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Messages - TBTourist

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Hotels and Motels / Embassy Suites at USF
« on: February 28, 2011, 11:49:55 PM »
It's not often that we stay in a local hotel in Tampa, but we did this past weekend.  I was at a charity event a few months ago and I bid on a 2 night weekend stay.  Quite frankly, I was just bidding it up a little on the silent auction and I ended up getting it.  However, it was worth every penny.  It's part of the Hilton Hotels and the people that work there are simply wonderful.  They will meet your every need with a smile and a polite attitude. 

We went there to have a change of scenery and to get away from our computers for a couple days.  It was fun to simply lay around and watch TV and relax for once.  The heated pool wasn't warm enough for us Floridians to swim in February, but the "snowbirds" visiting from the northern states seemed to enjoy it.  We were going to get into the outdoor jacuzzi, but there were too many kids, so we decided to skip it. 

Each room in the hotel is an actual suite with a sitting room, sofa bed, 2 flat screen TVs, wet bar, refrigerator, microwave and a separate bedroom with a door that closes to separate the two sleeping areas.  The only thing missing was a jacuzzi tub, which we really missed having in a suite.  Every other suite we've ever stayed in has had one.  The only other bad thing was that they wanted us to pay $10 per 24 hour period for internet access, and I think that's a bit ridiculous and definitely too high of a price. 

The best part was a free breakfast buffet every morning that featured cooked to order eggs and omelets.  Even better was the free mixed drinks, wine and beer every evening plus snacks to munch on.  We didn't miss that opportunity both days, that's for sure!   

The Embassy Suites Hotel is located at the University of South Florida campus and it's a mile from Busch Gardens.  There are also several other Tampa locations.  Check out the hotel we stayed at directly at the long link below.,THFKH4XMN23OYCSGBJNMVCQ

Click the photos to make them larger. 

Restaurants and Reviews / Shephard's on Clearwater Beach
« on: February 28, 2011, 11:27:26 PM »
Shephard's Beach Resort on Clearwater Beach is a great place to spend the day and the night!  They have an awesome buffet for your dining pleasure and there are two nightclubs at night where you can dance the night away.

They also have a Tiki Bar outside with bands and a beach where hundreds of people gather for the beautiful Florida sunshine.  On holiday weekends, many boats drop their anchor and those people join the party. 

You can also book a room and spend the night, so check out their website for more information.

Click the photos to make them larger.

Restaurants and Reviews / Bonefish Grill
« on: February 28, 2011, 11:19:02 PM »
Have you ever been to Bonefish Grill?  It's a national chain and I had never been there until recently.  I love fish, but my wife does not, so her choices were limited.  But, we enjoyed it and we recommend it highly. 

Visit their website for more information:

Click the photo to make it larger.

Restaurants and Reviews / The Cheesecake Factory
« on: February 28, 2011, 11:09:56 PM »
If you've ever been to The Cheesecake Factory, then you know that the cheesecake is simply wonderful.  They also have full meals and in my opinion, the prices are a bit high.  However, you receive high quality food and you get what you pay for. 

Check out their website at:

Click the photo to make it larger.  This one is located at International Plaza Mall in Tampa near the Tampa International airport. 

Bars and Clubs / Re: Club BIGGIE Nights on Saturdays at Comfort Inn Suites
« on: February 28, 2011, 11:00:47 PM »
Well, I'm sorry to say that this BBW has ended because of health problems for the lady that runs it.

Beaches / Re: Sand Key Beach in Clearwater
« on: February 28, 2011, 10:57:50 PM »
Here's another view of Sand Key Beach... this is what it looks like at sunset in February. 

Click the photo to make it larger. 

------ Strange floating 'blob' found off Florida ------

 SARASOTA, Fla. - Scientists say an underwater blob of
 goo off the Florida Panhandle coast isn't oil, but
 rather a mass of dead plankton, algae and bacteria.
 The underwater mass of dead sea life, at least three
 feet thick and spanning 2/3 of a mile off to the coast,
 appears to be growing as microscopic algae and bacteria
 get trapped in it and die, the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-
 Tribune reported Wednesday. Scientists investigating
 whether oil from last year's Deepwater Horizon disaster
 was a factor in the creation of the blob say tests so
 far have found no sign of oil. "It seems to be a combi-
 nation of algae and bacteria," David Hollander of the
 University of South Florida said, describing the sub-
 stance as toxic and "extraordinarily sticky." Research-
 ers say they are not ruling out a possible connection
 to the oil spill that gummed up that part of the gulf
 for 30 to 40 days and pumped 186 million to 227 million
 gallons of crude into the ocean. "We don't know all the
 ramifications, the implications of a spill like this,"
 Hollander said.

Tampa Bay Entertainment and Attractions / Re: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
« on: January 31, 2011, 01:08:12 PM »
For the 2010 season the Buccaneers ended up with a record of 10 wins and 6 losses.  That was a huge improvement over the 2009 season and the 2011 season promises to be even better.  I think we're going to own the NFC South division despite Atlanta and New Orleans. 

We missed being a WildCard Playoff Team by one game I think.  If a couple of teams could have lost on the last regular season game, then we would have made the playoffs as a WildCard. 

This year's Florida Strawberry Festival is scheduled for March 3rd through the 13th, 2011 so mark your calendars!  The link for more information is in the first post and photos from last year are in the second post.  Don't miss the Strawberry Shortcake!!!

Tampa Bay Entertainment and Attractions / Re: The Florida State Fair
« on: January 28, 2011, 04:58:51 PM »
It's almost time for the annual Florida State Fair again!  This year's dates are Thursday Feb. 10th through Monday Feb. 21st, 2011.

The Florida State Fair happens every February and it's happening right now this week.  We usually go every year just for the fair food, LOL!  Discount tickets are in available in advance at SweetBay Supermarkets, and you save a couple bucks over the ticket price at the gate.  

It's like any other state fair around the country, although I think the Ohio State Fair is bigger.  I attended that fair for decades.

The link to their website is below.

Update:  We went on Sat. Feb. 13th for the afternoon and I took a few photos that are displayed below.  Click the picture to make it larger.  It was a beautiful blue-sky day but it was chilly!  It was barely over 50 degrees and by 5pm it was under 50.  It was a long walk for several hours but the Fair Food was good, as always!

Tampa Bay Entertainment and Attractions / Re: Gasparilla Pirate Festival
« on: January 28, 2011, 04:54:36 PM »
It's been a year, so it's time for Gasparilla again!  The Pirate Invasion happens again tomorrow, Jan. 29th.

The Gasparilla Pirate Festival happens each year, usually in January.  They have a children's parade the week before the main event and people think it's great fun!  We went a couple years ago, so photos from that day are below.  Click the image to make it larger and here's a link to all of the information.

New Florida museum has largest Dali collection outside Spain

The Dali Museum just opened on January 11th and everybody thinks the new building is simply fabulous!  The design of the building is as unique as Dali's art, so it really reflects the quality of his work. 

Some princess or queen or duchess of Spain showed up for the Grand Opening, so read more about it at the link below.

General Discussion / Happy New Year!
« on: January 02, 2011, 07:57:40 PM »
Here's to hoping you and yours have a safe, prosperous and happy New Year in 2011!

I personally have a huge amount of hope for this year!  I started a new job a couple weeks ago and I have two other better possibilities in my sights as well.  I've been job hunting for 18 months and all of a sudden I have a few choices. 

Well, praise God Almighty for that!

The NFL has "blacked out" all of our local home games from being televised on our local TV stations because the games aren't sold out for each home game.  Everybody thinks it sucks, but I found a website that you can view the games with streaming video online.  The commercials are in a foreign language that I don't recognize, but that's OK.  The game on Fox is broadcast with the announcers talking in English like normal.

See for yourself at:

Day Trips, Weekends and More! / Funny but true map of Florida
« on: December 03, 2010, 12:18:26 PM »
Finally, a true map of Florida that explains this weird, but wonderful state. Those of you who live in Florida will recognize it, and those who don't have been warned !!!

You know you're a Floridian if....
Socks are only for bowling.
You never use an umbrella because the rain will be over in five minutes.
A good parking place has nothing to do with distance from the store, but everything to do with shade.
Your winter coat is made of denim.
You can tell the difference between fire ant bites and mosquito bites.
You're younger than thirty but some of your friends are over 65.
Anything under 70 degrees is chilly.
You've driven through Yeehaw Junction.
You know that no other grocery store can compare to Publix. 
Every other house in your neighborhood had blue roofs in 2004-2005.
You know that anything under a Category 3 just isn't worth waking up for.

You dread love bug season.

You are on a first name basis with the Hurricane list. They aren't Hurricane Charley or Hurricane Frances. You know them as Andrew, Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne & Wilma...Irene...Cheryl...Rita Mary..Alison.

You know what a snowbird is and when they'll leave.

You think a six-foot alligator is actually pretty average.
'Down South' means Key West.

Flip-flops are everyday wear. Shoes are for business meetings and church, but you HAVE worn flip flops to church before.

You have a drawer full of bathing suits, and one sweatshirt.

You get annoyed at the tourists who feed seagulls.

A mountain is any hill 100 feet above sea level.

You know the four seasons really are: Hurricane season, love bug season, tourist season and summer.   
You've hosted a hurricane party.

You can pronounce Okeechobee, Kissimmee, Withlacoochee, Thonotosassa and Micanopy.

You understand why it's better to have a friend with a boat, than have a boat yourself.

You were 25 when you first met someone who couldn't swim.

You've worn shorts and used the A/C on Christmas and New Years.

You recognize Miami-Dade as ' Northern Cuba '.

You not only forward this but you understand it.

(Click the map below to make it larger.)

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