April 27, 2021. I was so looking forward to that glorious day: Full vaccination! The countdown started after my second jab, on April 13. Bruce was already fully vaccinated, and we decided to take a celebration road trip the moment I qualified.
On April 27th, we hit the road to St. Petersburg, a Florida city we hadn’t yet visited. The draw? The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Art Center.
Dale Chihuly, an American glass sculptor, is one of the world’s most famous artists of blown glass. We had enjoyed his temporary exhibits at the Mingei Museum, in San Diego, as well as the Atlanta and Pittsburgh Botanical Gardens. In addition, we were in awe of his permanent installations at the San Antonio library, San Antonio Museum of Art, Las Vegas Bellagio Hotel, and Maker’s Mark Distillery, in Kentucky.
We decided to make our celebration a one-week vacation, so we could also enjoy the other art glass galleries, museums, and so much more that St. Petersburg has to offer.
Whenever I travel, I also look for a pool facility, so I can start off at least some of my days with a good swim training session. I found it in St. Pete, at the North Shore Aquatics Complex, located right on the downtown waterfront at Vinoy Park. I was in swimming heaven! The 50-meter pool was run short course the days I swam, so I always had my own lane in the perfect 80-degree water. (The facility also has a 25-meter pool and kids water park.
While I swam, Bruce walked along the waterfront park watching the dolphins and birds as he enjoyed views of the St. Petersburg skyline and marina. One of his walks took him along Vinoy Park, past the marina, and to the end of St. Pete Pier and back, for a 75-minute roundtrip. Nice!
Bruce was really impressed with the uniqueness of this pier—unlike anything he had ever seen; so, I had to see it for myself.
The new version of this pier on Tampa Bay opened in July, 2020 at a cost of $92 million dollars. It includes five restaurants, a playground, an environmental education center, artwork, and sculptures, including this life-size pelican.
Next time we visit St. Pete, we are going to make sure to return to the pier at night to see the “Bending Arc,” a net sculpture that lights up in bright colors.
We really enjoyed the downtown area of St. Petersburg. It’s an easy city to navigate by car or on foot; however, if neither of those options sound appealing to you (or, you just want to relax and leave the work to somebody else), you can ride the Looper. The ride is free, and there are twenty stops along the route where you can get off to enjoy one of the many restaurants with outdoor dining, visit a gallery, or shop ‘til you drop. It even stops at the local hospitals, but I’m hopeful you will never need to do that!
St. Pete has an artsy vibe, and there is plenty of arts and culture to take in while you’re there. My next two posts will give you a taste of it with visits to the Duncan McClellan Gallery and Imagine Museum.
Meanwhile, here are some of my favorite crafts from Florida Craft Art: