Dec 112011

Yesterday we took a day trip to Tarpon Springs, the Greek sponge fishing town made famous in the 1953 Robert Wagner movie Beneath The 12-Mile Reef. We first visited this interesting town on a trip to Florida several years ago and loved the waterfront area, with its little shops, great restaurants, and friendly people. We have wanted to get back ever since.

It was only 60 miles from the Escapees Sumter Oaks campground to Tarpon Springs, but it took us 90 minutes to get there, because traffic was heavy most of the way. It had been overcast all day long, and started to rain a few miles from our destination, but it stopped by the time we got there.

On our last visit, we were able to park on a side street near the waterfront, but this time around there were No Parking signs everywhere, and the parking lots cost $2 or $3, which isn’t bad for all day. But I still prefer free. 🙂 I guess we could have parked further away from the waterfront and ridden the trolley, but we didn’t see it until we had made it half way down the street on foot.

Tarpon Springs trolly 2

The few short blocks of Dodecanese Boulevard are lined with shops where you can buy everything from  souvenirs to trinkets, essential oils, custom made soaps, seashells, and clothing. Many of the shops have inventory on display on the sidewalk, giving the place a kind of bazaar atmosphere. 

Sidewalk strorefront

And sponges. There are sponges for sale everywhere you look, which I guess makes sense, since Tarpon Springs is the Sponge Capitol of the World.

Sidewalk sponges

Sidewalk sponges 3

Tarpon Springs sign

We had a good time, stopping to check out many of the shops, and chatting with the clerks, who were all friendly.

And who can go to Tarpon Springs without a stop at one of the Greek bakeries and restaurants? We remembered Hellas Restaurant from our first visit, and especially their delicious pastries.

Hellas Restaurant outside 2

They have everything from mouth watering baklava, to cheesecake, to cookies and pies. We each had a piece of chocolate dipped baklava that was so rich that it almost made your teeth ache.

Bakery showcase

Bakery showcase 2

Terry found a couple of shops with some spices she has been looking for, which made her happy. One place, The Spicemans Kitchen, even had a sea salt blend made with ghost chilies, which we were tempted to get for our buddy Greg White, who loves hot stuff; the hotter the better.

Check Out Our Holiday Subscription Special Offer!

There were quite a few sponge boats lined up on the docks, many of them with sponges hung up to dry, or docked at the waterfront warehouses and repair shops, getting ready for their next day of work.

Boat at dock

This statue honors the sponge fishermen who have been lost at sea over the years.

Sponge diver statue

Our friend Bob Meredith had told us about Howard County Park in Tarpon Springs, and suggested we check it out while we were there. But I had slept since then, so I got it all wrong, and thought he said Honeymoon Island, which is actually in Dunedin, about twelve miles south. By the time we got there, I knew I had made a mistake, but what the heck? The scenery was nice and the company was good.

We stopped on the causeway to watch lightweight sailboats and kayaks out on the water. The wind had picked up, and it was getting chilly, but everybody seemed to be having fun.

Sail boat 4

Kayak and sailboat

Well, this fellow was, until the wind flipped his boat!

Swamped boat

But apparently this happens often, because nobody seemed too concerned, and after a few minutes he managed to get it back upright.

Sail boat

On our way back north, we stopped at Cafe Masaryktown, a few miles south of Brooksville, for dinner. We both chose the pork medallions, which were incredible. We got back to the campground about 9:30, tired from our busy day, our tummies full from the good food, and with happy memories we’ll keep forever.

Thought For The Day – I will always love the false image I had of you.

Register Now For Our Arizona Gypsy Gathering Rally

Check Out Nick’s E-books In Our E-Book Store

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  7 Responses to “Day Trip To Tarpon Springs”

  1. I knew you would like Honeymoon area, even if you got there by human error. I always wondered about Masseyland restaurant. Glad food was good we will give it a try next trip that direction.

  2. You were only tempted?

  3. I Love it when my teeth ache!

    Great photos – especially the tipped sail boat. Also the sponge photos. Never been there. It’s awesome to see it through your eyes. Love all of your writings. Thanks for all that you do.


  4. Only tempted, Greg. You have such discerning taste that I was just too afraid of disappointing you. How could I ever live with myself after that?

  5. You should go back to Howard Park. Go back at sunset. It is a beautiful place!

  6. Nick,

    My taste can’t be too discerning.

    I like you.

  7. I love Tarpon Springs. I miss our old favorite Pappas Restaurant but since it’s gone I have learned to make the stifado myself, as well as the chopped Greek salad. Oh, so much food…so little time.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.