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Clear blue waters and long stretches of sand have always been the appeal of St. Petersburg, Fla. But these days, visitors are just as likely to dive into the Tampa Bay town’s vibrant arts and culture scene.

Over the last decade, the Sunshine City has evolved into a creative hub, with world-class museums, thriving galleries and bold street art that have the once-neglected downtown booming again. And soon there will be much more to admire: Three ambitious new museums will open in St. Pete over the next two years, cementing its reputation as one of Florida’s cultural hot spots.

Here’s how a short trip to the ’Burg should look:

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A hot glass demo at the Duncan McClellan Gallery.

After a blissed-out day at the beach, head into town for a late-afternoon stroll through the dazzling collection of glass sculptures crafted by Dale Chihuly at the Chihuly Collection. Stock up on colorful wares at its gift shop, then hit nearby Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails for oysters and craft cocktails.

In the mood for something sweet? Grab a gourmet ice pop at The Hyppo, which boasts a staggering array of flavors from pumpkin cheesescake to pineapple cilantro. After the sun sets, savor a fresh catch at one of St. Pete’s fine restaurants; you can’t go wrong with the olive oil-seared grouper at FarmTable Cucina ($30). After dessert, shuffle on over to the historic St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club— known as the world’s largest club for the sport — for a few late-night matches.

Thanks to St. Pete’s laid-back yet imaginative spirit, there’s more art to check out the next day. More than 80 — and counting — eye-catching outdoor murals wrap buildings, walls and a main downtown intersection. “They create a sense of community,” says Derek Donnelly, a local talent behind a number of works. “I credit the art with helping turn around St. Pete.”

Donnelly helps promote the annual Shine St. Petersburg Mural Festival, which wrapped its third iteration last month and is gearing up the next one in the fall of 2018. Local, national and international street artists from as far away as Australia gather to create large-scale, open-air works over 10 days.

According to Donnelly, the best place to start a mural tour is the alley behind the stores on the 600 North block of downtown’s Central Avenue. The lane is so jammed with trippy wall tattoos — including several of his compositions featuring dinosaur and sea creature — that even the dumpsters are decorated.

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The Dali MuseumDana Hoff

Don’t forget a visit to St. Pete’s popular Dali Museum, ($24 for adults), which houses the largest collection of works by the mustachioed genius outside his native Spain. On a smaller scale, more than 75 galleries dot the town’s seven arts districts. In the Warehouse Arts District, don’t miss the astounding glass works at Duncan McClellan Gallery — or its romantic sculpture garden, or its hot shop demonstrations by a team of artists.

Best of all, St. Pete has much more creative capital in the pipeline.

The first outpost — the Imagine Museum, which centers on glass art — opens its doors in January. A repurposed school will exhibit pieces from 55 renowned glass artists, including Harvey Littleton and Marlene Rose.

The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art will also debut early next year. Occupying most of a city block, it will showcase works in oil, ink, stone and steel — evoking the frontier spirit and celebrating life in the wild. The works were collected over decades by Tom James, chairman emeritus of investment company Raymond James, and his wife Mary.

The biggest passion project of all is downtown’s $70 million Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, scheduled to open in spring 2019. The monumental building, designed by Cuban-born local architect Alberto Alfonso, is being purpose-built to display businessman Rudy Ciccarello’s extensive decorative arts collection.

With so much art on tap — as well as year-round sunshine and those irresistible white-sand beaches — it’s worth adding St. Pete to your vacation short list.

Where to eat and sleep

From landmark hotels to catch-of-the-day restaurants, St. Petersburg has the hospitality waterfront covered. Here’s a look at some local favorites:

  • Hotels
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Base yourself at Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach.HP

Active much? Take your pick of four sports at the historic Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club, which features 18 holes, tennis courts, a private 74-slip marina and two pools (from $264).

For a chic sleep, book a reservation at the 18-room Birchwood Inn. You can’t beat the elegant rooms with four-poster beds — or the spectacular rooftop lounge (from $310).

The Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach is about 40 minutes outside of downtown St. Pete but mere seconds from a spectacular beach. (Clearwater Beach, in fact, was rated the best in the country by TripAdvisor last year.) With a pool and a spa onsite, it’s easy to unwind here (from $174).

  • Food
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The Reading Room’s stylish staff.Partho

Cool and creative, the Reading Room serves delicious garden-inspired and wood-fired fare. Many of the herbs and vegetables are grown in the beds outside.

The seafood-centric menu changes daily at swanky Sea Salt, but the dishes are always fresh and succulent. Don’t miss the happy hour.

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Sunday, December 3rd, the moon will seem larger and brighter than it has all year.  A “super moon” apparently happens when the moon is full and is at the same time the closest to the Earth during its orbit so it seems brighter than usual.

The Super Moon will be here on December 3rd and is also call a “Full Cold Moon” as it is  the first full moon of December or winter. It should shine approximately 16 percent brighter and 7 percent larger than normal, according to National Geographic. Then we will have a full moon on January 2 and then again on January 31. So we will have a BLUE moon in January. A BLUE moon is when a full moon occurs twice in the same month, which is pretty rare. Usually, we have 12 full months per year but 2018 will have 14 full moons-the other will be March 31st. How cool is that?

Astronomers say that the best time to see the Super moon is in the early evening just as the moon is rising and in the early morning as it is setting. You can guess when I will be looking at the Super Moon.

 

Other moons have special names that have been around for thousands of years, each name reflects what time of year it is:

January is Wolf Moon is named after the sound of hungry wolves. Native Americans and medieval Europeans would recognize their howls as a sign of midwinter. So January 3rd will be a Wolf Super Moon & January 31st will be a Blue Super Moon. Awesome!

February is the Snow Moon. Obvious.  

April is the Pink Moon.  Northern Native Americans called it this because of the early blooming wildflowers. Nice.

September is the Harvest Moon-traditional time for gathering of crops.

November is the Beaver Moon. Algonquin tribes set beaver traps for the winter fur supply & keeping warm.

 

From the National Association of REALTORS® Commercial and Global Services:
“Your association’s Global Business Council has been named a Platinum Council in the 2017 Global Achievement Program. Reaching the Platinum award level places you in the top 11% of councils operating nationwide. Your council contributed to raising members’ awareness of global business in your local market. Your council has demonstrated the utmost commitment to helping members capture their share of the global real estate market in the United States, in addition to connecting your council and members to the global community in your area.”
We, the Pinellas International Council board would like to thank NAR, the Pinellas REALTOR® Organization (PRO), the Pinellas Realtor Affiliates, and all of the members of the Pinellas International Council for making this recognition possible!! Thank you all so much!! We will do our best to continue bringing Global education and events to our members.
2017-NAR-Global-Platinum (1) - Copy

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A few weeks ago, after attending a Pinellas International Council event, I stopped in at the Train Station. I have loved this building since moving to St Pete 11 years ago and am so happy that it is being used for such great things.

I absolutely love this quote from Keep St Pete Lit’s website, “Do you read? Do you write? Do you live in or around St. Petersburg? Well then, welcome to Keep St. Pete Lit, where we celebrate and promote the area’s literary community. Whether you’re a writer, a reader or just love the arts, we want you to help us Keep St. Pete Lit. Read and Write on, my friend!” I come from a family of writers, avid book readers, former book reps and bookstore managers. My biggest moving expense is always books & records!

Keep St. Pete Lit wants to instill a love of reading, writing and storytelling in all  generations in the Sunshine City but now has special programs for the younger generations. Keep St. Pete wants to help children find their creative gifts with a new week-long summer camp.

The organizers behind the camp want to ensure that this opportunity is open to all children and families interested. So Keep St. Pete Lit is offering two Creative Writing Summer Camp tuition-free for low income families at the Morean Center for Clay.

They’re accepting 15 students each week ages 9-12. To help cover the cost of teacher’s salaries, supplies and rent, KSPL launched an online fundraising campaign. So far, they’ve raised $745 of a total $3,000 goal. A $100 donation sponsors one child.

The first camp runs from July 17-21, the second runs from July 24-28 at the Morean Center for Clay (420 22nd Street South). The creative writing workshop sessions begin at 9:30am and end at 12:30pm each day. To learn more visit  http://keepstpetelit.org/

There is always a special kind of excitement in the weeks leading up to the race. Our city’s streets are turned into a 1.8 mile racetrack along the waterfront. The track has 14 turns and goes past the Dali Museum, Mahaffey Theatre, around Pioneer Park, along the waterfront past the St Petersburg Harbor & Marina and onto the runways of Albert Whitted Airport. The races include Verizon IndyCar Series, Pirelli World Challenge, Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks, Indy Lights & Pro Mazda. It has been fun to walk down the middle of the downtown city streets with partial track walls closing in on both streets. I have lived here for 11 years now & I still find all of this so cool.

People come from all over the world to see this race. Some watch from the track stands, others watch from their boats, and some watch from their condos balconies. Of course, it will also be shown on national TV. I will go into the grounds on Friday where one can see the cars up close & sometimes even meet the drivers before or after their practice & qualifying runs.  On Sunday, I will be on the top floor of my parents’ condo building watching with great glee as the race speeds past the building on 2 sides with 2 hairpin turns. Yes, it IS noisy but oh, so awesome!

You can purchase tickets & get more info at  http://gpstpete.com/  in advance or at the gate.

I am so excited. After a long 58 year break, the St Petersburg Yacht Club Habana Sailing Race has been re-instated this year. The fleet of boats left the St Petersburg harbor this morning at 10am and will sail 284 nautical miles to arrive at the Hemingway Marina in Havana on Thursday, March 2nd. On Saturday there will a Nautical Parade & the Torreon de la Chorrera Regatta to Morro Castle.

castillo-3

photo by Annalisa Weller July 2015

The Micara, a Cuban boat with all Cuban sailors, is among the 81 yachts & 550 sailors.

In 1929 George S. Gandy, Jr., a well known yachtsman and son of the builder of the first bridge across Tampa Bay, sailed his 36′ ketch Cynosure to Havana.  There he met with Commodore Rafael Posso of the Habana Yacht Club and the St. Petersburg-Habana yacht race was born.

The first race started off The Pier in St. Petersburg March 30, 1930 and finished at Morro Castle at the Habana harbor entrance. Eleven boats participated and was won by the schooner Haligonian owned by Houston Wall of Tampa.  The race was sailed over the same route from 1930 through 1959 with the exception of three years of World War II, when the race was cancelled, and 1958 when political conditions in Cuba required the fleet to go to Miami. The last race in 1959 race had 37 yachts participating.

Glad to see it back! Wishing you smooth sailing.

Grateful Dead-Themed Pub & Lounge has opened in St Petersburg, Florida. Grateful Fed is on the ground floor of Urban Style Flats at 300 10th Street South. For late night, the restaurant will be one of the first St Pete places to offer homemade food until 4am, but will deliver food until 5am. What? Now that could be really good. I know some pub-crawlers, students, swing shift employees & service workers from pubs, restaurants & bars who will definitely like that!

The idea for this is Sean Ford, former executive chef at Tryst. He saw the possible need for late night comfort and healthy food in the city’s downtown area. Serving burgers and wings but also some healthier things like red quinoa/grilled vegetable burrito with alfalfa sprouts, heirloom tomato and avocado. I notice that there is a Grateful Fed in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada too. I wonder if they are connected.

“The restaurant scene has expanded in St Pete, but not for late night workers or those wanting healthy delivery,” said Ford in a press release. “It’s nearly impossible to eat healthy after hours and no one delivers commissary.”

Grateful Fed also has a small store stocked with some snacks, toiletries and the like. The store will deliver until 5am. A full liquor bar will serve some signature cocktails and craft beers.

The Sunshine City bringing eclectic small business downtown. Go St Pete!!

Current hours:
Monday through Thursday: 4pm-4am
Saturday through Sunday: 12pm-4am
Delivery available until 5am Monday through Thursday, Saturday and Sunday

To learn more about the concept follow Grateful Fed on Facebook.

Tibetan monks with horns Florida CraftArt st petersburg

Sacred Art Tour of Tibetan Monks 2017

From January 31-February 5th, Florida CraftArt welcomes eight exiled Tibetan Buddhist Monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery in India who will create a Sacred World Peace Sand Mandala that was designed by the Dalai Lama and depicts all religions in harmony.

World Peace Sand Mandala

Saturday, February 4, 2017 10:00am
Creation of Mandala
Sunday, February 5, 2017 12:00pm
Finalization of Mandala
Sunday, February 5, 2017 1:00pm
Dissolution Ceremony

During the closing ceremony on Sunday, February 5 at 1 p.m., the monks will dismantle the mandala, sweeping up the colored sand to symbolize the impermanence of all phenomena. It is meant to be a teaching to show that everything that exists has a beginning, a middle and an end. Then monks will then lead a procession to Tampa Bay where they will deposit the sand and perform a Buddhist blessing.

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone – Saturday & Sunday 3pm

American Stage Theatre Company at Raymond James Theatre-163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg

August Wilson’s Century Cycle, owners of a boarding house play host to a makeshift family of people with connections to slavery. Some stay days, some longer. Through Feb. 26. $39-$49.

The Golden Ticket – Saturday

Coliseum-535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg

The 86th annual All Children’s Hospital Charity Ball features dinner, dancing and an auction. Benefits Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Starts at 6 or 6:30 p.m. $250.

Frida Kahlo at The Dali     through April 17th, 2017  http://thedali.org/   downtown waterfront of St Pete

This exhibits gives us some insight into the extraordinary career and life of the great 20th century Mexican artist. More than 60 Kahlo pieces are on display, including 15 paintings, seven drawings and numerous personal photographs from the celebrated female artist. The outdoor portion of the exhibition includes a special collection of flowers and plants representative of those in Kahlo’s own garden at Casa Azul. I have been lucky enough to visit her beloved Casa Azul in the Coyoacán district of Mexico City with a dear friend. I was in cielo (or heaven)!

 

The Tall Ship Lynx, a modern interpretation of an 1812 American privateer, is scheduled to sail into St. Pete on Wednesday morning where it has found a permanent winter home.

The 110-foot ship is expected to come under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge with full sails sometime around 10 a.m. It will then head into the Vinoy Basin/North Yacht Basin, do a four-gun salute and make her way to Harborage Marina where she will berth until the seasonal dock is finalized right next to the ferry. They plan is to begin opening the boat up to the public for tours, sailing trips, and corporate events this weekend.

Lynx – America’s Privateer Trailer HD    https://youtu.be/LNWdRGAAjfM

The idea of offering the Lynx a permanent berth first came up during then-Mayor Bill Foster’s administration. But the idea never seemed to gel until recently, said Greg Holden, chair of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. More recently, with the support of Council member Ed Montanari, Mayor Rick Kriseman, local businesses and others, the dream looks as if it might become reality.

“This is one of those five-year, overnight successes,” Holden said.

It’s an “amazing” opportunity for the city, he said. Having a tall ship in port is a draw for businesses and tourists. It’s also an attraction to help more people get out onto the water and to learn a bit of history.

The Lynx, he said, would harken back to the days of the Bounty, which was a reconstruction of the 1787 Royal Navy sailing ship HMS Bounty. The Bounty summered in New England and wintered in St. Pete, operating out of the Pier.

“There’s been an overwhelming amount of support” for having the Lynx use St. Petersburg as a permanent winter home, said Don Peacock, executive director of the Lynx Education Foundation. “We’re looking at this as a long-term program.”

The Lynx was built as a hands-on educational tool to teach American history. When she was in St. Petersburg last winter, Peacock said the crew worked with recreational centers in south St. Petersburg and with Admiral Farragut Academy. Kids from both sailed on the ship for a day while they learned how to sail her the way she was sailed in 1812 when the original Lynx went to sea.

“It’s all done by hand,” Peacock said.

Peacock said the Lynx would like to expand its outreach to more schools and recreational centers this year.

The Lynx and its educational programs are run by a non-partisan, nonprofit organization. The funding comes from donations and from the fees that corporations and members of the public pay to go on sails or to rent the Lynx for events.

The Lynx is an interpretation of an 1812 vessel of the same name that was one of the first privateers to take to the seas after the start of the War of 1812. A privateer was used to prey on British merchant vessels. Although the Lynx was designed like a privateer, she was outfitted for trade so she could help keep supply lines open for the Americans during the war. She was captured about a year into the war and saw service as a Royal Navy vessel called the Mosquidobit. In the late 1990s, the modern Lynx was built to the plans of the original.

http://tallshiplynx.com/history/     and Anne Lindberg at  http://saintpetersblog.com/tall-ship-lynx-dock-st-pete-permanently/

 

I think that is a wonderful event. I can only imagine what Halloween must be like for children with hearing impairments. Thank you so much for having the love, care and idea to put this together for these wonderful children. Happy Halloween to all children!
Impared kids

University throws Halloween party for children with hearing impairments. (KTRK)

Monday, October 31, 2016 05:07AM   http://abc13.com/society/halloween-for-hearing-impaired-kids/1581539/

A university in California threw a Halloween bash expressly for children with hearing impairments.

The Halloween Harvest Carnival had all the typical carnival events Saturday, including prizes, crafts and face-painting.

Hearing-impaired and deaf kids dressed up and went trick-or-treating at the party.

To make it easier for these children to participate in the events, all of the volunteers had studied American Sign Language, and the entertainment was focused on the visual.

“Most carnivals, deaf and hard of hearing do not have access to be able to communicate directly with the people that are running the booth,” said Bobbi Long of William Jessup University, told KTXL.

She said the idea of the carnival was to provide a space for hearing-impaired kids at Halloween that was geared toward their learning styles and abilities.

The father of two hearing-impaired children, Sean Kyles Jensen says his family often struggles to find events for their kids. He was enthusiastic about the university’s carnival.

“It’s something that really helps us not only get to know the community but also understand our own boys, and it allows our boys to express themselves,” Kyles Jensen said.

The party was the first of its kind organized by William Jessup University, but organizers say they hope to continue the event in future years.

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

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