Dogfriendly.com recently released a list of its top ten dog-friendly vacation spots. We didnt make the list. I dont understand. St. Petersburg indeed, the whole Tampa Bay area is a paradise for dog lovers.
Dont they know about our many, many dog-friendly dining options? Heres just a small sampling.
What about the summer-full of dog-friendly events baseball games, dog swim day, costume parties, dog washes ? And during the year, we have the dog-friendly Saturday market, Fort DeSoto and other dog parks and dog beaches, yappy hours, and year-round (well except for August) fabulous weather? What are they looking for, anyhow?
Oh, I get it. Maybe the person who came up with the list lives here and is suggesting places we can go for vacation with our dogs. Well, here are the cities Dogfriendly.com came up with:
Cape Cod, Mass.
Black Hills, S.D.
St. Augustine, Fla.
Carmel / Monterey, Calif.
Colorado Springs Colo.
Bar Harbor / Acadia Maine
Virginia City, Nev.
Sedona / Grand Canyon, Ariz.
Honorable mentions went to Amarillo, Texas; Medora, N.D.; Outer Banks, N.C.; Santa Fe, N.M.; and Yellowstone / Grand Teton, Wyo.
I heartily endorse the selection of Black Hills, SD. Stay at Anises BnB4Pets. It is wonderful. Visit the Badlands and hike with your dog. Its close enough that you could add on a visit to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Be forewarned, though. National Parks are not entirely dog-friendly. Many, including Yellowstone, severely restrict where dogs may walk, even on leash. If you're near Yellowstone, don't miss the dog-friendly and luxurious Chico Hot Springs Resort.
Write in with your favorite dog-friendly vacation spots!
The annual Dog Swim Day at St. Petersburgs Fossil Park Pool is so popular that theyve added a third session for this years event on August 28! Last year, Jana and Wylie had to wait more than half an hour for their turn to swim.
Fossil Park Pool hosts this annual soggy dog event a the end of each summer, the day before the pool is emptied, cleaned out, and closed for the season. People are not permitted to swim with their pets, but most of the accompanying humans get plenty wet anyhow.
Leash-free dogs can jump into the deep end, splash around the kiddie pool, or hang out near the steps where they might feel safer. At last years event, Jana learned to climb out using the ladder. Wylie belly-flopped in chasing tennis balls. Jana happily rounded up the toys that were floating everywhere. Other dogs on site seemed to be having just as much fun. We even witnessed a sibling reunion three adolescent Labrador littermates met up for the first time since leaving the nest.
Volunteers at the event collect monetary donations and dry Iams or Science Diet dog food, clean towels, Nylabones, bleach, dish soap, blankets, trash bags and newspapers for the S.P.C.A. Tampa Bay in Largo.
The number of dogs allowed in the water at a time is limited, so get there early or you'll have to wait outside until some tired, waterlogged dogs leave. Swim sessions are Saturday, August 28 at 9 a.m. 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. 12:30 p.m., and 1 p.m. 2 p.m. Admission is $5 per dog per session, with humans admitted for free.
Dogs must be at least six months old and have proof of current vaccinations. Humans are asked to sign a waiver and to fill out a registration form.
Fossil Park Pool is at 6739 Martin Luther King Jr. St. in St. Petersburg. For more information, call the Aquatics Department at 727-892-5884.
Now that Memorial Day has kicked off a summer of fun, dont forget your best friend.
Our all-time favorite spot to cool off and enjoy the best of life in Florida is the award-winning Fort De Soto dog beach. Fort De Soto's Paw Playground is separated into large-dog and small-dog fenced yards, plus there's a beautiful stretch of beach where dogs can run off leash. The Paw Playground has a rinsing and cooling station where you can wash the sand and salt water off of your dog and give him a drink of fresh water. Please be considerate and pick up after your pet bags are available in the Paw Playground and on the dog beach. Remember that dogs must be on leashes everywhere in the park except the fenced area and in the marked section of the dog beach. Rangers do patrol and ticket violators! Our dogs enjoy rolling in the sand, watching the occasional dolphins cavorting in the bay, and chasing balls and floating toys into the water.
[Editor's Note: For more on the beaches, check out our full Summer Guide 2010 coverage.]
They certainly got the name right. Pinky's Ice Cream and Candy Shop, a small strip-mall storefront in Indian Rocks Beach, is a retro explosion of color and sweets the type of place that lives as legend in the beach tales of thousands of family vacationers (especially the young ones). The shelves along the walls are loaded with all manner of sugary treats you name it, it's probably in here somewhere and almost all of it is somehow pink. There are even flamingos crammed into every corner of the store.
[Editor's Note: For more on the beaches, check out our full Summer Guide 2010 coverage.]
Lighthouse Donuts 215 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach, 727-517-8722, facebook.com/lighthouse-donuts. CL food critic Brian Ries said it best: "The pillowy-soft texture is nigh perfect... the cake-style donuts are even better. They look, and taste, loved. You'll love 'em when you eat them, too." They've even got great coffee. Sit inside the historic home that now houses the bakery, soak up sun on the outdoor patio, or drive-thru for a quick donut fix.
Summer Guide 2010 coverage.]
The Indian Rocks/Belleair Beach/Redington area is a gently curving beach corridor that connects Clearwater Beach to the north with Treasure Island and St. Pete Beach to the south. Subdivided into several unique communities, there's more to this area than hotels and tourists though the latter can be said to be the lifeblood of the businesses.
Indian Rocks Beach serves as a central hub for this string of neighborhoods, with the largest cluster of bars, restaurants and businesses concentrated here. This is partially because of geography: a significant stretch of Gulf Boulevard is situated on a narrow strip of land running through these neighborhoods, which doesn't allow for much development. But a lack of businesses can also be by design, which is the case in Belleair Beach, an entirely residential community just south of Clearwater Beach that does not allow commercial development.
Though I left my post as operations and producing manager at The Patel Conservatory two years ago, I retained a responsibility that has proved to be a highlight of my time there: I am charged with recruiting over 100 financial-need students for full scholarships to Patel's summer performing arts programming, up to three weeks of camp or one 10-week class.
The Access Arts Scholarship program morphed out of a program called the Community Arts Ensemble, started by Fred Johnson years ago before the Patel Conservatory was even a glint in the eye of the former Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center (now the Straz Center for the Performing Arts). The Community Arts Ensemble (CAE) was a free program for the first 200 community members to sign up. Period. It was a hugely successful program and brought 200 community members into the building every summer people who may not have had the opportunity to do so had the program not been in place.
Lots of sweat, heavy breathing, a final desperate surge to finish followed by the sweet release that leaves you in a euphoric state of bliss...
Everyone's doing it.
The youngin's are doing it,
old people are doing it.
You can do it alone or with a group.
Heck even Hugh Heffner's doing it.
Yes everyone is doing it, everyone is Running. Gees, what did you think I was talking about? Perverts.
Although, while your minds are all in the gutter it does pose an interesting question: Is Running better than Sex? Numerous research studies have been preformed heralding the health benefits of running, this shouldthis article from Running Times for instance; "A Harvard University study found that athletes in their 40s and 60s had the same amount of sex as non-athletes 20 years younger. And it gets better. Men who run are better able to achieve and maintain an erection, and women who run have an easier time getting aroused and experience more intense orgasms. Anyone feel like a double?"
Canada.com reports running can make you a sex god. Seems our neighbors on top know a good thing when the see it.
But what else is so great about running that would make you choose an afternoon hill repeat over a steamy sack session you ask? Ever heard of Runner's High? To break it down for you, imagine that euphoric feeling you get after a good roll in the hay when you're looped up in La-la-land and 50% more likely to utter the words "I love you too" without thinking about the resulting consequences of such a statement. Following me here? Well imagine feeling like that for an extended period of time. Imagine if you will, feeling like that during and long after the deed has been done. Can you handle it? If you were a runner you could.
So let's lay it out here:
So is running better than sex? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on who you're asking, but there's no denying that if you run you're going to have better sex so what are you waiting for? Get out there and RUN!
Are you moving into a new apartment this fall and contemplating a new shade for your bedroom wall? Are you looking for a fun summer color to rev up your dining room? Why not try the new Freshair Choice paints, a new green line of paint that contains no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the paint or in the colorant.
According to their website,
Last month, while we were visiting New York City, a proclamation was read in St. Petersburg Town Hall appointing me the citys first poet laureate. Our quiet town has become a city of writers, the proclamation said, and oddly enough this no longer sounds humorous. Governments in general prefer their writers dead, so the times they are a-changing. Tampa has had a fine poet laureate, James Tokley, since 1996, and its time St. Pete caught up.
When Jeanne and I moved to St. Petersburg in 1966 to start the Writing Workshop at Florida Presbyterian, now Eckerd, College the only writer from here I was aware of was Jack Kerouac, drinking himself to a lonely death in a plain house on 10th Avenue North; and wed drive by it once in a while as an act of homage. We had some friends in common with the old beatnik notably the writer Richard Hill, now also gone but never met. Back then, the city wasnt very fond of him (and still isnt, apparently).
Our NY revels, and past vacation disasters, after the break.