Florida Update  

BransonLuvFest 51M/51F
84 posts
2/21/2006 7:22 am

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Florida Update

Our visit with Mrs. BLF's folks is going pretty well. We've spent most of the past few days hanging out by their pool. Her mother is an excellent cook and we have over-indulged in some very good meals. There have been a few moments of tense conversation, but we all knew that was going to happen. Some issues needed to be addressed in order to repair the relationships.

We've had two absolutely perfect days of weather and today is the second overcast and cooler day. Of course, here on the coast, that can change. The clouds could burn off as the day progresses.

Mrs. BLF's folks took us to their neighborhood watering hole on Saturday night. It's a great little joint with a very impressive selection of German beers and wines from all over the world. They also have a good cigar humidor. The place is called Got Wine & Cigars, and it is located near downtown Dunedin. They have live music a few nights/week and an outdoor biergarten type of patio setup as well as the indoor bar and the store. It's a very casual place populated by very friendly, fun folks from the neighborhood. But that "neighborhood bar" thing feels cliqueish to some people. If you go there, be prepared for everyone to know each other already and mingle...introduce yourself. They're all pretty friendly, warm, and non-judgmental. There were gay and straight couples and singles there between the ages of thirty and sixty. And customers are encouraged to bring their pets on a leash. The owners are an American and a German. Very nice people who know what they are doing. They work hard to makes sure everyone feels comfortable, is well taken care of, and has a good time. A LOT of German is spoken in the place, but everyone also speaks good English. We chose a Chilean red wine and drank a half dozen bottles among six of us. It was very easy to drink, but a bit dry for my taste. Complimentary olives and peanuts are provided as snacks.

But the real "prize" of Dunedin is the Dunedin Fish Market down on the wharf! This is one of the best fresh seafood retail markets I have ever seen anywhere in the world. The quality of seafood is fabulous and the selection is excellent for the region. The owner is an absolute expert in the field of seafood. And prices are very reasonable. We've been eating a LOT of their seafood since our arrival. The highlight was the Scamp (high end Grouper).

If you ever visit the Clearwater area and you have not visited Dunedin, you are really missing out. The town is quaint by FL standards. And they work hard to maintain their small town ambiance. It is a real throwback to a different era in Florida...a time which was not dominated by beachfront high-rises and art decco-inspired architecture. Traffic congestion and Hooters give way in Dunedin to folks walking the streets and beaches and small, family-owned establishments. It is also a very cosmopolitan environment, with a surprisingly high number of European residents. So, if you're looking to avoid the Florida "rat race" the next time you're in the area, hop over to Dunedin and enjoy FL at a different pace.

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