St. Petersburgh Florida

by Michael Tolman

It was my dream ever since I was a little kid to visit Florida. I grew up in London, England and most vacations were trips back to the old country to visit family in Dublin, Ireland. Long car rides to the ferry terminal on the west coast of England or Wales, followed by long ferry rides into Dún Laoghaire and endless summer days playing street games with neighborhood kids, until we were all called in for our tea. It sounds idyllic, but whenever I got back to school, the stories always seemed less perfect held up against the thrill of trans-Atlantic travel, sun and Disney!

As soon as I was married, my young bride and I, booked a fly-drive vacation in Florida. We spent a week in a fabulous motel in Kissimmee, Florida, traveling to and from the nearby Disney theme parks and soaking up the atmosphere as young tourists!

The second week of our Florida vacation, my wife decided that she wanted some downtime and relaxation. She had had enough of early morning risings and standing in line for rides, she wasn’t that crazy about to begin with. If the first week had been all about me, the second was supposed to be all about her! I kind of ruined her plans, by having an even better time in the second week as well!

On a recommendation from our travel agent in London, we drove over to St Petersburg, in the Pinellas County, on the Gulf coast of Florida, and booked into the Tradewinds Island Grand Hotel. It came in within our budget at under $200 per night, and once they heard that we were newlyweds, they upgraded us to a larger room. That was the first of many unexpected treats of our five-night stay! Having only every holidayed in the UK, I was not prepared for the beauty of this Florida beach which sat right outside the back of the hotel.

The sand was perfect and white and led right to the nearby clear blue waters. As tempted as we were by the steady supply of daiquiris round the pool of the hotel, it was hard to resist wandering down to the water for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico. What a treat!

One of the other great things about the Tradewinds Hotel is that they’ve obviously listened to previous guests and changed the way they deal with their guests and hotel extras. All those little additions to the bill such as parking, in-room wi-fi access, entry to the fitness center and more, have been bundled together into a single room charge of $25. We couldn’t get over how reasonable this was especially when we discovered it included a cute little cabana on the beach, just for the two of us!

All in all, we loved our time in St Petersburg and we are already planning to return and try out some of the other Florida beaches. We may even skip the theme parks completely, on our next visit

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