Yesterday Tom and Cheryl wanted to take a run over to the Tampa area, to visit one of their favourite stores, Costco! What better to do than make a day of it!
First off we headed up to Plant City! It is kind of a neat place, and is home to the Florida Annual Strawberry Festival! It actually starts today, and goes till the weekend. Did not matter to us, we found some strawberries anyways!
We decided to stop in and visit the famous Parkesdale Market, just to the west side of Plant City. Now, why do I call it famous when most of you probably have never heard of this place, and don't really care anyways...right? Well check out who shops at this market!
Yes, that is President Bush and the First Lady, visiting the Market, back in 1984. And if you look below, looks like the President brought his appetite!
Yes, President Bush is eating a Strawberry Shortcake, which this market is famous for. If you are ever in this area, you have to stop! I took the above pictures of the President from pictures that were hanging on the wall inside the Market.
So, we had to try it out... even though it was only 10:30 A.M. Did not matter when it comes to Strawberry Shortcake!
Here comes Tom above, with a little snack on his tray. They sell them here for $3.75 and they were pretty good. Judy and I, shared one, as did Tom and Cheryl. They were "Primo"
Now, guess who else has been here to check out these strawberry shortcakes????
Ya, that would be President Obama talking with the owner... don't know what year he came here though.
As you can see above, this place is all decorated up to celebrate the Strawberry. They grow them right on the grounds here...
As I walked into the Market and Restaurant, I got a big chuckle out of the sign above... I think they were serious about this, as all their products were out in the open.
We stopped at a local Winery, where they produced Beer and Wine, but for some reason, no pictures... We just wanted to check this place out, as it was still in the morning, so no taste testing! Would not go good with the strawberries...
Next we headed off to Apollo Beach.
This is a nice area of Florida, on Tampa Bay, which leads out into the Gulf of Mexico.
Apollo Beach is home to people with a lot more money than you know who here... These houses above, are right on the water. Vacant lots here sell for $800,000.00, and then you build your home... so, kind of gives you an idea!
We came to visit the Apollo Beach, Manattee Viewing Area, located beside the Power Plant which serves Tampa. This is a coal fired power plant, and dumps warm discharge water into the canal you see above. The Manattees have made this canal their own personal hot tub!
There was about 150 Manattees in the canal yesterday, enjoying the warm water during the winter. They only come for the heat, as there is no food here for them. They feed out in Tampa Bay. The Power Plant has embraced them, and made a big conservation area here for them. People flock here to see the Manattee. The canal water was over 80 degrees F. yesterday, with only 2 of 4 power units working. It goes above 90 degrees when all 4 are working. Great spot if you are a Manattee!
In the past year, they have built this new viewing tower, which allows you to see all around the area... we had to climb up, just for something to do!
That would be Judy and Cheryl in the centre of the picture, taking a picture of me, taking a picture of them of course...
They had to build a huge walkway over the everglades to get to the tower... this is 1/2 of it!
This is a view of the power plant from atop the tower... we had a great time here, as it was overcast, but very warm, so it was nice walking around.
This is not a pictures of the Brandon Costco Store, but you get the drift... we spent a while, buying up some of the bargains that they offer... stuff we could not live without apparently! Filled Tom's big GMC Truck to the brim! All that that did, was make us hungry!
So, we headed just up the road to the local Brandon Outback Steakhouse! Had a great Steak Dinner, including soup and dessert for only $12.00! Phew... what a day!