The Leepa - Rattner Museum is a small and delightful museum of modern and contemporary art. It is located on the Tarpon Springs campus of St. Petersburg College. Besides their permanent collection they have many temporary gallery shows. We enjoyed our time visiting and will become a frequent visitor. The staff and docents were friendly and knowledgeable. We were surprised about the variety of the art and the enjoyment we had being there.
The museum views itself as a support to the local community by helping people learn and appreciate art, create their own art, and display the art. We talked with several college students who were studying art work for one of their classes. The museum had several displays of local art from people from all ages and abilities. It has a variety of interactive art experiences.
600 East Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs, Florida
Written by: Tom Noe
We recently had breakfast at Johnny Grits and our taste buds matched what was in our dreams when we visited their website. Their mission is quality and southern. They put a gourmet twist on their food with all foods fresh and made on the site. We had a very friendly waiter and noticed the staff interaction with regulars. They had developed friendships with their customers. The whole place had a friendly vibe. But it's about the food and they delivered. Here are pictures of our breakfast
We did not try the grits yet, but we will. We will be back. There are about 20 combinations of grits. They started out as a breakfast and lunch restaurant but now are open for dinner Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Please don't tell anyone about the place, it is our little secret. Ok you can tell your best friends. This place is local and it is better than the national chains. When we eat here we keep the money local. They even opened a place in New Port Richey. They must be doing something right.
857 East Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs, Florida
Written by: Tom Noe
Syd Entel Galleries and Susan Benjamin Glass has been located in Safety Harbor for over 35 years. They feature art from the finest artists both nationally and internationally. Every time I visit they have a new special exhibit. The glass art has a special attraction for me. It is one of the best glass art galleries in the area.
The staff is very friendly and helpful. Susan is proud of the galleries and the artists they represent. Besides selling artwork they also do custom framing. I will visit them again because several pieces of art glass keep calling me. I will buy them and bring them to their new home.
247 Main Street, Safety Harbor, Florida
Written by: Tom Noe
Tre Amici at The Bunker in Ybor City is a cozy coffee shop with both indoor and outdoor seating that also happens to have wine, cookies, and great Cuban sandwiches that couldn’t possibly be improved on any more without making them Italian (I happen to really like Italian sandwiches, but Cubans are good, too). The walls often have the artwork of local artists on them, the collection changed every month or so. In contrast, this alien machinery appears permanent:
Tre Amici is a very community-oriented place and will likely host your meeting or post information about your event. The building has a long history of community involvement even before the current owners, having been a hangout for veterans and before that, cigar rollers. Being in Ybor City (part of Tampa), it is surrounded by interesting places to visit, including theaters, galleries, and restaurants. That way, you won’t have to go far from your afternoon entertainment to find your afternoon coffee.
1907 19th street north, Tampa, Florida
Written by Daniel Noe, WayOutLife.com
Little Manatee River State Park in Wimauma, Florida has two entrances. North of the river directly off 301 is a 6.5 mile trail loop and primitive camping site. South of the river is where the main campground, playground, picnic areas, and more trails are. I have been many times and I usually visit the north.
Shortly after entering the woods, the trail splits. To the left it runs along a part of the river, sometimes overlooking it from high banks, other times running through boggy areas. This is where I have seen snakes, large turtles, centipedes, beautiful spiders, and many sweet flowers. To the right the trail runs through a dry area with several open places covered by either grass or palmetto. This is where I have seen birds, dragonflies, and a dead tree swarmed by dozens of bees. Once when visiting the south side of the river, I saw two bobcats in a tree! Even in the winter, I always find some animal life – even if it is only a distant vulture.
Even though I have been before, it seems I am always finding new things I never noticed before, such as trees with unique twists in them, single charred trees while nothing around them is burned, and trees in various states of decay. The last time I went, I saw a hollow stump I had never before noticed. Only the bark remained, greatly resembling puff pastry. I also saw several trees with swollen balls on their branches – and not all in the same part of the trail. Are they truly new? Or by noticing one was my mind primed to notice the others? I was also noticing the odd shapes of large flakes of wood scattered everywhere. What goes on when I’m not there?
215 Lightfoot Road, Wimauma, Florida
Written By Daniel Noe, WayOutLife.com
What is this place? I was curious about the name, so I turned around and went back to check it out. It is a depository of wonderful things, full of potential, waiting to be repurposed into something unique and beautiful.
Inside the store I found old windows, stained glass, iron grills, glass door knobs, old light fixtures, and many other things. The store employs skilled craftsmen to transform these finds into one-of-a-kind objects for a home. You won't find common or ordinary decor here.
Unfinished wood slabs of various sizes lined the walls. They come from dead or toppled trees (several unusual types of wood),and many have unique patterns from weathering. Some still had bark on the edges. Most of these become tables, and the establishment has a person who welds custom legs for them. The woman running the store enthusiastically showed us how the various slabs would finish up by rubbing them with a damp cloth to bring out the color and grain. Select a piece, and they will finish and deliver the table you have chosen. Perhaps a coffee table for us? This is a treasure trove of possibilities.
903 S. Pinellas Avenue, Tarpon Springs, Florida
Written by Lucy Noe
After a tough day of exploring the mangroves of Weedon Island (actually a peninsula) for crabs and birds to photograph, I needed somewhere to eat. Noble Crust looked as good a place as any. Their tagline is: Seasonal Italian Southern Soul. I asked what this meant and was told that they make Italian-style meals sometimes using ingredients from the southern USA. It is seasonal because they use local, fresh ingredients that are in season, and therefore have to mix up the menu every few months. That sounded good enough to me.
I love mushrooms, so I settled on ordering the mushroom pizza to share. It was amazing. Each slice actually got better as I ate it. The pizza was made with a thin crust cooked just short of burnt (the way I like my toast) and covered with mozzarella, parsley, and giant chunks of soft, juicy mushrooms. The only thing that could have made it better was red pepper flakes (which they provided).
Afterwards, I ordered something I don’t remember the name of because my eyes stopped on the word Nutella and wouldn’t move after that. What I got was sweet hazelnut madness. It had ice cream, cookies, hazelnuts, and was covered with Nutella.
8300 Fourth Street N, Saint Petersburg, Florida
Written by Daniel Noe, ChampionOfTheGalaxy.com
It’s hard to know where to begin on this one. There are trails and boardwalks. In some places, the boardwalks stretch quite a distance in nearly straight lines while all around is green. It is only from the observation tower that I was able to see Saint Petersburg, Tampa, and all the way across the bay to the Big Bend power station just peeking above the treetops. The boardwalks lead to several observation platforms that jut out over lagoons where birds feed. Some are completely enclosed by mangroves. Others are open to Tampa Bay only by narrow straights. There is only one extreme corner of one platform in the park the picture below could have been taken from. If the photograph had better resolution, you would be able to see all the way to Apollo Beach.
The day we were there was one of those perfect Florida winter days. It was breezy, and not too hot or too cold. The water was another story. It took a minute or two for our feet to get used to it. We set up our folding chairs by the water and took a little walk to the south end where we watched boats of various kinds going in and out through the breach way. We went back to our chairs and watched the waves for a while – just basking in the beauty of it all – just listening to the calming surf and calls of the shore birds.
Written by Lucy Noe
I often visit the Camp Bayou Nature Preserve Park in Ruskin, Florida to walk the trails in hope of seeing some snakes or unusual insects, but this time I went when the fossil exhibits were open (Saturday 9-2). Florida has very few fossils from earlier than the Pleistocene, when there were giant pigs and Megalodon sharks, so the Velociraptor skull they have had to be brought in from elsewhere. Everywhere there are bits and pieces that used to be inside alligators, crocodiles, horses, llamas, and mammoths. On the floor was a mammoth tusk that probably weighs more than I do. There are original bones, mineralized bones, and resin casts. There are also many mollusks and echinoderms represented, as well as agatized coral, Florida’s official state fossil and stone. It was sad to hear that the places where most of these items came from were closed years ago and no longer looking for volunteers. It was fun, interesting, and informative.
The park has many trails, a butterfly garden, and an outdoor Seminole village exhibit. It has a miniature, outdoor, self-service library. In past visits, I have seen snakes, turtles, armadillos, and very many birds. This time, I just took a quick walk. The palmetto around rustles very loudly with the slightest movement. What I thought was a prehistoric pig crashing through the undergrowth turned out to just be a squirrel. I also saw an osprey in a tree and we stared at each other until I got bored. There is always something to see there.
Written by Daniel Noe, ChampionOfTheGalaxy.com
LOVES TAMPA BAY