A Weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida
Created By Indiana Lang
Recently my wife and I took a visit to St. Petersburg, Florida. As a sort of a mini vacation, as we like to call them, we stayed for just under 36 hours, but really packed a lot of adventure into those hours. Here is a little snapshot of the places we visited in this beautiful city. I would also like to note that all of these attractions are within minutes of each other, at most a 45 minute walk. However, you may not notice as the time will fly by. It’s a very wonderful walk indeed.
The Dali Museum
When we arrived in St. Petersburg at around 10 in the morning (right when the museum opened), we were welcomed to a fantastic and very modern sight: the Dali Museum. Featuring art created by the world renowned Spanish surrealist painter, Salvador Dali, the museum’s collection not only captured my imagination, but also sparked inspiration. Held captive by each work of art, I found myself learning interesting facts I never would have come across otherwise. Did you know Dali co-created a 17 minute film that was released in 1930? I got to sample a few clips of the film and it is truly a work of art, I now understand why it was so popular at the time of its release.
From the many galleries showcasing his work to the theater displaying his history, what struck me the most was his masterpieces, which were extraordinarily large, some over 12 feet tall. Each required long moments to study and ponder on the imagery and detail. My personal favorite from Dali was his “The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus” masterpiece. It caught my eye for nearly 10 minutes. I must say, the Dali Museum was an excellent choice for a visit to St. Petersburg, Florida.
The Hollander Hotel
Placed near the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, the Hollander Hotel has a rich and interesting history. It actually changed names twice: it started out as the Hollander Hotel in the early 1900s and later was renamed under a new owner; however after being vacant for a number of years, it was repurchased in the early 2000s and finally bought back to its former glory and name. I have enjoyed staying at this hotel so much, it’s actually become my new favorite. It breaks the mold of the everyday hotel and it does it in an amazing way.
Almost every aspect of the hotel drips character. The entryway draws you in with its warm and inviting decor. The rooms feel like a Florida beach, yet they remind you of their unique history and the eras they have seen. The moment you walk in the front door you are greeted with the soft vintage style of the front desk and an original 1900s telephone booth right in the lobby. Shortly after checking in, I took a walk up the stairs to my room and I was able to hear the slight creak of the old hardwood beneath my feet and the warm light of a nicely restored chandelier above my head, which only reminded more how special this hotel truly is. Even the outside look of the entire hotel has not changed much since it was built, overall, I loved every bit of it!
We even had a chance to eat at the Tap Room, a restaurant inside the hotel. We ate dinner and breakfast there, but my favorite meal was the breakfast. It earned an A+ with a family style buffet featuring all the classic fixings, except for pancakes; however the food was very fresh and the staff was friendly. The dinner was a B- as the food was not as good as breakfast and options were quite limited; in fact I couldn’t find an option that I really liked. Everything was reasonably priced, staff was nice and helpful, the new pool area was a treat, and overall it was an excellent stay.
Our last stop before we departed and left for the world of work was the Sunken Gardens, a beautiful and serene slice of nature. From the moment we entered the gardens, we felt as though we’d taken a step off the earth and onto an entirely new world. Every step we took drew us into a new version of mother nature; we saw many types of plants, birds, fish and even an alligator snapping turtle up close (but not too close, thankfully). The placement of walking paths did not deter or break the sense of immersiveness of the gardens. If we were to walk from the left side of the gardens and go around, we would have found ourselves in a beautiful area for weddings with a waterfall, unique plants (I won’t spoil it), birds, flamingos, turtles, Koi and even more birds.
All together the walk took about an hour to complete. We stopped to see everything we could. The sheer beauty cannot be put into words, but even photos could barely contain the wonderful views the Sunken Gardens had to offer. The entrance fee was cheap, and the location was excellent; actually within a few minutes walk from the Hollander Hotel. Overall, the weekend was an amazing experience, full of fresh air and colorful sights, perfect for kids as well.