Old and New in St. Pete, Florida

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We took a spur of the moment overnight to neighboring St. Petersburg last weekend.  Its a city that has been working to transform itself over the last twenty plus years experiencing some starts and stops in the process.  It appears to have yet another positive start going on………..

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I have long thought of Downtown St. Pete as one giant retirement home catering to a very elderly population.  While some of that still exists in pockets around the downtown, there are now strong signs of redevelopment focused toward young professionals. If you show up on a weekend night along Beach Drive you’d find yourself in the midst of a jamming light and music show.  Sidewalks are full with young people, outdoor dining cafes are packed and hip rooftop bars are springing up. It feels like a micro South Beach.

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We started our  St. Petersburg adventure with a trip to the Dali Museum.

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The museum was incredibly popular over MLK weekend so viewing the collection and the temporary exhibit was pretty darn tough. A return visit mid-week might be a better choice.

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We headed to Locale Market to get a bite to eat.  Michael Mina and Don Pintabona teamed up to open Locale Market in what is now called Sundial, a mix of restaurants and retail occupying the old Bay Walk development. Just a month old, the place is hoping.   It reminded us of Eately in N.Y.C..

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On the second floor of the market is a wine and beer bar serving small plates.  The wine cocktails looked interesting….

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but we ordered wine by the glass trying a 2012 Stolpman Vineyard Syrah and a 2011 Torii Mor Pinot Noir. We paired the wines with a meat and cheese plate that was amazing.

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Often to the dismay of my family, I like choosing unusual accommodations.  I found one I wanted to try that sounded intriguing after reading the reviews of it on yelp.com –   The Hollander.

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IMG_2704IMG_2701 Its a few blocks west of Beach Drive and very popular. The wide front porch was a coveted gathering space for drinking and…….. entertaining ones’ pet. It’s dog friendly.

We walked to our dinner reservation at The Birch and Vine in the Birchwood Hotel, a 1924 apartment building that was beautifully repurposed in 2013.  I tried a Blood Orange Margarita at their sidewalk lounge that was very very good.

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Dinner did not live up to the hipe but we had BYOB’d a terrific bottle of wine that made everything seem just a bit better – Saxum’s 2009 James Berry Vineyard.

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Cassis on Beach Drive has a bakery we walked to in the morning to read the paper by the bay.  I can highly recommend the bakery and having tried the restaurant for breakfast and lunch on previous trips, I’d recommend it.   My photo does not do justice to the chocolate almond croissant.  It was exceptional!

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There is a unique Italian market in St. Petersburg called Mazzaro’s.  It’s a St. Pete attraction.  It is almost indescribable!  The only room in the place that wasn’t packed was the wine room.

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Finally, lunch at another local favorite on Central Avenue close to I-275……..

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St. Pete is a great one-nighter!

Salud!  Debbe