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» Tierra Verde
Last Updated: April 26, 2011
Fort De Soto Park, the largest park in the Pinellas County park system, is located in Tierra Verde (FL) at the mouth of Tampa Bay on the Gulf of Mexico and consists of 1,136 acres made up of five interconnected islands (keys).
The largest island is Mullet Key, where the Quartermaster Storehouse Museum is located.
Battery Laidley was the primary defense and Battery Bigelow was the secondary defense for Fort De Soto. Even though Battery Bigelow was destroyed during the hurricane of 1921, the Fort De Soto batteries were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Visitors can walk through Battery Laidley, home to the last four surviving carriage-mounted 12-inch seacoast mortars in the continental United States.
In the 1990s, historical interpretation was provided to park visitors with the creation of the display room, room descriptions, and a history booklet, about Battery Laidley. Visitors thought the battery comprised the entire post, not realizing that there were 29 wooden buildings and structures as part of the former military post. Construction of the Fort De Soto gun batteries and various post buildings began in 1898 and continued through 1907. The Quartermaster Storehouse building was originally built as a Post Exchange. The army post remained active until 1910. A caretaking detachment was left in charge of the post. During the 1920s and 1930s, hurricanes hit the area, damaging the buildings. The post buildings were sold for salvage and torn down in 1939.
With the reconstruction of the post’s brick roads and cornerstones of the post buildings in the mid-1990s, the historical trail leads park visitors from Battery Laidley to the locations of former post buildings. Park staff, volunteers, and visitors discussed the reconstruction of one or more of these buildings. The concept became a reality in 1999 when the Friends of Fort De Soto, Inc., a citizen support organization, applied for and received a matching grant from the state Historical Museums Grants-in-Aid Program for museum exhibits.
Using historical photographs, Army engineering condition reports, and government documents, the architect worked diligently to duplicate the size, scale, and massing of the original Quartermaster Storehouse building. The reconstructed 833-square-foot wooden building was built entirely by park staff. The head carpenter acted as the site contractor and the park’s mason laid the brick footers. Employees worked to install the cedar shakes on the roof, while others painted the exterior of the building.
At first glimpse, inside the museum, visitors see the post’s quartermaster surrounded by supplies he would have issued to the soldiers. Wall panels reveal the earliest history from the 16th century when Spanish conquistadors encountered the Tocobaga Indians in the Tampa Bay area and several panels on the Spanish-American War and its impact on the Tampa Bay area.
The wall panels are complemented by a touch-screen computer program with information, images, narration, and historical film clips. Visitors can learn about the earliest area history to present day information on the Friends of Fort De Soto, nature trails, and other park features. Three display cases contain Spanish-American War items, recovered artifacts from the park, and World War II military history, including an original practice bomb from the Mullet Key Bombing Range that was found in the park. A porch scene provides a glimpse of daily life with a woman’s dress, a deck of playing cards, a rattlesnake skin, and other items from the early 1900s period. The largest wall panel is a combination of three photographs showing the post buildings. Since most park visitors are unfamiliar with the army’s coast artillery corps, one wall panel provides the history, photographs of soldiers in uniform, and contains patches and pins. The museum officially opened on Veteran’s Day – November 11, 2000.
With this historical addition to Fort De Soto Park, the County hopes to spotlight the historical significance that Fort De Soto played in the history of the United States.
Fort De Soto Park’s Quartermaster Storehouse Museum project received a meritorious award in the category of non-residential restoration/rehabilitation from The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation during the 2001 Annual Statewide Preservation awards program held in Jacksonville on May 19, 2001.
A place of historical significance . . . in Paradise Found!
ABOUT FORT DE SOTO PARK:
The Park is home to beach plants, mangroves, wetlands, palm hammocks, hardwoods and scores of native plants. Each of these species plays a vital role in the preservation and protection of the natural environment.
Whether you are sitting on the beach or kayaking near the still water’s edge at Fort De Soto, you find yourself absorbed in the abundance of natural beauty for as far as the eye can see. The complexity of the ecology is not immediately apparent, but the park offers the greatest diversity of systems just about anywhere. Emerging from the wealth of bird life, sea life, wild life and plant life is the majestic tapestry called Fort De Soto.
Another amazing example of the importance of the park’s natural ecosystems is the more than 290 species of birds that have been documented by ornithologists. The beach also provides refuge to the loggerhead sea turtle, which nests between April and September.
Fort De Soto was named America’s Top Beach for 2009-10 by TripAdvisor, the world’s largest online travel community. In 2005, “Dr. Beach,” named Fort De Soto the nation’s #1 Beach. Annual park attendance averages more than 2.7 million visitors. Click here to learn more about upcoming Fort De Soto Park events.
Fort De Soto Park
3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, FL 33715
Park Office (727) 552-1862
Automated Information Message: (727) 582-2267
FREE ADMISSION! (Donations accepted.)
CREDITS: www.PinellasCounty.org. 4/24/11.
Last Updated: July 19, 2010
Pinellas County Beaches
An unspoiled, beautiful part of life . . .
. . . in Paradise Found!
Pinellas County maintains three major parks along the Gulf Coast. Fort De Soto Park, located in Tierra Verde, at the south end of the county, is one of the largest county parks in the State of Florida, with over seven miles of shoreline.
Sand Key Park, located in central Pinellas County, has almost a half mile of beachfront. Howard Park is a gem located on the Gulf of Mexico in the northern reaches of the county in Tarpon Springs. These parks offer a list of amenities that include picnicking facilities, fishing opportunities and other items of interest to residents and tourists alike.
In addition to these major beach park facilities, Pinellas County has six beach access parks, including Indian Rocks, Tiki Gardens/Indian Shores, Redington Shores, Madeira Beach, Treasure Island, and St. Pete Beach. These beach access parks expand public access, and include restroom and shower facilities. Pinellas County beach access parks are used by almost eight million visitors each year.
There are several fabulous links on the official Fort De Soto Park website, including virtual tour views, a beach access guide and beach finder, a beach and shell guide, a birding checklist for Fort De Soto Park, a Google Earth tour of Pinellas County Beaches, and a water quality guide. This information is also available from the Pinellas County and Visitor’s Bureau websites, too. Helpful links provided below.
Two state parks in Pinellas County, Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island, provide almost five miles of direct access to the Gulf of Mexico. Honeymoon Island State Park is accessible by car, while pristine Caladesi Island State Park is easily reached by modestly priced public ferry that departs several times per day from Honeymoon Island State Park. Amenities and ample public parking is available within the grounds of Honeymoon Island State Park for both facilities.
In addition to the parks mentioned above, several important municipal parks provide direct beach access, amenities and public parking as well. St. Pete Beach’s Pass-A-Grille and Upham Beaches, Treasure Island’s four city-operated beach access parks, Madeira Beach’s Archibald Park and Clearwater’s North and South Beach Parks are examples of municipally operated beach access facilities.
In Pinellas County, beach access is provided at 31 parks and 135 public easements providing well over 12,000 parking spaces available to the public.
Pinellas County continues to recognize the need for expanding the publicly available beach access points and the desirability of providing properly designed and aesthetically pleasing walkovers. The joint efforts on the part of Pinellas County, the State of Florida, our local beach municipalities and the tremendous citizen volunteer efforts employed in our dune replanting, continue to make our beach access expansion and enhancement program a resounding success.
About Pinellas County Beaches
Occupying a peninsula along the Gulf Coast in the heart of west central Florida, Pinellas County is the second smallest county in the state, containing less than 281 square miles. While small in total area, Pinellas enjoys a long coastline along the Gulf Coast, providing over 35 miles of fine white sandy beaches stretching from Tarpon Springs to Fort De Soto.
With over 3,150 people per square mile, Pinellas County today is by far the most densely populated county in the State of Florida and is second only to Atlanta Georgia’s Fulton County, in the southeastern United States. Large numbers of residents are attracted to the county’s mild sub-tropical climate and strong economy. In 1996, over 4.1 million overnight visitors came to Pinellas County from around the state, the nation and throughout the world. To support the growing needs of our expanding residential population and the large number of visitors drawn to our area, enhancing our beaches, the county’s greatest asset, is vitally important to our overall economy and quality of life in our community.
Spotlight — Fort De Soto named America’s Top Beach – 2008
Pristine Area Favorite Lauded as “Portrait of Tranquility”
Citing a “spectacular combination of soft white sand, calm, clear water and a laid-back atmosphere,” the popular online travel network put the park’s North Beach at the top of its annual best-of list, based on TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index.
This marks the second time in three years the pristine Pinellas County beach has received top honors on an annual “best-of” list. In 2005, Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a.k.a. “Dr. Beach,” named Fort De Soto the nation’s #1 Beach.
CREDITS: Information courtesy of www.PinellasCounty.org. Photography provided courtesy of my personal photo collection, my friend Brian Greene, and the beach panoramic scene photo provided courtesy of Pinellas County Communications Department
Last Updated: July 16, 2010
Wednesday, July 2, 2010, was a bright, sunny day in the south Gulf beaches area of Pinellas County, FL.
There was excitement in the air!
The pelicans were coming!
Officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were about to release 32 brown pelicans along the beach at Fort De Soto Park in Tierra Verde, FL, as a final step in the bird’s rescue and release process.
Rehabilitated at Fort Jackson Wildlife Center in Buras, LA, the pelicans were flown by the U.S. Coast Guard in New Orleans to the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Coast Guard Station. From there, they were just a few short miles from freedom and a new life along an unspoiled beach–one of the most beautiful beaches in the continental USA (voted #1 Beach by Dr. Beach on numerous occasions and voted #1 by TripAdvisor two years running, in 2008 and 2009).
Pinellas County showed its beauty–and its pride–that day. It was a bright spot in an otherwise sad and frustrating situation. As a Tierra Verde resident and wildlife lover, not a day goes by that I do not agonize over the impact to the Gulf region, especially our neighbors to the north and west, from the BP oil disaster. Thankfully, and with blessings, Pinellas County remains unspoiled and 32 brown pelicans have joined our extended family.
Fort De Soto Park is one of the County’s gems! The Park is home to lush nesting areas and more than 300 species of birds, including migratory wildlife. The sand on the beaches remains sugar white and the water is crystal clear. There is not a building in sight, unless you count the Visitor Center. It is Old Florida and we treasure it!
The release of the pelicans on July 7 was not the first to occur in the Tampa Bay area. Oiled birds from Louisana have been flown to our area since the spill began in April. Other releases took place at Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge, an island preserve not far from Fort De Soto Park.
Many photos and videos of the release of the pelicans appear online on various location websites, including www.TampaBay.com and www.Bradenton.com. The St. Petersburg Times and the Bradenton Herald, as well as other media outlets, joined Park staffers, residents, and other onlookers on that special day. It was a sight to behold. I am including links to a few sites below.
Those of us who live and work along the south Gulf beaches, especially those along the Sun Coast in Pinellas County, are grateful that our beaches have remained clean and unspoiled throughout this disaster. Our hearts go out to those less fortunate, to our brothers and sisters who live and work along the northern Gulf coast of Florida and in other states that have been impacted by this tragedy. It is obligation and civic duty to do all that we can to make this area whole again. We must work together to insure that this frayed piece of the fabric of America, one that needs mending because it is unique and represents a generations-old lifestyle, heals and becomes vibrant and alive again.
Here in the south Gulf beaches, along the Sun Coast in Pinellas County, we welcome our new friends, the brown pelicans, and each evening, when they sprend their wings and soar into the golden sunset over the sparkling waters of our beaches, we will remember you and say a prayer.
We are here for you and thank you for the gift of your feathery friends. They are in good hands.
From a loving friend . . . in Paradise Found.
CREDITS: Photos courtesy of my husband, Thomas Gerwe, and Scott Keller, St. Petersburg Times.
Last Updated: March 29, 2010
Live Blues at its Best!
Each year since 1995, some of the biggest names in blues music have taken the stage at the Tampa Bay Blues Festival.
Blues enthusiasts the world over converge on St. Petersburg’s scenic waterfront to enjoy this live showcase of American Blues music. With acres of grass and palm trees, Vinoy Park is the perfect tropical setting for one of the world’s biggest and best blues concerts.
Proceeds benefit Pinellas Association for Retarded Children.
The 2010 Tampa Bay Blues Festival is scheduled for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, April 9, 10, and 11, with musical acts Jimmie Vaughan, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, J.J. Grey & Mofro, Bettye Lavette, Little Ed and the Blues Imperials, Magic Slim, Joe Lewis Walker, Shemekia Copeland and many more. With a state-of-the-art PA system, this year promises to be one of the biggest events on the Tampa Bay music scene, and one of the most popular Tampa Bay attractions.
Tampa Bay Blues Festival has established itself as one of the world’s preeminent blues concerts, having presented over 250 of the world’s greatest live blues musical performers. Over the years, the stage has welcomed legends such as Buddy Guy, George Thorogood, Taj Mahal, Robert Cray, Delbert McClinton, Little Feat, Jonny Lang, Los Lobos, Jerry Lee Lewis, Koko Taylor, Jimmie Vaughan, Irma Thomas, Susan Tedeschi, and others, in what has truly become a magnificent celebration of music.
Attendees can partake in hot blues, cool beverages, and tasty food, including seafood, barbecue, Cuban cuisine, and other culinary treats. Festival vendors also include arts & crafts. In addition to great music and warm weather, participants can enjoy visiting downtown St. Petersburg, with its many restaurants, clubs, and art museums, including the world famous Dali Museum. From downtown St. Petersburg, guests may wish to explore the area, traveling twenty minutes by car to tour the communities of Gulfport, Pass-a-Grille, Tierra Verde, Treasure Island, and St. Pete Beach (to name a few fun and interesting destinations). In Tierra Verde, Ft. De Soto Park offers camping, nature and biking trails, kayak and bicycle rentals, covered picnic areas, and one of the finest beaches in the world (North Beach, voted the #1 beach by TripAdvisor in 2008 and 2009).
The Tampa Bay Blues Festival provides the best in live blues entertainment, in an ideal tropical setting, in support of a worthwhile cause.
Join in the fun of three days of Blues by the Bay . . . in Paradise Found!
For event details and information, visit www.TampaBayBluesFest.com.
CREDITS: Artwork/information courtesy of www.TampaBayBluesFest.com.
Last Updated: January 15, 2010
2010 is here and we are halfway through the first month of the New Year!
Many people take the opportunity to utter (often under their breath) a commitment to a New Year’s resolution. Getting more exercise is often at the top of the list, and there is no easier way to keep a commitment to getting more exercise than participating in any one of a number of fun activities at Ft. De Soto Park in Tierra Verde, FL.
Whether you enjoy hiking, jogging, skating, kite boarding, surfing, swimming, kayaking, bicycling, or the causal ease of camping, collecting shells on the beach, a museum tour, boat ride, fishing from the pier, bird watching, or a leisurely walk with a furry friend at the doggie park and beach, there is an activity for every person at every skill level at Ft. De Soto Park!
Getting more exercise in 2010 could not be easier or more fun!
More interesting facts and information about Ft. De Soto Park follow.
Have a great year. I hope to see you at the Park . . . in Paradise Found!
Fort De Soto Park
3500 Pinellas Bayway South
Tierra Verde, FL 33715
Park Office – (727) 893-9185
Campground Office – (727) 893-9185
Fort De Soto Named America’s Top Beach for 2009
Pristine Area Favorite Lauded as “Portrait of Tranquility”
Fort De Soto Park was named America’s Top Beach for the second consecutive year by TripAdvisor, the world’s largest online travel community.
Citing a “spectacular combination of soft white sand, calm, clear water and a laid-back atmosphere,” the popular online travel network put the park’s North Beach at the top of its annual best-of list, based on TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index. This marks the second time in three years the pristine Pinellas County beach has received top honors on an annual “best-of” list. In 2005 Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a.k.a. “Dr. Beach,” named Fort De Soto the nation’s #1 Beach!
The largest park within the Pinellas County Park System, Fort De Soto park consists of 1,136 acres made up of five interconnected islands. First opened on December 21, 1962, when the state toll road named the Pinellas Bayway was completed, this park was dedicated May 11, 1963, in perpetuity as a public park. Annual park attendance averages more than 2.7 million visitors.
The 12-inch mortar battery, located at the fort for which the park was named, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Adding to the historical interest at Fort De Soto, two British breech-loading, rapid-fire rifles of 1890 vintage were installed in March 1982. Markers showing the original building locations and a Quartermaster Storehouse Museum add to the park’s historic interest.
Renovation and conversion of the East Beach concession building to a picnic shelter was completed in 1991. This picnic shelter can easily accommodate 200 visitors and you can now make shelter reservations online!
The following amenities complement the Park’s natural and historic features:
Over seven miles of waterfront, including almost three miles of the finest white sand beach in the United States.
An 800-foot-long boat launching facility with eleven floating docks.
A 238-site family camping area with facilities including picnic tables, grills, water, electricity, washers, dryers, sanitary disposal stations, modern restrooms, showers, play areas, and a camp store.
Two large swim centers including a food concession area located at the North Beach Swim Center.
Two fishing piers, one on Tampa Bay (500 feet long) and the other on the Gulf (1,000 feet long). Each pier has a food and bait concession.
Fourteen large group picnic shelters incorporating award-winning aesthetic and functional design features.
Twenty storm-resistant public restroom buildings featured in several national publications.
A snack bar/souvenir shop offering a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico.
A 6.8 mile, 12-foot-wide asphalt recreation trail connects the campground with the North and East Beach Swim Centers and the historic fort.
A 2.25-mile recreational canoe trail.
A 1-mile nature trail in the Arrowhead Picnic area, and a 3/4 mile nature trail in the Soldiers’ Hole area provides a glimpse of some the native fauna and flora.
2,200 foot Barrier-Free Nature Trail is a self-guided interpretive trail, providing access to nature for all visitors to Fort De Soto Park, regardless of their physical abilities.
A Dog Park – Fort De Soto has the only dog park where dogs are allowed on the beach in a designated area. Be sure to review the rules online!
Youth camping area for organized youth groups such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Church groups, etc.
Follow this link to the Ft. De Soto Park Official Website to view 360º Virtual Tours of the following park amenities: Gulf Pier, North Beach, Campground, Shelter 14, Pier 1, Boat Ramp, Museum, Fort, Barrier Free Trail, and Dog Park.
CREDITS: Information and photos courtesy of Pinellas County and Ft. De Soto Park. Some photos by yours truly.
Last Updated: December 7, 2009
“Pumpkins on the Porch” hosted by Tampa Bay Watch in October was such a success, they’ve decided to do something similar in celebration of the holidays!
Plan to attend Mingle ‘N Jingle highlighted by holiday movies by the Bay at the Tampa Bay Watch Marine Center in Tierra Verde.
Join Tierra Verde friends and neighbors in helping Tampa Bay Watch welcome the holiday season with family-friendly films after sunset. Be sure to check your list to determine if you’ve been naughty or nice . . . as a jolly visitor plans to make a special guest appearance!
When: From 6 to 8PM on Friday, December 11, 2009.
Where: Tampa Bay Watch Marine Center, 3000 Pinellas Bayway South, Tierra Verde, FL 33715.
Featured Films: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Mickey’s Christmas Carol.
RSVP online at www.tampabaywatch.org.
If you plan on attending, please consider bringing an unwrapped toy in lieu of admission or cash donation.
The event is sponsored by the Tierra Verde Fire District and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department.
All proceeds benefit the Tierra Verde Fire District’s “Santa Program,” which helps gives children a joyful Christmas.
Guests are welcome to bring chairs and/or blankets to spread on the lawn.
Tampa Bay Watch, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit stewardship program dedicated exclusively to the protection and restoration of the marine and wetland environments of the Tampa Bay estuary through scientific and educational programs.
For more information, contact Rachel Arndt, Communications Coordinator, Tampa Bay Watch, at (727) 867-8166.
To volunteer at Mingle ‘N Jingle, contact Jessica Combs at (727) 867-8166.
Come mingle and jingle in Tierra Verde!
And be sure to have a Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy Holiday Season . . . in Paradise Found!
PHOTO CREDIT: Images used in this post courtesy of Tampa Bay Watch and yours truly.
Last Updated: November 30, 2009
In honor of the holiday season, boat owners take advantage of Pinellas County’s abundant waterways to “Deck The Hulls” (literally) and participate in one or more of our area’s community-oriented lighted boat parades.
One such parade in the South Gulf Beaches area of the County is the Tierra Verde Lighted Boat Parade. A longstanding tradition, the event is scheduled to take place beginning at 6PM on Wednesday, December 9, 2009. Participating vessels, with crew and merrymakers aboard, meet at Marker #10 in the Pass-a-Grille Channel (located at the entrance to the Grand Canal).
When the boats are lined up, one after the other, with their decorative lights twinkling and holiday music from their respective sound systems rocking the night air, the Parade gets underway. It is a sight to behold.
The Parade travels up the Grand Canal, heading north, and returns south, then proceeding along the island’s west shore to the Tierra Verde Bridge. After passing under the bridge, the Parade travels on, going up and down the canals on the east side of Tierra Verde.
It’s beautiful to see decorative lights draped up the rigging of sailboats and along the bow of yachts. Lights shaped as palm trees, animated ringing bells, reindeer, and as green fish and blue dolphins.
Following the Tierra Verde Lighted Boat Parade, an awards ceremony and party is slated to follow at Billy’s Stone Crab Restaurant, located at One Collany Road, Tierra Verde , FL 33715.
In true blown out flip flop island style, there is no official sponsor for the event . . . Just a bunch of friendly neighbors and friends getting together to enjoy some of the magic and whimsy of the holiday season.
Tierra Verde, Pass-a-Grille, Vina del Mar, and Isla del Sol residents who live along the waterfront have the luxury of enjoying the Parade from their own homes. Others travel to various waterfront restaurants, parks, and public landings to enjoy the spectacular display of lights.
It’s not too late to participate. Anyone who owns a boat is encouraged to participate. All you need to do is decorate your boat (and it doesn’t have to be fancy) and join in the fun of the Parade.
More information about the Tierra Verde Lighted Boat Parade is available by phone at 727-458-8512 or call Billy’s Stone Crab Restaurant at 727-866-2115.
Being from the Midwest originally, when I moved to Florida with my husband in 2002, I worried that I would miss our annual car ride to cruise the neighborhood and look at glimmering holiday lights buried beneath inches of newly-fallen snow. To my delight, it is equally enjoyable, if not more exhilarating, to see watch the Tierra Verde Lighted Boat Parade and see the reflection of glittering holiday lights shimmering on the water.
If, during the holidays, the urge to drop to the ground and make a snow angel overtakes me, I need only zip down to North Beach at Ft. De Soto Park and make a sand angel. I’ll be sure to go when the last light of day is touching the horizon–because sunsets there are glorious gifts in and of themselves!
Never again having to own a snow scraper . . . just another good thing about life . . . in Paradise Found!
PHOTOS OF AREA LIGHTED BOAT PARADES COURTESY OF: Dirk Shadd (Times 2003). Times 2004. Coastal Living Magazine.
Last Updated: November 23, 2009
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to extend a heartfelt thank you to residents, businesses, and organizations throughout Pinellas County for their commitment to charitable events and activities during the holiday season and year-round. Expressed in donations of time, the sharing of life experiences, and funding support, this commitment defines the meaning of volunteerism and the spirit of community giving.
On Thanksgiving Day, it’s a tradition in my family to give thanks, while standing around the dinner table, for the blessings in our lives. We hold hands and each person, in turn, offers a message of thanks. My husband, Thomas, and I, plan to spend the holiday with my sister and brother-in-law, Lora and Max Fulmer, who live, as we do, in Tierra Verde, FL. I’m already thinking about the message that I will share. My words of thanks and gratitude will include them–for the gifts they share and in acknowledgment of their volunteer spirit.
Lora, as she does each year, plans to host a booth, with her friend, Judy Fielding, at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Christmas Boutique.
This tenth annual fundraising event attracts hundreds of shoppers. It’s festive and fun, and helps SPYC members and their guests get into the holiday spirit. Proceeds from this activity benefit the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Junior Sailing and Disabled Sailor programs.
Lora and Judy work (like elves), collecting and making quilts, and embroidering novelty items, to be sold at the Christmas Boutique. They are talented sewers and quilt makers. Volunteering at this event is a labor of love for them (owing to the fact that they have both lost a child to terminal illness).
In addition to their support of the SPYC Christmas Boutique, Lora and Judy also volunteer on behalf of Project Linus, a nonprofit organization comprised of hundreds of local chapters and thousands of volunteers across the United States. Each chapter works together to help us achieve their mission statement:
. . . To provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.”
. . . To provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities, for the benefit of children.
Project Linus has distributed over three million blankets to children in need since the organization’s inception in 1995.
I’m proud of (and thankful for) my sister for her support of these great causes and there are many great people doing equally great things in our community.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I urge everyone to pause and give thanks for our individual and collective blessings. Take a moment to honor and recognize the volunteers in your sphere of influence–family members and friends alike. Let them know how much you appreciate them. If you’re not doing so already, consider becoming a volunteer or making a donation to one of your favorite charities. By doing so, you will make a meaningful contribution to our community and, as a consequence, you will have an opportunity to experience, firsthand, the impact that two simple words can have . . . thank you!
Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving . . . in Paradise Found!
ST. PETERSBURG YACHT CLUB CHRISTMAS BOUTIQUE:
The event is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, December 1, 2009. Shopping begins at 1P and concludes at 7P. Only 45 vendors are accepted into this exclusive event, with categories limited to retail sales, non-profit groups, artists, and members of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. Raffle items will be on display and proceeds benefit both Junior Sailing and Disabled Sailors. For information, contact event co-chairs: Char Doyle, Susan Huff, or Beverly Smoak, by phone at 727-521-3822 or via email to email@example.com.
ST. PETERSBURG YACHT CLUB YOUTH SAILING PROGRAM
Based in the Sailing Center, the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Youth Sailing Program is one of the most extensive in the nation. Not only are the facilities first-rate, but the Club maintains a staff of 2-3 full time Youth Sailing Coaches, plus a fleet of 420′s and Optimist Prams. Many of the children in the program have gone on to become All Americans or Olympic Gold Medal winners. Most notably, Allison Jolly won a gold medal in the 1988 Olympics. Ed Baird, who coached the New Zealand team to victory in the 1995 America’s Cup, skippered the Young America/New York Yacht Club Challenge. Numerous SPYC junior sailors have gone on to becoming Collegiate All-American athletes. Youth sailing offers classes open to all community residents. Hundreds of youth have been introduced to the sport of sailing, and the program has produced winning racing teams to compete at both national and international levels.
ABOUT THE ST. PETERSBURG YACHT CLUB
Rich in history and tradition, the St. Petersburg Yacht Club is one of the oldest yacht clubs in the United States. Established in 1909 and having been completely renovated in the early 1990s, the Club is located on the beautiful waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. A gathering place for avid boaters, it is also one of Tampa Bay’s most prestigious social venues. Enjoying a reputation for warm hospitality, world-class sailing and outstanding dining, Club members and guests value and respect this tradition of excellence. SPYC is located at 11 Central Avenue on the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront. Established in 1909 and renovated in 1992, the club has over 2500 members and is known as the “sailing capital of the south”. SPYC has a 90 year history of hosting regattas and an international reputation for excellent race management and on-shore activities. Many members have achieved great fame in sailing. Boat builder and America’s Cup competitor Charley Morgan is omnipresent in SPYC one-design activities. Yacht clubs nation-wide strive annually to win the coveted “St. Petersburg Yacht Club Award of Excellence in Race Management.”
CREDITS: Photos & Information for this post courtesy of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club (Sail Expo November 2009), Lora Fulmer, and Yours Truly.
Last Updated: November 3, 2009
As a military veteran (U.S. Army & Army Reserves) and proud member of Veterans of Tierra Verde, I pause, as I do every year, on the occasion of Veterans Day, to remember the brave men and women who serve in and support our nation’s Armed Forces. Honoring the service of active duty military personnel, their sacrifice and that of their family members, as well as remembering those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our country, are the reasons why we celebrate this day of remembrance.
Aside from Veteran’s Day, which occurs on November 11, members of Veterans of Tierra Verde meet regularly and are committed, year round, to supporting veterans. Members, representing a wide age range and all branches of the service, support each other and share inspirational, firsthand accounts of WWII, D Day, VJ Day, Pearl Harbor, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War conflicts.
The organization is committed to supporting community events and charitable organizations, too. They organize donation drives and ship personal items overseas to active duty troops serving in the Middle East and around the world. Members have donated military memorabilia to the Armed Forces Museum. They provide POW (Prisoner Of War) flags to area fire stations and conduct flag raising ceremonies at various locations, including Ft. De Soto Park. They assist with the proper disposal of tattered and worn out U.S. flags, serve as members of Color Guard ceremonies and processionals, host public speaking events, and mount an annual holiday drive, collecting toys and needed supplies for local families of active duty military personnel.
On December 6, 2006, Bill Allen, Tierra Verde resident and President of Veterans of Tierra Verde, was nominated (and later selected) to receive a community service award presented by Pinellas Realtor Organization at PRO’s annual dinner and awards ceremony. It was a great honor for Bill and his wife, Helen, who was present for the event, as an acknowledgement of the good work Veterans of Tierra Verde has been doing for many years on behalf of our nation’s military veterans and active duty personnel.
Veterans of Tierra Verde meet for breakfast each month at Bob Evans Restaurant on 34th Street North (U.S. 19). Veterans and their guests are welcome to join the group for their monthly dinner meeting, which takes place at Isla del Sol Yacht & Country Club on Sun Boulevard in south St. Petersburg.
Military veterans, whether stateside or combat, are encouraged and welcomed to join. More information is available online at www.VeteransofTierraVerde.com.
The below photos feature members of Veterans of Tierra Verde and their spouses. Their work is a labor of love . . . and a duty (to always remember).
I hope that you will pause to remember our nation’s military veterans on Veteran’s Day. If you are a veteran and live in the South Gulf Beaches area of Pinellas County, consider attending a Veterans of Tierra Verde event. I guarantee that you will be inspired and make a new friend, or two, or three . . .
Happy Veteran’s Day to my brothers and sisters in arms. YOU are my heroes!
To the men and women of our nation’s Armed Forces, and their families, who paid the ultimate price so that we can experience the freedoms we enjoy in this country, I shall honor you by pausing to say “Thank You” on November 11.
Remembering and honoring our veterans with pride . . . in Paradise Found.
Photos courtesy of Veterans of Tierra Verde.
Last Updated: October 20, 2009
Halloween is almost here and the South Gulf Beaches area of Pinellas County is gearing up for the fun holiday!
One community-oriented event that is new this year is Pumpkins on the Porch. Here’s more information about it.
This family event will feature snacks, bobbing for apples, pumpkin decorating, trick-or-treating around the facility, and the showing of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!™ on the lawn.
It takes place on October 30, 2009, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Tampa Bay Watch Marine Center, located just outside the entrance to Ft. De Soto Park at 3000 Pinellas Bayway South in Tierra Verde, FL 33715.
B.Y.O.P. (Bring Your Own Pumpkin) and plan to have a spooktacular good time!
There will be a limited supply of pumpkins available for sale. Tampa Bay Watch will supply carving stencils and utensils, and plenty of candy!
Pumpkins graciously provided by Hydro Harvest Farms.
Tampa Bay Watch . . . Restoring the Bay Every Day!
Have a Boo-tiful Day . . . in Paradise Found!
Tampa Bay Watch, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit stewardship program dedicated exclusively to the protection and restoration of the marine and wetland environments of the Tampa Bay estuary through scientific and educational programs.
With your help, TBW is protecting Florida’s largest open water estuary. By expanding community involvement in hands-on restoration and protection projects around the bay, they strive to counteract the huge loss of wetland habitat over the past 100 years.
Press release and photos appear courtesy of the Tampa Bay Watch Marine Center.
- Come join the Tampa Bay Rowdies for Military Appreciation Night for a chance to honor local troops!
- Greek Wine and Food Tasting to benefit All Children’s Hospital and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
- Time is running out to stand up for sensible mortgage rules
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