Monday, August 8, 2016

Safety Harbor, Florida

Helping our daughter and her husband get settled in their new home has taken up a great deal of our time since we have arrived in Florida.  The weather has also been quite interesting.  The first week or so it was quite warm and humid.  It was uncomfortable being out side until the sun started going down, and then the mosquitoes would dive down for their blood-sucking feast on any human found outdoors.  In the past week the weather has cooled down to the eighties, but now we are dealing with torrents of rain.  However, there have been nice breaks from that and on Friday John and I ventured out under over-cast skies to tour Safety Harbor.  The town is due east of us along Tampa Bay.  Local Indians were the first ones drawn to the area because of its five mineral springs.
A mural on the side of the Chamber of Commerce building depicts the history of Safety Harbor.  In 1539 Hernando de Soto named the springs Espiritu Santo, or water of the Holy Spirit. 
Our tour of the town took us to the oldest live oak in Pinellas County.  It is estimated to be 300-500 years old.  Its girth measures approximately 20 feet.  The tree is named for Dr.S. Baranoff, who in 1945 purchased the Safety Harbor Sanitarium.  It was an 18 acre health facility which included the five mineral springs.  The sanitarium is now gone, replaced by Safety Harbor Resort and Spa. 
 As we were gazing at the majestic tree I saw a man narrowly miss a low-hanging branch of it which stretched over the fence.  My guess he was playing Pokemon Go, as there were others nearby who seemed to be equally equally engrossed in their smart phones.
Our walk took us to Marina Park down by the harbor.  A wonderful floral smell was in the air, we attributed that odor to several trees which had beautiful pink blossoms.
We also walked out on the pier where locals informed us we could find manatees. We first saw dolphins off in the distance in the ocean, and, by patiently scanning the ocean, we did eventually see a manatee with her calf.  Again we saw people on the pier staring into their smart phones.  I felt like shaking them and informing them that while they were glued to their electronic devices they were missing out on seeing some awesome scenery.   Well, as my mother would say "each to their own".

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