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Sunken Gardens

Yesterday Lucy Lee Jones, a gardener in Hawaii, had a good post on Sunken Gardens, here in St. Pete. Actually, her brother, who lives here in Florida, provided the “guest post” with some beautiful pictures. It’s a beautiful and tranquil place near downtown St. Pete. Information on Sunken Gardens includes hours, admission, etc. The author bought an annual membership, which is $35 for a senior, or $50 for a family – and Sunken Gardens calls a family either adults and their same houshold children through the 12th grade, OR  two grandparents with their grandchildren. What a great idea! Membership includes not only free admission but invitations to special events, and also a reciprocal agreement with over 145 botanical gardens.

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St Petersburg College downtown arts complex

Lighting at St Pete College downtown Arts Center

The lobby of the new downtown arts complex of St Petersburg College was the venue for the pre-opening reception for the new Florida International Museum exhibit. Suspended in the dome of the lobby are a circle of contemporary shapes that remind me of dolphins. On cue, the lights come on and change colors (too fast a rotation for me, I’d like to enjoy each color for a few more seconds) – a contemporary touch for a contemporary exhibit from the Gulf Coast Museum, whose collection is now owned by St Petersburg College. This art and cultural center is also the new home for the American Stage Theater, whose first show there starts June 5th. It’s also home to the Florida Orchestra. Within walking distance is The Palladium which offers music, dance, theater and more.

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Florida International Museum reopens

Florida International Museum presents In a New Light

The Florida International Museum has reopened as part of the St Petersburg College Downtown Arts Cultural Center. Appropriately, the first exhibit comes from the Gulf Coast Museum of Art collection, which is also part of St Petersburg College‘s contribution to the arts. The current In a New Light exhibit is a juxtaposition of pottery, paintings, furniture and other comtemporary media. George, Tami and I were all invited guests to a pre-opening reception and preview on Friday night, and we each found things to enjoy. I was a Director of the Florida International Museum from its inception, from Treasures of the Czars in 1995 through the Vatican Splendors in 2008. It’s gratifying to see the museum continue under St Petersburg College which has created a magical synergy of the arts in downtown St Pete.

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Baywalk in downtown St Petersburg was foreclosed today.

Baywalk St Petersburg FloridaBaywalk retail complex in downtown St Petersburg was offered at auction today and Wells Fargo Bank has now foreclosed and owns Baywalk. Some of the original tenants are still operating, such as Gratzzi’s restaurant, Chico’s and Muvico, and others that came later such as Shapiro’s and Grill 121.

Baywalk was instrumental in the redevelopment of St. Petersburg and we owe a great deal to the original developers. We understand it’s the plan for Wells Fargo to redevelop the property and spruce it up before actively offering it for sale.

Fred Bullard took over ownership of the property early last fall, in hopes of renewing it himself – but, the renovation loan didn’t happen, so neither did the renovations. We’ll see how Wells Fargo does at turning it around.

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Enjoy a charitable weekend on St Pete Beach

Tradewinds Resort at St Pete Beach Florida

The Tradewinds Resort on St Pete Beach is offering a great special from November 21-29, 2008. You can stay there for $50 per night (75% off regular room rates) and $35 of that will be donated to All Children’s Hospital in downtown St Petersburg.  Ask for their”Give Thanks and Give Back” rate at their toll-free number 1-888-377-0026. What better way to donate to a great charity and enjoy a weekend on the Gulf of Mexico!

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Go Rays! On to the World Series.

Tropicana Field Celebrates Rays Win

Tropicana Field glowed as I drove by this morning on my pre-dawn trip to the Vinoy Fitness Center. Usually when the Rays win a baseball game, the fabric roof is illuminated in Tropicana orange. Never before, though, have I seen it still glowing in the morning – but never before have the Rays made it to the World Series. All of St Petersburg was celebrating the win!  Go Rays! Click on the photo to enlarge.

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Brazil this afternoon in St. Petersburg, Florida

St Petersburg has lots of cultural festivals, the most known being the annual SPIFFS International Folk Festival, which celebrates the culture, traditions and foods of many nations.

This afternoon is the Brasil Arts Festival at Nova 535 at Dr Martin Luther King St N, St Petersburg. This is their third annual festival and will feature the O Som do Jazz music group. Tampa’s Volta ao Mundo will present a demonstration of capoeira, which blends dance and martial arts.

While watching you can enjoy a caipirinha, a Brazilian cocktail made with cachaca, a rumlike liquor.

Visit David Manson and his Brazilian wife Andrea Moraes Manson and listen to some of the wonderful music. – there’s a selection of 18 sounds – perfect for a Sunday afternoon.

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Decorator Showhouse at 400 Beach

400 Beach is the site of this year’s fundraising Decorator Showhouse for the Florida Orchestra Guild. The show continues this weekend and you’ll be able to see two waterview condominiums, one on the 21st floor (offered at $1,790,000 unfurnished) and the other on the 26th floor ($2,475,000 unfurnished). The show runs through March 30th.

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Cafe Alma in downtown St Petersburg

Cafe AlmaCafe Alma is a restaurant we’ve enjoyed in downtown St Petersburg, both for lunch and for dinner. It’s on the basement level of McNulty Station. The food and service are enjoyable, and our only complaint is that sometimes it’s so noisy that you can’t hear others at your table (only at dinner has this happened). We’ve actually had people leave the group because of the noise.

Since 2002 this has been a popular restaurant that we’ve enjoyed and have recommended to our friends. Dwight and Catherine Watkins have now sold Cafe Alma and the new owners are Scott Vogel and Tony Harahan. Check out their website, which includes their menus, at www.CafeAlma.com.

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Museum of Fine Arts opens Hazel Hough wing

Museum of Fine Arts St PetersburgLast night Tami and I attended a member’s only reception for the new Hazel Hough wing of the Museum of Fine Arts. Tables of catered hors d’oeuvres lined the foyer, with its high wall of glass for views of the park and waterfront. There was a gala a month ago for those wanting “The First View”, but the art wasn’t displayed then, as it was last night. I particularly enjoyed some of the pieces done by students, which were displayed on the upper level. Read the rest of this entry »

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