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
1707 1st Street, Bradenton, FL
Written by: Tom Noe
Located at the intersection of North Tampa Street and East Kennedy Boulevard, Solstice is a twenty-eight foot metal sculpture created by Charles Perry. I always think it looks like it is about to unravel or roll away. I can definitely picture some mad scientist harnessing lightning with it to open a rift to a dimension full of goblins or something. Could this have been Perry’s plan all along? Placing it in a place like Tampa known for its frequent thunderstorms? I can almost see the goblins now climbing up the sides of the surrounding skyscrapers, cackling and stealing babies. I really should pay more attention to traffic.
I like the flow and the symmetry of the piece. It is rumored to be named Solstice because it casts a perfectly circular shadow on the solstice. That seems harmless enough.
See list of public art in Tampa
Simmons Park has some great views across Tampa Bay. There are tables and shelters throughout offering places to sit in the breeze and watch the boats go by. There are numerous coves and mangroves as well. Along the edge there are breaks in the trees to get down next to the water and look for fiddler crabs, horseshoe crabs, or fish. Beware of sharp oysters! Every time I go exploring, I see something interesting. There are osprey nests there. I even saw raccoons once. Another time I was able to get close to some pelicans. Another time I saw dolphins! Of course, sometimes I don’t go exploring because it is also a great place to pull my folding chair out of the trunk onto the grass and read (or write) a book.
Simmons Park has a boat ramp, RV parking, two campgrounds, two playgrounds, and a small beach. Shelters can be reserved for large parties. Many people go there to fish or catch snails. It seems there is something there for everybody.
2401 19th Ave NW, Ruskin, Florida
When I have business in the area, I like to walk through the William F. Poe plaza to look at the plants, fountain, and architecture. There are many semi-secluded nooks at different levels connected by stairs. I don’t usually stop, but others do, sitting on benches or at tables outside the café. There is also a covered footbridge overhead connecting the bank and the leasing company. This area is mostly in shade and surrounded by trees. It always makes a nice place to spend one’s lunch break.
What I did not know until recently is how much Tampa history is connected to the place. It was the starting point of the 1909 auto race from Tampa to Jacksonville. Later in 1980, a forgotten Seminole-War-era cemetery was discovered during construction of an adjacent building. Finally, the plaza was built and named after the former mayor Bill Poe.
The plaza is located between East Jackson Street and East Whiting Street and between North Tampa Street and South Florida Avenue.
When in Sarasota, my husband and I sometimes like to visit Bayfront Park on Bayfront Drive. The famous statue of the sailor kissing the nurse is there. On the peninsula that creates the cove sheltering the marina is this very nice little park. Walkways meander under large trees and, along the way, many benches encourage people to sit and enjoy the view.
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
Pinellas Heritage Village is just that – an entire village of houses built between 1850s and the 1910s all around Pinellas County and carried there in the 70s and 80s. Most of them you can now go inside and see what they were like. They often have interesting artifacts laid out and two of the houses have docent tours. They tell you in detail how people used to live and what all the artifacts do.
LOVES TAMPA BAY