Egmont Key Island State Park, St. Petersburg, Florida

A few weeks ago I posted photos of a trip to Fort DeSoto Park in Florida with my photo phriend Paula Showen. Our original intent was to hop a ferry there to Egmont Key, a small island just off the coast. However, the ferry wasn’t running that day. So, we returned a few weeks later and, by golly, hopped that ferry!

Some interesting facts about Egmont Key:

  • It was formed thousands of years ago from a river delta and stands at the mouth of Tampa Bay. Ships coming to Port of Tampa must pass Egmont Key then pass under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge before reaching the port. There is a harbor pilot station on the island for the incoming/outgoing ships.
  • Spanish explorers were the first Europeans to survey the island in 1757. It passed back and forth between Spain and England for a few years. During that time, it was named by the English for the Earl of Egmont in Ireland. It passed to the US in 1827.
  • There is no roadway to the island. You must take a private boat or ferry to reach it. Here’s our worthy vessel ($20 roundtrip per person) moored at the dock before we boarded:

Egmont Key Ferry BoatAnd moored at the beach on the island:

fort desoto ferry boat

  • The island stands at the mouth of Tampa Bay so all ships coming from the gulf to Port of Tampa must pass it. Because of its position, a lighthouse was built in 1847, which was destroyed in the Great Gale of 1848. Reportedly, the lighthouse keeper rode out the storm in a small boat tied to a palmetto. Afterward, he rowed to Fort Brooke in present-day Tampa and immediately resigned. A new lighthouse was built in 1858 and is operated by the Coast Guard today.
  • There is no entrance fee for Egmont Key. There are also no shops of any kind, so you have to bring your own food, water and such. It’s open from 8am to sunset each day.
  • Egmont Key was a camp for captured Seminoles who were then sent on to a reservation elsewhere. The island was occupied by the Union Navy in the Civil War during the blockade of the South.
  • In 1898, Fort Dade was built on Egmont Key because of the Spanish-American War. It was active until 1923. Today, there are many ruins of the Fort on the island. You can freely explore them; they make great photo opps:

ft dade egmont key ruins

Fort Dade ruins floridaOne of my favorite shots of Paula posing in a bunker:

Paula Showen Egmont Key

egmont key ruins rust anchor

  • A town was built near Fort Dade for the people serving the fort and soldiers. You can freely explore the ruins of the town as well. Here’s a surviving red brick street:

fort dade ruins egmontHere’s a topless building near the street I turned into a black and white: read more

Loveland, CO + Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Happy Father’s Day! For the occasion, I’ve included my favorite barbecue recipe you can pass along to Dad (or make for him) if he’s cooking out this weekend. It appears at the end of this post. Let me know how it turns out for you.

I’ve just returned from four glorious days in northern Colorado, affectionately known as NoCO. My husband and I were based out of Denver, but we managed to daytrip to some surrounding areas, including a smallish (pop. 67,000) town called Loveland. We met a woman who lives there and raved about it, so we decided to check it out. read more

Magnolia Terrace Tea Room, Weeki Wachee, Florida + Chai Tea Recipe

Recently a friend invited me to the Magnolia Terrace Tea Room in Weeki Wachee, Florida. She had never been there, but she had a Groupon and asked if I wanted to check it out with her. Sure! I grabbed my cooking buddy (we publish a cooking blog together) and we three set out to the tea room.

Of course, that’s not tea in the above photo; it’s our soup starter. But I wanted you to see the porcelain they served us in.

The tea room is located in a strip mall:

The owner, a very nice woman who looked about 60, has tried to dress it up with frilly tea things: read more

Car Show in Pasco County, Florida + Memorial Day Potato Salad Recipe

Happy Memorial Day! For the occasion, here are some photos of classic and modified American (and foreign) automobiles from a recent car show in Trinity, Florida. And for your Memorial Day cookout, I’ve included my famous potato salad recipe. Isn’t it great to be American?

Historic Lutz, FL, Train Station – and new subscription method!

Before we get to the train station photos:

I’m super-excited to announce a new subscription method for this blog! It’s a higher-tech system than the old one and will serve both me and you better. Look at the top of the sidebar on the right just beside this post and you’ll see the new subscription form.

Please fill out the form and subscribe via the new system, even if you already receive the posts or notifications in the old way. The old way will be discontinued soon, and I don’t want you to miss a single post. read more

Picking Blueberries in Hudson, Florida

Earlier this week I accepted an invitation to visit a blueberry farm in Hudson, Florida, and pick my own. It was my first time doing this, although it’s a popular draw this time of the year for many.

We visited Owen’s Blueberry Farm on a bright, warm, sunny morning. My friend, a repeat customer of the farm, explained that they did not use pesticides on the blueberries, something I was very impressed by. She said they use “cannons” to scare the birds away sometimes, so be prepared in case PTSD might be a problem. Fortunately, there were no cannons that day. read more

Orchids for Mother’s Day

First, happy Cinco de Mayo! Last week I posted photos of my tortilla endeavor. I’ve made them again since then and discovered something helpful. So click here to go directly to the updated information. In any case, don’t forget to make my sangria or guacamole as part of your Cinco celebrations.

Second, you may have noticed some changes to the blog’s appearance. I’m happy to announce I’ve made some major back-end changes, including a larger server with more bandwidth. Also, I’m using WordPress now, which is why it looks so different. read more

Antiques in the Smokies, Tennessee

posted in: Tennessee, USA | 0

Update (May 2016) : Many readers have asked about the name and location of the antique dealer whose pictures appear below. It’s Chip’s Antiques and Dixie Gas Show on Newport Highway in Sevierville, TN. Leave me a comment and let me know if you visit there and what you think of it.

Last month I told you about the wonderful Sweet P’s Barbeque and Soul House in Knoxville, Tennessee. This week I’m posting some photos from another place on that same trip, an antique dealer near Dandridge, TN. read more

Silver Springs State Park, Florida

posted in: Florida, USA | 0

Last week I announced that this blog would appear weekly once again, after a twice-monthly experiment that didn’t suit. This week I’m announcing that the post day will change from Wednesdays to Thursdays – starting this week! Now to the post:

There’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl. I could never tell you exactly where, but I’d read about glass bottom boats and the fantastical world they could reveal to us mere mortals. And after I’d experienced seeing through swim goggles and such, I knew the view on a glass bottom boat would be nothing short of magical. read more