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Tryst Gastro Lounge recognized by UrbanSpoon for great fine dining in Tampa Bay

Beach Drive downtown St Petersburg with Tryst Gastro Lounge and ALVA International, Inc real estate brokers

Tryst Gastro Lounge on Beach Drive

Congratulations to Tryst, our next door neighbor on Beach Drive in downtown St Petersburg, and one of our favorite places to eat and drink. UrbanSpoon recently named Tryst as one of America’s 250 most popular high-end restaurants and was one of only four named in Tampa Bay – in the company of long-time favorites Bern’s Steak House and Mise-en-Place, both in Tampa. It’s especially significant since Tryst is the only selected restaurant in St Petersburg and it’s been open less than a year! Here’s another Tryst review with food photos. Open Table reviews that rate it 4-5 stars mark it great for outdoor dining, fit for foodies and a vibrant bar scene.

Inside or out it’s a great setting. Tryst’s inside/outside bar is a popular place to meet and greet, to see and be seen. Each of us on the Simms Team has our own list of favorite dishes at Tryst. Our only regret is that Tryst is no longer open for lunch on weekdays – since they do more business between midnight and 3 am. We understand, but miss our daily lunches there.

Outside seating at Tryst Gastro Lounge

Enjoy drinks at Tryst Gastro Lounge on Beach Drive

When you’re in downtown St Pete, stop at Tryst across from the Museum of Fine Arts.  It’s located at 240 Beach Drive NE, right next to ALVA International, Inc., the real estate agents under the Red Awning. Be sure to call The Simms Teamfor all your real estate needs.

Great Beach Drive location for Tryst

Renaud greets Beach Drive walkers

Outside Bar at Tryst on Beach Drive

Outside bar at Tryst

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St Pete one of top 10 US cities for Cycling

Pinellas Trail

Along the Pinellas Trail


St Petersburg has been named one of the top 10 cities for cycling in the United States. St Pete has relatively flat terrain and cycling infrastructure that includes 35 miles of bike trails and 75 miles of on-street bike lanes. The Pinellas Trail extends 47 miles from downtown St Petersburg to Tarpon Springs along an abandoned railroad right of way, through parks and along coastal areas and waterways.


A bike sharing program is set to launch in St Petersburg on July 4, 2012. It will start with 500 bikes.  There are several bicycle clubs in St Petersburg for those preferring groups and scheduled rides.

See Huffington Post article on St Petersburg as one of the 10 best American cities for cycling .


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French and Creignou to represent United States in 2012 Paralympics

Congratulations to Jen French and Jean Paul Breignou, both from St Petersburg, who will be representing the United States in sailing in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Jen is a Salty Sister at the St Petersburg Yacht Club.

Jen suffered a spinal cord injury in a snowboarding accident and needs to be lifted into the sailboat by a harness; Jean Paul is blind. Together they make a formidable team.


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Find the Fun in Pinellas County

Find the Fun in Pinellas County app

Find the Fun is a new iPhone app for finding active things to do in Pinellas County. You can use the GPS to find things around where you are or you can enter a zip code or city. The app tells you what’s happening, where it is, if there’s a cost and even if its pet friendly so you can bring your dog along. This isn’t about events, it’s about activities – from The Pinellas Trail (all 34 miles of it) to golf courses. It also tells you where you can find produce and markets. Speaking of that – it’s Saturday Morning Market time today from 9 to 2 in downtown St Petersburg.

If you don’t have an iPhone, you can get the information at www.findthefunnow.com


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Hampton Inn and Suites in downtown St Petersburg

 The Hampton Inn and Suites in downtown St Petersburg has just had a $500,000 renovation. It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 8 years since it opened. The 91 room hotel had a change in management as well. As of January 1st, Highpointe Hotel Corp is the new manager.

Since St Petersburg is an Arts City, they have commissioned glass blown art works. The goal of the lobby renovation was to make it more social. This is a common theme in hotel lobbies now, as evidenced by the Renaissance Vinoy lobby renovation this past year. Hotel guests no longer want to be secluded away in their rooms; they want to bring their laptops to common areas and interact with other guests. If Starbucks  and coffee shops are the Third Place, perhaps hotel lobbies are the Fourth Place.

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ASPEC attracts residents to St Petersburg

 ASPEC attracts residents to St Petersburg. The Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College offers involvement, community, continuous learning and fun. Many members come because they know other people here, some have read about it, some just happen on it. 

ASPEC has over 40 different interest groups, most of which meet weekly. Topics cover the arts, literature, business, science, languages, politics, performing arts, photography, computers, culture and lifestyle. These groups are led by members and everyone contributes. 

ASPEC has lots of fun, too, from weekly social hours to monthly dinners out, from lunches to trips to area museums and theater presentations, from card games to waterfront sailing, from foreign films to holiday events. Some ASPEC members are famous, others are not. The common denominator to me is that these are interesting people who have led interesting lives and they are willing to share. 

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Saturday Morning Market or Gasparilla Invasion and Parade?

 It’s Saturday morning in St Petersburg and as usual, you have lots of choices of what to do. Today is the annual Gasparilla Pirate Invasion in Tampa (11:30 – 1:00) and Parade (2-5:30). Lots of boats, crowds of people, more beads than you can count. For those who don’t want quite that much excitement, there’s the Saturday Morning Market in the Al Lang Stadium Parking Lot in downtown St Petersburg. Open from 9-2 the market features fresh produce, prepared foods, music, plants, crafts, jewelry and more. Even dogs are welcome at the Saturday Morning Market (yes, St Pete is dog friendly) as long as they are well behaved and on a short leash. After the market, enjoy a beverage in one of the many sidewalk cafes along Beach Drive.

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EC-SAR Eckerd College Search and Rescue Team

 EC-SAR, the Eckerd College Search and Rescue Team is one of the most respected rescue organizations on the west coast of Florida. They are known to many boaters, since they get more than 500 rescue calls per year, but too few people know that they work closely with the US Coast Guard, 911 medical response and other state and local agencies. Due to their location, they are often the first responders to a disaster. In 1980 EC-SAR found national prominence when they were one of the first rescue units to the Skyway Bridge disaster.

EC-SAR is a unique curriculum program at Eckerd that I don’t think is duplicated at any other college. Students go through very rigorous training in boating safety, navigation, seamanship, rescue, fire fighting, and more. The students who staff EC-SAR are dedicated professionals. They utilize four rescue boats and have an operations and communication center that is staffed 24/7. Last fall they celebrated 40 years of service, saving lives.

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Golf course communities in St Petersburg Florida

 Looking for golf course communities in St Petersburg Florida? 

If you’re looking for a “traditional” golf course community that’s gated and has a private course inside the gate, consider Pasadena Yacht and Country Club. Like most of these golf courses, you can join the club even if you live outside the neighborhood. Though not officially in St Petersburg, many people would also choose the Bayou Club in Largo.

You may like living on the Vinoy golf course on Snell Isle. It’s not a gated community and the private golf course winds through the Snell Isle neighborhood. The course is actually owned by the Renaissance Vinoy Resort and can be used by hotel guests or by members of The Vinoy Club.  Another private golf course intersperced in a neighborhood is St Petersburg Country Club, formerly known as Lakewood. Isla del Sol Yacht and Country Club is in the center of an island, which is ringed with condominiums.

Feather Sound Country Club in the Feather Sound neighborhood is another course that is just outside of official St Petersburg. The golf course winds through the ungated neighborhood.

Another choice is to live somewhere else and join one of the club above, or play on one of the St Petersburg public golf courses, Mangrove Bay or Twin Brooks.

St Petersburg is one of the few places where you can be in a community with both golf and waterfront properties. Contact The Simms Team for more information on homes in golf course communities.

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St Petersburg and Dog Parks

St Petersburg loves dogs

 St Petersburg was named the top city in Florida and 7th in the United States for dog parks. Several of my posts have talked about how dog friendly downtown St Petersburg is. The dog parks are located in various parts of the city: North Shore Park, Crescent Lake, Kenwood, Coquina Key, Walter Fuller and Lake Vista. 

The Trust for Public Land surveyed cities with at least 100,000 people and found 569 off-leash dog parks. Six of these are in St. Pete.  Dog parks are the fastest growing type of new public parks. The number of dog parks nationally has risen 34% in the last 5 years.

This information is taken from Mayor Foster’s Weekly Forecast dated January 13, 2012.


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