thinking correctly. This is a small restaurant with a plain inside dining room and a wonderful outside dining deck. The prices are great and the ambiance is perfect for this kind of dining place. The menu is limited, but that's okay too. You will be in heaven if you like meatloaf, mash potatoes, green beans, fried chicken, roast pork, collard greens and various grilled vegetables.
The restaurant is in a converted bungalow and would be fun to visit even if you didn't eat there. The service is prompt and friendly. If you are of the sensitive skin type, the restaurant will even lend you some bug spray to use on their deck. I did not find it necessary in October, but some people might. Sandwiches are great; try the Boston Butt Pork Sandwich with a side of collard greens. Delicious and filling. If you don't like chicken, try their redfish. It's just as good as the chicken.
The fried chicken is not prepared in advance; it is made to order while you wait. This takes a little longer that Kentucky Fried Chicken or Chik Fil A, but you will feel that the wait is worth it. You can get chicken breast, legs, thighs or all of the above. Desserts are more comfort food; try the strawberry shortcake or the banana pudding.
Southern Fresh has a small but nice selection of beer and wine.
FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL UPDATES
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November is windows open weather in most of Florida. About a third of the snowbirds are still up north, so restaurants are not as crowded as they will be in winter.
HERE ARE SOME INTERESTING FLORIDA EVENTS FOR NOVEMBER:
FLORIDA WINERIES. Check the Florida winery nearest you. Many of them have wonderful weekend events that include music and wine tastings. Our site has information on 18 wineries scattered across the state. We plan to add even more when we have time to visit them.
FLORIDA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS. We have an extensive list of Florida Tourist Attractions. Some of them are well known; other are a wonderful step back into Old Florida.
FLORIDA FESTIVALS. There are several outside events this time of year. Among these are outdoor art festivals and folk and bluegrass music festivals.
FLORIDA ZOOS. Florida has many zoos, and Florida zoos offer an
interesting and inexpensive way to spend a day or more.
FLORIDA BEACHES. Almost anything you decide to do in Florida can be enhanced by spending some quality time at a great beach, and best beaches in Florida will guide you in the right direction.
FLORIDA MUSEUMS. Many Florida art and historical museums have scheduled events. Click on the links to find out what is going on.
FLORIDA THEATER. This is an active time for plays and musical events in our many Florida theaters.. Check the links to find out what might be interesting to you.
FLORIDA AUTHORS. Any time is a good time to read a book by a Florida
author. Our most visited author page is now that of Randy Wayne White, the creator of adventurous marine biologist Doc Ford, followed closely by Tim Dorsey and his lovable hero, serial killer Serge Storms.
Here is a useful link that will tell you what is going on this month virtually everywhere in Florida.
FLORIDA FESTIVALS AND OTHER EVENTS FOR NOVEMBER 2014
Information on the towns and places hosting these events, or near them, including lodging, can be found at Florida Towns.
A few events are cancelled on very short notice. I do my best to ensure that our information is correct and current, but I recommend you call before leaving for the event to
make sure it's still on.
Thanks for subscribing to Florida Heritage Travel. We will see you next month with more updates and event information.