Takin’ It to the Streets…for Five to Try

I had intended to be blogging about my latest Five to Try entry, a brand new festival that debuted last weekend in Safety Harbor, the First Annual Grapefruit Festival. But instead, I’m blogging about… my first visit to downtown Safety Harbor and checking out THE Main Street that I’ve heard so much about. (I guess that counts, too, right? I’d never done it before…)

So yes, this past weekend, I continued my April adventures of Five to Try…ahem…let’s set this up properly…

Five to Try for April – #2 Safety Harbor’s Main Street Walk

Okay, yes, apparently I live under a rock. While I’ve lived in the Bay area for nearly twenty years now, I’ve visited other nearby attractions like Phillippe Park and even attended a business luncheon at the Safety Harbor Resort & Spa, I was completely oblivious to the quaint shopping district just around the corner. When I heard that this charming little town was going to launch a brand new event this weekend that was supposed to offer morning and afternoon activities as well as evening festivities, I thought – that’s it. I’ll make that one of my Five to Try experiences for the month.

Only one problem: when my husband and I arrived there that Saturday afternoon at 3pm, there were very few people around to be found. In fact, we saw very few people at all – a few businesses slowly beginning to set up their booth tents out along the street’s parking lane (well, mostly dropping their aluminum poles and getting enveloped by the canvas above their head as they tried to stretch out their roof wide enough to fit their rods, which they continued to drop on the ground. And we watched a few musicians singing behind some buildings in front of a smattering of folks with a musical lineup and swagger that could only be described as a mash-up of Doobie Brothers, Willie Nelson and Foster Brooks. (And right now, I’m beaming as I type because I have found a way to make two references to Foster Brooks in the same week – the other describing local CBS morning show anchor Keith Jones’ facial hair tribute to the Bolts NHL Playoff run (day 9 and counting!), which I think shows signs of resembling the scruffy, silvery fields of follicle fortitude on the late, faux-drunk stand-up’s face. And that my friends, is pretty friggin’ tough to do.)

See for yourself…

…he’s on his way, I think…

But —- back to Safety Harbor…we really didn’t see many other people. At least not before 5pm which we later learned would be the time that the street would be closed off for all of the Grapefruity mayhem – and by that point, we didn’t really care enough to stick around to watch. So I can only share my take on Safety Harbor downtown sans the festival merriment (if it ever arrived).

I liked the variety of stores available but was similarly saddened to see how many had closed up. Had we not just eaten, I was eyeing some fried green tomatoes advertised at the Whistle Stop Cafe. (Can only imagine how many points I’d have to spend on that.) And then there was my constant prodding that we stop for ice cream, though I later settled on a delicious Veggie Delite at Subway and a Smart Ones Weight Watchers dessert instead (I know, low maintenance, right?)

The weather was perfect for walking, sunny all the way – and we had a ball checking out the chalk art along the streets of Safety Harbor and how it tied to the stores whose front doorsteps it adorned.

Love it! And I break for these kinds of turtles…

And I thought this one rocked.

Yeah, that’s right. We didn’t know that when we had walked out on Main Street in Safety Harbor, we had apparently walked into Funkytown, too. Groovy.

So everyone tells me that we should go back for an event – like 3rd Friday, the town’s Concert Series or one of their many art events. We’ll see. I liked the village feel of downtown Safety Harbor, but I must admit there weren’t really the types of stores that might perk my interest to sneak indoors and browse. It reminded me of Brockport, NY a little bit, where my niece currently goes to college, but at least that main drag had card shops and bookstores and even knick-knack, doo-dad stores as well. I may have just missed something but I think next time, I’ll simply explore another new downtown I’m not too familiar with – like Dunedin. Have been there before for a shopping trip for skirt! magazine back when we had a local print publication and had returned to do a magazine photo shoot with awesome author extraordinaire Fawn Germer (love her!) but I hadn’t been back to really investigate.

I believe a future Dunedin trek is in order as my North Pinellas adventures continue a little bit further up the road.

But it’s official – two items off the list for April – a new event (Hyde Park Art Festival) and a new downtown to visit and explore (Safety Harbor). Where will my April adventures take me next? You’ll see very soon…

Remember – keep jumping outside of the box and trying new things, new places, new foods and new adventures…and by the end of the year, we’ll each have more knowledge, more experiences and who knows? Maybe even some new favorites!

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