Day 7-10 Tampa/Ft. Meyers   Leave a comment

On our way to Plant City Strawberry Festival, we saw an interesting advertisement for airstream rvs.

Our motor coach bus tour included highlights of Tampa Bay where we saw Tampa University Campus. Within the campus is a beautiful building that was once a hotel from the late 1800s, Tampa Bay Hotel. Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt and the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, known as the “Rough Riders.” They used this hotel as headquarters and came to organize an invasion force for Cuba. Colonel Roosevelt later became the 26th President of the United States.

After spending a few hours in Ybor City, the Cuban area which was a big cigar making area in its day, we stopped at a wonderful Cuban bakery.

Cuban in the afternoon, Greek in the evening. Off to Tarpon Springs to learn about sponges.

Our bus ride was a little interesting, 72 passenger bus. I’ve never been on one of these buses, that’s like 2 buses put together and it bends in the middle in order to get around corners. While parked, the people in the rear could not see the driver!

The ride must have been comfortable because some got their naps.

We viewed a short film on how sponges are processed, and took a sponge boat tour where we witnessed a diver, dressed in “ancient” diving attire, dive for sponge.

The sponges are normally black or orange when they are gathered from the waters.

Pictured below is a restored sponge boat.

Dinner was at Dimitri’s on the Water. A wonderful Greek restaurant with a best manager ever. George greeted and entertained us while we dined. He is a character!

The Greeks do something they call “OMPAH” When they bring out the flaming appetizer, everyone yells OMPAH! (I think that’s how you spell it)

At our driver’s meeting, we included a strawberry shortcake/ice cream social with Plant City strawberries. Unfortunately, I “forgot” (can you believe it) to take photos…….

We hated to leave Lazy Days Campground in Tampa, not only because it’s a beautiful park, but because we were able to meet with a group of previous guests from our Alaska tour last year! As well as a couple who was supposed to be on this trip with us but for medical reasons had to postpone their trip. It’s such a small world.

Not only is it a beautiful park, it is interesting. Check out the unique café below.

We stopped at Thomas Edison/Henry Ford’s winter homes, located on the Caloosahatchee River on our drive to Fort Myers. Edison purchased his property in 1885 and Ford purchased his property in 1916, pictured below. The Edison’s enjoyed their stays until 1947 when Mina deeded the Seminole Lodge to the City of Fort Myers for $1. All of the original furnishings are on permanent loan. The city also had to plant the palm tree that she imported from Hawaii along McGregor Boulevard, hence Ft. Meyers is known as “Palm City.”

Edison was given a tree, Banyon tree, known as the “walking tree”, pictured below left. They call it a walking tree because as it grows, it seems to plant new roots and appears to be walking. Below right is the 7 foot deep swimming pool complete with a high and low dive. Yes, it was only 7 foot deep! Hope they didn’t dive into it.

Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone worked together in 1927 to form the Edison Botanic Research Corporation. The laboratory was completed in 1928 to support their endeavor of producing and manufacturing a quick growing, domestic source of natural rubber.

We had our first sighting of a banana tree in bloom. Have you ever seen one?

Sanibel Island was only a 10 minute drive from our campground. Sanibel is known as the shell capital of the world. What beautiful white beaches.

Our friends, Beth and Lee, own an orchid nursery, so we just had to see that. We were amazed that his little hobby grew into thousands of plants.

Our last evening in Fort Meyers was spent in “The Landings” watching the beautiful sunset.

Our gracious hosts, Beth, Lee, John, Joan, John and Susie did a FANTASTIC job making us a WONDERFUL dinner. Pictured below, Lee and John, were our barbecuers.

We also had some guests that we have traveled with before stop in and enjoy the fun.

I’m being remiss on my picture taking (it’s hard while being the wagonmaster). I didn’t get any photos of our wonderful hostesses, Beth and Joan, in their cute little aprons. SO, we’ll just have to do it AGAIN!

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Posted March 7, 2014 by carolnbill in Adventure Caravans, Friends, RV, Travel

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