DAY 45 July 8, 2009

After my non- meal at the motel, I went out to Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center. This is by far the best-interactive, thoughtful, and unique-visitor's center I have ever experienced. The theme is the why and how of conservation (particularly water) in Florida. It was enthralling for adults AND kids.

My next stop was Tarpon Springs Winery. Interesting wines and winemaker. Joe taught me several things about wine-tasting, making, storing... After my $6 tasting (includes wine glass), I decided to purchase a bottle of sherry.

I went into town and down to the sponge docks. I loved the look of the area, but did not enjoy the in your face hustling of products and tours. I ended up purchasing three sponges-this is the sponge harvesting capitol. I tried some Keel & Curley wine. I was unhappy about not being able to make it out to their winery in Plant City, but decided that I really don't enjoy fruit flavored grape wine. I loved The Spiceman's Kitchen (across the street from the Aquarium-$6.75-but I did not like the hawker outside (if it were really that good they wouldn't need this kind of hype). The Spiceman had two items I had seen on this trip, but failed to purchase. Now I have my Cajun Power Garlic Sauce and chocolate covered sunflower seeds for my daughter.

The main purpose of trip to Tarpon Springs was to enjoy local Greek food! It was not until I smelled Hellas and noticed a large number of patrons that I was sure it would happen. I ordered a gyro ($7) with feta cheese ($1) at the urging of my waitress and fellow diner (who was ooing and aahing over her spanikopita-try next time!). Then I began my own session of moaning.The pita was very tasty, the meat was nicely spiced with a little crunch from the grilling process, standard tomatoes & onions, the tzatziki was very mild, and the feta was divine (great decision to add it).
I went out to Fred Howard Park, but the road out to the beach was closed. Pretty little town with lots of water everywhere.

Last stop of the day was Dunedin. I drove out to Honeymoon Beach State Park-but didn't have time to go out to Caldesi Island- next time. The beaches by the causeway are great and would be a fantastic place for a picnic. In town I went to the Dunedin Historic Society Museum. They had three exhibits: children's toys, video games through the years, and presidential election memorabilia. They were all interesting. The exhibits rotate every 9 to12 months.

After two days of heavy touring, it was time to retire to a nice motel. The Sleep Inn in Clearwater was a perfect choice. It is very clean, nice pool, and very nice bed. The staff was wonderful. Definitely a place to return to.

ROUTE: US 19 South>US 19 Alt South>Fl 693 South>US 19 South

Lodging: Sleep Inn Clearwater

Meals: Hellas (****Food *****Service)

Attractions: Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center, Tarpon Springs Winery, Tarpon Springs, Fred Howard Park, and Dunedin Historic Society Museum

$$$: $33 Wine $3 Sponges $10 Food $9 Souvenirs $45 Hotel = $100

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