St. Pete Beach, Part 4: Fort De Soto, Rooftop Drinks and a Lack of Water

 

Selfie in the park.
Selfie in the park.

It was a brisk morning. After a quick breakfast at Inn on the Beach, we were off to check out Fort De Soto park. This 1,100 acre park is an expanse of beaches, fishing piers, hiking trails and bike paths, made up of five interconnected islands. It was the bike path signs that got me thinking we should rent bikes and see the park that way.

Fort De Soto beach.
Fort De Soto beach.

Then FKGuy reminded me that it was both chilly and windy. On a bike it would be chillier and windier. He was right, so we set off on foot out a 1,000 foot pier. We explored the beaches (which were mostly empty, given the frigid Florida temps, which had dipped down into the high 50s), and a few trails and thoroughly enjoyed the peacefulness of the park. Note: I am fairly certain that on a balmy, sunny afternoon, it would be mobbed, but on this brisk Saturday morning, it was nearly empty. And I loved every minute of the solitude.

As we crossed the bridge on our return to Inn on the Beach, we decided to ditch the car at the inn and walk somewhere for lunch. The first place was closed, due to not having any water. Somehow, the place next door, The Wharf, also had no water (there was a main break that affected the whole beach area), yet somehow still had food. For that were thankful, as the idea of getting into the car, going somewhere else and starting over was unappealing. Lunch was a casual event, with a beautiful water view. Though the oysters were a low point, the grouper sandwich was quite good, and a huge piece of fish.

Lunch with a view.
Lunch with a view.

After lunch we headed back to downtown St. Pete, found an art show and walked around for a while. The weather was perfect for a stroll, and we took advantage of it.

Later that day, with very little to do, we once again set off on foot, this time in search of a pre-dinner cocktail, and many more steps on the fitbit. After our two mile stroll, passing only a handful of other pedestrians, we arrived at the Grand Plaza Hotel, and proceeded to the rooftop bar for a drink (cognac for me, bourbon for FKGuy – it was cold) and an impressive view. Of course, the view would be far more interesting during the daylight, when you can actually see. Service at the bar was friendly, despite still not having water (and pouring bottled water for customers, like me, in need of hydration.)

...and the view at dinner.
…and the view at dinner.

Our final stop of the evening was Rumfish Grill, at the Guy Harvey resort. The dining room is flanked on one wall by a giant fish tank, providing plenty of visual stimulation during the meal. The food was quite good, with baked oysters in a Cajun butter and Parmesan crust more than compensating for the mediocre oysters that afternoon, a delicious burrata salad, tuna poke (yum) and fabulous grouper picatta, as well as a bottle of Landmark Overlook Chardonnay.

The food was very good, and worthy of a return visit, while service was only ok. It was friendly enough, and we got everything as ordered, it was just a bit haphazard, with bread service arriving after we had finished the meal, and dinner arriving while appetizer plates were still on the table. But the food was good, and the atmosphere like a theme park (in a good way). In fact, it

Delicious tuna poke at Rumfish Grill.
Delicious tuna poke at Rumfish Grill.

reminded me of a small scale version of the Coral Reef restaurant in EPCOT.

By the end of the meal, we were full, and the fitbit registered about 28,000 steps for the day we opted for a ride for the final three miles of the day.

 

Accommodations for this trip were provided by Inn on the Beach. Museum tickets and entrance fees provided by Visit St. Petersburg Clearwater. 

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