Friday, August 21, 2015

A Little Work, A Little Play...Down in the Sunshine State

August 13 - 16, 2015
St. Pete Beach, FL

Enjoying the shell-strewn sands of St. Pete Beach
Last Thursday and Friday, Scott had business meetings with Nespresso's logistics supplier and warehouse distribution center in Tampa and St. Petersburg, FL.  Conveniently, my childhood friend Barb happens to live in Tampa as well.  Tagging along with Scott on his business trip gave me a great opportunity to meet up with her, to enjoy some beach and pool time while Scott was at his meetings, and then to spend a relaxing, beachy weekend together with Scott.  Seemed like a perfect plan! 

Upon Barb's recommendation, we booked four nights in a 3rd floor courtyard-view room at the Sirata Beach Resort in laid back St. Pete Beach.  

Peek-a-boo beach view from the open-air corridor leading to our room at the Sirata Beach Resort
The Sirata is a basic but pleasant beachfront hotel with 3 pools and two beach bars, and located on the beautiful strip of sand that is St. Pete Beach, FL.  Upon our arrival, I immediately fell in love with the easygoing, no frills vibe of the both the resort and its guests, alike.  

Following our 11 pm arrival on Wednesday, Thursday dawned hot, humid and partly sunny, despite the forecast that was calling for rain and thunderstorms for the duration of our stay; already things were looking up!  After a trip on foot to the nearby Publix for some daytime meal staples and sunscreen, I snagged a chair with an adjustable sun shade at the largest of the hotel's pools, lounging and reading my afternoon away, happily moving between my chair and the pool until late afternoon.

My favorite pool at the Sirata
I had planned to meet up with Barb later that afternoon at one of the hotel bars, just the day before she was slated to fly out for a week's vacation to Chicago.  I was so pleased with the good timing!  Luckily Scott was free from work obligations that evening as well and in a torrential downpour, and the only rain we saw on our trip, the three of us did some quality catching up over a couple of drinks at the open-air bar at Rum Runners.

After a beautiful afternoon, Scott and I found ourselves waiting for Barb in the pouring rain at Rum Runners
When the rain let up, we drove over to the Pass-A-Grille area not far from our hotel.  There, the three of us dined on local grouper at an outdoor corner table overlooking the water at the pleasantly casual Wharf Restaurant, located on the scenic intercoastal waterway. 

Enjoying an evening of catching up with an old friend at the Wharf Restaurant in Pass-A-Grille
On Friday morning, while Scott finished up his work meetings, I walked to the beach shop across the street from our hotel and bought two new bikinis on super-end-of-season clearance (and if you know me, you know how much I love a bargain!).  Going by the forecast, I had assumed that I could get by with only one swimsuit for the weekend.  However, as the weather continued to be hot and partly sunny, defying the forecast with all its might, I found I had nothing to wear!  But mind you, I was not complaining in the least!  

Following my shopping coup, I returned to the Sirata and ate my Publix deli chef salad, enjoying the view, as usual, from my favorite umbrella-shaded table.

Imagining how much Scott would love that hammock...
 Scott returned from work early-ish on Friday afternoon and the remainder of our weekend was filled with lots of sunning, swimming, reading, lounging, eating and drinking.  In fact, we never ventured further afield than walking distance from our hotel (and only for eating and drinking purposes) until it was time to leave for the airport.  And we can't wait to do it again!

More photos:
Enjoying the white, sugar sands of St. Pete Beach

Reunion time at the Wharf Restaurant!
Here's to childhood friends!
Hangin' in the pool after work with Scott.  Hmmm, I could really get used to this...
St. Pete Beach
Scott, on the sandbar

Evening light
The super-casual Postcard Inn Beach Bar was just a short stroll down the beach from our hotel
Postcard Inn Beach Bar
Postcard Inn Beach Bar
The scene at Postcard Inn Beach Bar
St. Pete Beach sunset

Morning coffee on the beach 
Enjoying the view with our Starbucks
Palms swaying in the breeze in the courtyard at the Sirata
On Saturday, we rented a beach cabana - best idea ever!
Mango chicken salad
The view from our favorite table at Rum Runners - our go-to shade spot!
Happiness is St. Pete Beach!

On Saturday evening we went out to Woody's Waterfront for some casual seafood, where we found J.D. The Entertainer doing his thing, much to the delight of a crowd of drunk locals. It definitely wasn't boring...
Love, love, love the white, sugar sands and warm, calm waters of St. Pete Beach!
When in Rome...
We sure spent an awful lot of time at this table...
Scott, in his happy place
Savoring one last Pina Colada before heading home
Farewell, St. Pete Beach....until we meet again...

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