June 2020 Birthday 1.0

Yes, indeedy, it’s someone’s birthday – mine! I always take off the week of my birthday, just because I can. We had made plans months ago……………..

We debated if we should cancel since we’re furloughed, but were going to lose our first night’s deposit anyway, so the decision was made. There was another thing making us reconsider our decision. These green, red, orange & yellow amoebas covering up a good deal of Florida.

Ugh – it’s going to rain (buckets, almost continually) again for the third year in a row early June. We could watch it rain at home or we could watch it rain in Crystal River. Crystal River won. We’re not taking the boat or any fishing stuff since that looks to be a washout. Calling on the drive over we discovered our room at Kings Bay Lodge would be ready soon, stopping for lunch took up most that time.

What better place to stop for lunch than Seafood Seller & Café – a local fan favorite.

We always start with the tomato chips. I don’t know why Eric doesn’t make them at home (hint, hint) but they are darn good (thinly sliced green tomatoes, cut in quarters before fried).

Seeing as we won’t be catching any seafood, everyone chose a seafood entre. Eric of course went for the crayfish while I went for a shrimp po-boy.

There’s a local brewery in this area (where isn’t there one – just saying) and we stopped by to kill some more time before checking-in. They do their brewing out back of their serving area.

We had a variety of beers between us and HAD to get a pretzel to soak up the liquid.

We finally made it to King’s Bay Lodge.

It’s another cute room for an efficiency at this old-time Florida motel. By this time we’ve stayed at a number of different rooms (they only have 20) and have probably slept in five different efficiencies – we’re still debating that number.

We found an Irish pub for dinner and had way too much bar food. Oysters, fish dip and sandwiches were ordered. It will probably not be a repeat. Ideally, we would have been eating seafood we caught on the boat, if they weather had cooperated.

Sunday morning dawned cloudy and rainy. 😦 It was no surprise so we had planned on driving (south) to Tarpon Springs for Greek food. A local had recommended Mama’s as a place that locals visited. We tried it out.

Naturally we had to start with the flaming cheese. Oom pah!

Followed by a platter of seafood specialities: (Top, clockwise) fried smelt, grilled octopus and fried calamari.

On top of that, we all ordered entres, with myself going for the chicken souvlaki and Eric & Adrienne choosing a traditional gyro meal.

See a theme……………we’re ordering waaaaaaay too much food.

For those not aware, Tarpon Springs was settled early on by Greek immigrants and their expertise was needed for the developing sponge industry. Yes, we can grow sponges in the Gulf waters of Florida. They’re proud of their heritage and images abound representing the sponge diving industry.

Tarpon Springs sits along the Anclote River and you can easily see the sponge vessels along the waterfront. We saw several boats with nets full of sponges ready for processing.

Where else would you buy a sponge, except at the Spongerama!

We have purchased sponges in the past and use them regularly. This was Adrienne’s first time visiting Tarpon Springs.

She was listening intently to the benefits and care of your natural sponge. Spoiler Alert – they’re not cheap.

Before leaving the area, we made a short visit to several of their local breweries. The first stop was at Five Branches and was literally across from our restaurant. They are owned by members (and friends) from the five branches of the Armed Services. Not sure if you can tell, but underneath our craft beer are pennies – hundreds and hundreds of pennies that were placed meticulously for their bar countertop. Brews in order L to R, Forsythia, Windtalker and Blue Falcon.

Before leaving Tarpon Springs we stopped at the Silverking Brewery Co. Love, love, love their logo. Yes, Eric came home with a hat and yes, another growler was added to our collection.

Just as important, their brews went well with our last purchase………….

That’s right, baklava! How can you stop at Tarpon Springs with their focus on Greek customs and foods and not pick some up? We were convinced (okay, really it was me) to purchase a (8 x 8) pan of baklava for the dollars we were going to spend individually, Baklava is great for breakfast – just saying.

Ginny

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