Every time I am back in my home state I find new little corners to visit. Places that I, quite frankly, never paid any attention to when I lived there. I think it’s one of the great positive aspects of moving to a place far far away…you appreciate your homeland in a way you may not have otherwise. Last time we were back we headed north from my parents house to Homosassa Springs, and it was like entering a totally different world. A beautiful, untouched, old Florida type world.
A few weeks ago, the husband and I decided to visit Giraffe Ranch while we were in Florida. First off, let me say this is not a theme park or a zoo…it’s a reserve. And it is amazing. The property is about 50 acres and almost all of the animals are able to roam freely among the land and interact with each other. (Except for the promiscuous donkey…I”ll get to that later though) Anyhow…they have zebras, ostriches, giraffes (naturally), rinos, cattle, camels, goats, lemurs, pigs, hippos, and quite a few other animals, all of which you get a very up close and personal experience with. In my opinion, this place is the coolest.
(*Click on photos to enlarge)
If your looking for a tucked away spot to spend your Florida vacation, maybe you should consider Pass-a-grille. Located on the Gulf side of the state, an island just off St. Pete, you will find a one block wide and a few miles long stretch of pure Florida heaven. Nestled between long, white sandy Gulf beaches on one side and the Boca Ciega Bay on the other, it is probably one of the prettiest spots in the area.
Not all Florida beaches are created equal. Some have great surf, some are beautiful but are difficult to access…but there is one spot on the central gulf coast that has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember. That is Whitney Beach on Longboat Key. The sand is white and soft, the water is gorgeous, and there is hardly ever anyone there.
While Bradenton, Florida might not be the most sought after destination…it does have it’s hidden jewels. The beaches are beautiful (and there is actually parking), the people are friendly, and now to add another to that list…you can find some great live music here. Downtown consists of about 5 or 6 bars, all of which are decent, but on Sunday and Tuesday evenings, something special happens and the sounds of blues and swing come out of Corks cigar bar. You almost can’t help but be drawn in…