This week we are visiting Tarpon Springs, a historic Greek community built by the sponge industry, Dunedin and its popular causeway, pleasant downtown and historic microbrewery, and Clearwater, one of the best beaches of the Sun Coast of Florida.
We begin our trip by driving to the northernmost point of Pinellas County, and the Sun Coast for that matter: Tarpon Springs. A great number of Greek immigrants arrived to the area during the 1890’s to work on the emerging sponge industry, thus today it has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the United States. It is known as the sponge capital of the world because of its beginnings.
In the historic downtown we encounter one of the main landmarks here: the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Completed in 1943, the cathedral replaced a church from 1907. It was built with marble from Greece, Czechoslovakian chandeliers and it has 23 stained glass windows.
Next we go to the historic sponge docks, to find something to eat.
The Sponge Docks is the area where the sponge industry originally began and helped build this Greek community. It is nowadays very commercialized and touristy with places like the Spongeorama. We eat at the famous Hellas Restaurant and Bakery, family owned since 1970.
Out next point of interest is Wall Springs Park. In the 1920 the park and the natural spring used to be a health spa known as Health Springs. There’s an observation tower and the park is overall a nice relaxing place with Spanish moss draped trees and a boardwalk, but there’s nothing really unique about it.
Next we continue towards the City of Dunedin. First we stop by the Dunedin Causeway, which takes you to Honeymoon Island State Park. It seems to be a nice place, where what seems to be mostly locals, come to relax, fish, paddleboard, or just chill by the beach.
In Dunedin propper we encounter the Pinellas Trail which goes through downtown, and goes all the way from Tarpon Springs to Saint Petersburg. The city stands out for its unobstructed views of the Intercoastal Waterway, which we’ll see soon enough, and for the absence of any chain stores or franchise restaurants. Everything seems to be local, which is a good thing. There’s also Florida’s oldest craft microbrewery, established in 1995. Yeah, way before craft beer was popular. It is called, appropriately enough, Dunedin Brewery.
Our final stop is Clearwater, which is supposed to be one of the finest beaches in Florida, so we’re dying to check it out. Too bad we forgot to bring our bathing suits. We are going to get there just in time for the sunset, and apparently they have some kind of sunset celebration like they do in Ft. Myers, and Key West. It is called Sunsets at Pier 60 Daily Festival. They do have street performers and friendly pelicans.
I hope you enjoy this week’s video and see you on the road!