Shortcake or Biscuit? Foods to Love at the FL Strawberry Festival

Strawberry Shortcake Booth at the FL Strawberry Festival - a must visit if you're in Central Florida in March!

Shortcake or biscuit?

Visit the Florida Strawberry Festival and you’ll be asked this question at least once (twice or three times if you’re doing it right). Personally, I’m a shortcake kind of gal but I’m no biscuit hater.

The Florida Strawberry Festival takes place in Plant City every March, overwhelming the small town for a little over a week. Parking is difficult, traffic can be intense, but for the shortcake, I power through.

The festival is 90% fair and about 10% strawberry, but that 10% is tasty and worth driving for. Each year I load up on strawberry flavored goodies and, always up for a challenge, this year I was prepared to sample more than ever before. The post-festival strawberry food baby was, as always, completely worth it. The festival continues through the end of this weekend, so read up on my favorite treats and then sample for yourself. Continue reading “Shortcake or Biscuit? Foods to Love at the FL Strawberry Festival”

Photo Essay: Chasing Florida Beach Sunsets

“There is a sunrise and a sunset every day and you can choose to be there for it. You can put yourself in the way of beauty.”
– from the film “Wild”

There’s one thing I try not to miss whenever I’m at the beach: the sunset. Beach days are, for me, usually just that — days. I wake up early, make the trip, and reluctantly leave at the day’s end. But I can always justify staying an extra 20 minutes for that feeling of peace and calm I get watching the sun dip down below the horizon.

A sunset sail on Anna Maria Island, FL
Anna Maria Island sunset sail
Beach sunsets on Anna Maria Island and Siesta Key, FL
Anna Maria Island and Siesta Key, FL

Sunsets (and occasionally sunrises, although I much prefer sleeping in) are one of my favorite things about visiting the beach. Like having an ice cream cone, watching the sunset at the end of the day is one of those things that, if missed, makes a beach trip feel somehow incomplete. Continue reading “Photo Essay: Chasing Florida Beach Sunsets”

Day Trip Guide: Dunedin, FL

Since moving to Central Florida in 2012, day trips have sort of become my jam. Living in a state where people regularly come for their yearly vacations means an endless supply of things to do, and I’m making a commitment to explore more this year and in the future. Day trip guides feature locations accessible in 2.5 hours or less that are small enough to be enjoyed in just one day.

dunedin-fl-day-trip-guide

The Basics

If you’re looking for a great spot to explore on foot, enjoy the arts, prefer local eats over chain restaurants, and like cities that are full of character and big on community, Dunedin may be just the place for you.

Dunedin, FL is a small city in the Tampa Bay area with Scottish roots (Dunedin comes from the Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland). It’s home to Florida’s oldest craft brewery, a popular Mardi Gras celebration, Honeymoon Island State Park, and a vibrant arts community. Coming from Orlando, plan for a 2 hour drive each way. Continue reading “Day Trip Guide: Dunedin, FL”

There’s Something About Dunedin

The more I explore the sunshine state, the more I realize I really, really love small towns. I actively seek out places that feel inviting, are small enough to explore on foot, and – ok – have at least one really great spot for an ice cream cone.

Funny then, that in my multiple past visits to Dunedin, I never ventured past the Dunedin Brewery and nearby 7venth Sun Brewing Company. (Turns out afternoons are easily lost when eating delicious food and sampling 3 too many craft brews.)

Dunedin, FL: A colorful, artsy city in the gulf coast of Florida that makes the perfect day trip

While the brewery scene is lively and worth experiencing, I knew this town had more to offer, so it was time for another visit. Continue reading “There’s Something About Dunedin”

There’s Gators on the Path Up There

“There’s gators on the path up there, if you want to get some good pictures.”

Aside from the guy we spotted off the path wearing mid-calf boots and poking the ground with what appeared to be a stick* (coincidentally after just having had a conversation about how this path might be a bit scary to walk alone because strange people are everywhere), this was the first person my mom and I had come across on our hike. He’d walked into my photo just as I was about to press the shutter and, noticing my camera, let us know what was ahead.

PaynesPrairie_February2016_009

Gators were the reason we’d come to Paynes Prairie Preserve in the first place – you’re guaranteed to see them on the La Chua trail. However, we didn’t expect to see them on our current path. The description of the Bolen Bluff Trail on our map had only read: “2.5 miles round trip. Named after a family of pioneers, this trail is a shady loop with a spur to a wildlife viewing platform. If lucky, observe the wild Spanish horses or the bison herd.” Continue reading “There’s Gators on the Path Up There”