Day #6 – Down Memory Lane

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Once we had finished with the beach pictures, we went back to the hotel and got Chuck. We then walked in the direction of the bay area to the Marina Cantina for dinner. We chose to sit inside because of the humidity outside and the nice air conditioning inside. They also have a big outdoor seating area if that’s your preference.

They had a wide selection of Mexican and non-Mexican dishes. I had the carne asada dinner and Chuck had the shrimp and scallop ajillo. We also got a side of crispy Brussel sprouts to share with the table. All the food was excellent, but the portions were large. The service was very fast and friendly.

After the short walk back, we called it a night. Chuck and I sat out on the balcony watching the lights of Clearwater come on.

We were up at 7:00 this morning and I felt like I was back to my old self. About 10:00, we drove over to Dunedin to visit Nana and Grandad’s house. Lisa has been wanting to visit ever since she started reading some of Grandad’s journals. Dunedin had certainly grown since we last visited in the 1970’s. I kind of held my breath as I wasn’t sure what kind of condition the house or neighborhood would be in. We had such good times there so I hoped we wouldn’t find it in disarray.

We were pleased to see that the house and yard looked well kept. We could see that the house had undergone renovation – new roof line, new color, new landscaping, expanded driveway, etc. Some of the surrounding houses did look somewhat run-down, others looked nice. The road was no longer a dead-end and the orange / grapefruit orchard was gone. The street had speed bumps installed.

We asked a woman walking her dog if she knew the owners or if she remembered our grandparents (long shot) but she did not. However, a woman from a couple of houses down walked over. She said her name was Margie, she was 72, and she said she had lived in her house since 1960. She did remember them if only vaguely. She told us about the current owners and how the neighborhood and Dunedin had changed over the years. It was nice to be able to talk with her.

We took some pictures and then headed for our next stop – Dunedin beach where they used to take us in the evenings every once in a while to feed the gulls. We never remembered swimming there. They always took us to Clearwater Beach for swimming. I do remember Grandad taking us to fish at least once off of the bridge near the beach.

We entered Dunedin Beach in the GPS and were surprised to find that it led us to Honeymoon Island State Park. The area looked familiar but neither one of us remembered a state park. Oh well, we were here, and it looked as good as any place to feed gulls.

Our first stop after paying the $8.00 entrance fee was the Visitor Center/Gift shop. It was very nice. Had some interesting displays of the area, a movie playing about their efforts to help the sea turtles who nested on the beach, lots of gift items, and very clean restrooms.

I bought a Christmas ornament and we happened to mention Dunedin beach to one of the two Visitor Center volunteers. He said we were in the right place. He said the state bought the land in 1978 from the private landowner to keep the owner from building high rises on it. Once the state developed some trails, put in some amenities like pavilions and paved parking, and cleared some more area for more beach, it was ready for the public. I’m glad it was a state park. I would have been disappointed to see high rises. You see enough of those in Clearwater.

The Visitor Center had a wrap-around deck, so we walked behind the Center to look at the oyster bar where a lot of birds had gathered. Brian spotted three fins in the shallow water. We debated on whether they were dolphins or sharks. They never made the undulating movement like dolphins and floating birds scattered any time the fins got near so we think they were sharks.

Our next stop was the farthest beach out. There were several people on the beach near the parking lot, but the crowd got sparser as we walked down the beach. We found a spot away from others to feed the gulls. It was just like I remembered – feed a few and the rest will come. Fun times.

We also did see some dolphins in the distance. They put on quite a show. I was never able to capture their antics, but they would breach and spin. We watched them for quite a while. I also liked watching all the sandpipers running on the beach.

I would have liked to have walked a couple of the trails, but it was getting close to 1:00 and we were getting hungry. We drove back into Dunedin and stopped at Frenchy’s Outpost bar and grill. I had a bowl full of peel and eat shrimp and a cup of she crab soup. Great food. Good service. Seemed to be a popular place.

Once we got back to the hotel, we decided to wander over to the Pier 60. If you want to walk all the way out, you have to pay $1.00 each. It costs more if you want to fish. There were several people fishing. Only saw a few people catching anything.

One guy accidentally snagged a gull that had tried to snatch his bait. From the signs that were posted, apparently snagging a bird happens quite a bit off of the pier. He did everything right. He got the bird, grabbed his pliers, and took the hook out of the beak. The bird then flew away. I hope he remembers not to grab bait that is flying through the air again. We also saw a number of pelicans and one large crane that were waiting for the perfect moment to snatch a caught fish.

Two guys said that they saw a manatee floating by earlier. Brian spotted a nose that was poking out of the water. Never got close enough to the pier to see the whole body but it definitely could have been a manatee.

We spent a while there until it started to sprinkle. Time to head back to the hotel.

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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