Monday, September 15, 2008


Recently I've found myself going through travel withdrawal. I'm back in the full-time teacher groove now, which makes it even more evident that it will be a while before I take a "real" trip again. The past two weekends I've noticed myself growing more and more twitchy, so yesterday I decided I'd better get a fix.

I headed up Hwy 19 to a small town called Tarpon Springs. I have wanted to visit this little fishing village for quite a while, but never carved out the time for it. I'm glad I finally had a lazy afternoon that allowed me to browse the shops and eat a wonderful dinner.

Tarpon Springs lies on the Gulf Coast just north of Clearwater. Although there is a small beach at Howard Park, the town doesn't feel much like a beach community. You don't see the high rises and surf shops; instead, the streets are lined with beautiful stucco homes and small neighborhood churches.

While I enjoyed strolling through the residential area, I was most interested in the Greek village. In the late 1800s, settlers discovered that money could be made by harvesting live sponges. Greek divers were hired to capture the sponges, and over time the town was influenced heavily by the Mediterranean immigrants. Today, the docks are lined with shops selling sponges, loofahs, olive oil, and shells. A number of Greek restaurants and bakeries also fill the air with fragrant lamb and baklava.

Not in the mood to be a tourist, I passed on the aquarium and the free movie at "Sponge-o-Rama." I had a great time watching the boats, though, and my gyro platter was delicious. I'm looking forward to visiting again in the colder months when the manatees make the Springs their winter home.

1 comment:

Nomadic Matt said...

i just came over to check out your blog and say you are from Tampa....and the tv show on right now is about manatees in tampa....crazy