I don't know about you but I turned into a hermit this winter. It's been my natural tendency to curl up on the couch with a mug of hot mint tea and watch a good two hours of TV at night before bedtime. Now that Daylight Savings Time has hit me square in the jaw, there is still daylight awaiting my arrival home after a long day of work. I feel obliged to pay the rest of the day the attention it deserves and what better way to welcome in the warmer weather than to go for a walk. We are fortunate to live where we live- I'm sure you know this as an ONE'er, the pride you take in your neighborhood and home is testament to where we live. There are many many places to enjoy a deep breath of air in our hood so put on a pair of comfy soles and let's go!
Instead of heading immediately to the water there are a few spots I like to visit frequently as a novice bird watcher. I am learning the local birds, water birds, tree birds, ground-lings etc. I love learning their colors, what they eat, their calls, their habits and how they nest. My family kids me about it because while driving I can spot a flying roseate spoonbill or a double crested cormorant drying it's wings on a phone poll. I must get it from my dad who used to do the same thing and point out a random flying hawk that only he could see as I was too busy being a kid.
Do you love the parrots and monk parakeets here as much as I do? The best place to see them up close and personal is on 2nd St in between 6th and 7th. There is a bird feeder on the east side of the street that feeds all kinds of hungry mouths and the green parrots love to perch themselves in this tree and hog the feeder. While you're on this block you may as well stop in to the Old Northeast Tavern for a drink and a slice of pizza. Get the Old Northeast Pie and any Pilsner they may have on draught. Delish! Second spot for bird lovers is my favorite nest of Osprey on 1st Ave N and 28th St. On the West side of the street on top of a telephone poll is a dish that holds an osprey nest. They are nesting this time of year so you may be able to see osprey babies! Did you know they are the only bird that can dive and catch dinner with their feet? I love driving over the Howard Franklin and watching them eat lunch and dinner on top of the light posts.
While you're up that-a-way turn onto Coffee Pot. It's always a delightful walk, no matter what. I have countless memories walking this long strip. Strolling with loved ones, alone, running or just enjoying a twilight, this long road has been a place of solace for me. The hum of the brick as a car whizzes by, the calm serene water and the social manatees. You remember where they are? Right at the crook before Coffee-Pot bends and heads toward the Snell Bridge is their spot. It's where water is pumped in from Tampa Bay and is warmer so the manatee hang out there, sometimes in packs! The sniff and snort, roll and mosey through the water showing off for lookers by. Whilst on Coffee-Pot I like to visit the massive urns that live on the brick streets hidden in the neighborhood. I have a picture of my grandmother hiding in one from the 1920's. Talk about family history in these parts! (How in the world did she get in that thing anyway?)
Don't you love how friendly St. Pete is? Haven't you noticed that people greet each other when walking on North Shore? Hello, Hi, Good Morning! It never fails. Friendly people live and walk here! North Shore is always a safe bet when walking. You can watch budding tennis players at the courts, overhear squealing children frolic at the pool, watch the dolphins flirt and skirt near the edge of the wall, observe the shirts and skins soccer players duke it out on the grass, people sun bathing and enjoying this amazing park. My grandparents used to take my sister and I here as children, after a full plate of macaroni and cheese dinner at the H&D (remember that place?). We'd flit and roll through the grass, climb on the trees and run off all our excess energy before being shuttled home.
The quickest route to nostalgia for me is to take a walk through this neighborhood. I walk past the places I lived as a child and as an adult and I always long for this place as it's home. The memories that these brick streets hold for me are precious and countless making the ONE the best place for a casual stroll.