Last year around this time, Carl and I were invited to St. Petersburg, FL for the weekend for the Ted Williams Museum and (Baseball) Hitters Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. This year, we were again invited, although the event was moved to Safety Harbor, FL and the organization put us up in the historic Safety Harbor Resort and Spa.
ESPIRITU SANTO SPRINGS
Where Healing Waters Flow
On May 18, 1539, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto reached the shores of what is now Tampa Bay, landing near these mineral springs used by the native population for nearly 10,000 years. Believing he had found the legendary Fountain of Youth somehow missed by Ponce de Leon, de Soto established a camp here, naming its crystal-clear waters Espiritu Santo Springs–“Springs of the Holy Spirit.” Each of the five springs on this site was identified and said to cure certain ailments, a claim drawing thousands of visitors yearly to the “Health Giving City” of Safety Harbor. In the twentieth century, Espiritu Santo water was bottled and sold commercially, and later a health spa and hotel were built over the springs. The Safety Harbor Sanitorium opened its doors here in 1926, offering porcelain bath tubs and a large swimming pool for “taking the waters.” The Safety Harbor Resort and Spa, as it is now known, continues to be a prominent visitor attraction in Pinellas County.
I couldn’t help but wonder as we wandered the halls of this historic hotel noted for it’s healing powers and health retreats if my grandma Donna had been a visitor here. It seems like just the type of place she might have come to.
We decided to make a whole weekend of it (as opposed to just one night like last year) and went down on Friday.
On Friday, we took a long walk around the cute harbor city with small shops, plentiful restaurants and quaint houses.
The town boasts this massive 300-500 year old Live Oak tree.
It was fun to walk to dinner just a few blocks from the hotel and enjoy the beautiful night.
We laughed a lot at this sign. Why is this even necessary??
On Saturday, we enjoyed an even longer walk, going a full 5-1/2 miles down the waterfront and around the city. After going back to the Spa and hanging out at the pool for a while, we refreshed ourselves with a well-deserved nap. Then it was time to get ourselves ready and head to Spectrum Field (the Phillies training facility in Clearwater) for the big event.
The main attraction is the autograph signing session where fans wait in really long lines to spend about 30-seconds with many baseball greats. Carl and I were just there for the food, sampling all the items at the different food stations.
Then the main program took place, with several baseball legends, including Richie “Dick” Allen and Tony Perez being inducted into the Hitters Hall of Fame.
Tony Perez, Dick Allen, Ron Guidry, JR Richard
The evening ended with a fireworks display over the field.
It couldn’t have been a more perfect night, weather-wise. Not too hot and not too cool….it was just right!
On Sunday, we met up with my cousin, Kim, and her daughter, Kassie, at her church since it was on the way home. We thought it was interesting how after the worship portion, the stage went dark and then the lights came back on and there was a large screen. As the pastor started talking, it took us a few seconds to realize that he was not actually there but it was an almost 3-D like video of him speaking! Freaky!
Afterwards, we took Kim and Kassie for brunch to visit and catch up before heading home.
It was great to spend some time with them and we are grateful it worked out it everyone’s schedule. It was a nice weekend away and when it’s mostly free, it’s even better! I love these fun opportunities that Carl and I have to spend time together.