Vaga Bond - Olde Florida and a Gulf to Bay Transition
Friday was another transit day as I shifted from the Gulf side of Pinellas County to the Tampa Bay side, moving to new digs at the Days Inn by Wyndham Clearwater/Gulf to Bay. The hotel is a travel-lodge looking place with a heated pool, free breakfast, free parking, and welcoming front desk staff. I’ll be staying here for two weeks.
I’ve visited some interesting and historic places as I’ve continued exploring the area. One trip took me to Heritage Village in Largo, FL which houses a collection of Pinellas County buildings including the oldest surviving settler’s log cabin. The great thing about walking through these old homes are the insights I get into the way people lived in them.
Walking through the settler’s log cabin was an eye-opener. The walls never got “chinked” because they needed to maximize the air flow through the house. They never put glass panes in the windows. The floorboards had deliberate gaps. Most farms didn’t have barns because the cows and pigs were allowed to freely roam around. The pigs slept in the cooler dirt beneath the cabin floor.
I’m actually okay with the pigs. It’s the thought of the mosquitos, yellow fever, and malaria that would’ve kept me awake at night. Let's not mention the spiders or snakes. Or the outhouses.
Another road trip up the coast led me to Safety Harbor, FL, a cute small town with a Main Street filled with boutique shops, a public library (hosting a book sale; had to stop; picked up another copy of Rebecca for $1; I never can refuse Daphne du Maurier); and a day spa. After a delicious blackened grouper sandwich lunch at The Bar Fly Restaurant (highly recommended), I swung by Philippe Park to climb up the largest remaining ancient temple mound in the Tampa Bay area.
Built by the Tocobaga people out of alternating layers of shell, clay, and sand, roughly 150 feet around and 20 feet high, the mound and the nearby Tocobaga village were described by early Spanish explorers in the 1500s. It was pretty freaky to stand on top of the mound today with the wind whistling around my ears trying to imagine that scene from 500 years ago. Regardless of the history, the mound commands a stunning view of the protected harbor.