Gulfport

gulfport1Retaining much of its yesteryear charm, yet also exuding an eclectic artistic and bohemian vibe, the quaint City of Gulfport is one of the most interesting communities in Pinellas County. Known for its tranquil Old South atmosphere, the city also boasts chic boutiques, shops and art galleries thanks in part to the active community of artists drawn here by the tropical light and natural beauty of the place.

Gulfport is also home to the beautiful campus of  Stetson University College of Law, Florida’s first law school.

Old Florida
 As of the 2010 U.S. Census, Gulfport had 12,029 residents. These residents are fortunate to enjoy the splendid setting overlooking beautiful Boca Ciega Bay. Housing choices are diverse, ranging from a restored 1920s Mediterranean villa to a newly-built waterfront condo, a comfortable 1960s ranch house to an elegant country club home. Residents take pride in rehabbing old housing stock in creative ways. The spirit of the community is to maintain the throwback-to-old-Florida charm.

gulfport2Small but Active
Gulfport residents are proud of their city pier, an ideal location for catching a fish or just watching the sunset. Other civic institutions include a state-of-the-art performance hall, the Catherine Hickman Theater, and the Gulfport Casino, a waterfront landmark which is home to dances, musical performances, and other activities. Hop on the free trolley the first Friday of the month to experience Art Walk, an evening of street performances, craftsman exhibits, and a variety of galleries, shops, restaurants and clubs open late for your enjoyment. Art walks take place on the first Friday and third Saturday of every month.

The city parks are numerous and varied – from a nature preserve with boardwalk trails to a neighborhood park with softball fields.

“There is a remarkable sense of place in Gulfport. It’s the hometown you grew up in or wish you’d grown up in.” Greg Stemm, eight-year resident.


Factoids:

Population: 12,029 as of the 2010 U.S. Census
Land Area: 2.83 Sq. Miles
 

Points of Interest: City pier, Beach, Fishing, Performance hall, The Catherine Hickman Theater, and Gulfport Casino, Free Trolley, Art Walk takes place on the first Friday and third Saturday of every month, City parks are numerous and varied – from a nature preserve with boardwalk trails to a neighborhood park with softball fields.

Pinellas Park

Pinellas County residents seeking a central location find it in Pinellas Park. Situated midway between Clearwater and St. Petersburg, this city of approximately 49,079 people is a community-oriented place to live.

This family-friendly community offers a variety of housing options among several neighborhoods and real estate developments, including single-family residences, golf course homes, town homes, condos and waterfront homes.

Performances
One focal point of community activity is the city-owned England Brothers Park, where annual events including the popular Country in the Park festival are held. Every third Tuesday of each month, folks gather there for a free lunchtime performance on the Mighty Wurlitzer Theater pipe organ.

Concerts, plays and other live performances are enjoyed at the Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center throughout the year. The Center was completed in late 2007, seats 500, and is a multi-use facility. Currently, it is home to the Civic Orchestra, a local community chorus and the Sunstate Opera Society. The facility is also available for weddings and banquets.

horseWatch for Horses
An active parks and recreation department provides opportunities for casual or league play, and indoor and outdoor activities. It is also a very well known equestrian community in Pinellas County. Several of the parks have horse trails and the main equestrian attraction is Helen Howarth Park. Horses are commonplace enough that traffic officials saw fit to place horse crossing lights on some streets and cross walk buttons high enough so that riders can reach them.

On the weekend, residents might be found hunting for a bargain at the Wagon Wheel Flea Market, a 100-acre market that attracts guests from near and far.

Factoids:
Population: 49,079 according to the 2010 U.S. Census
Land Area: 14.7 Sq. Miles
 

Points of Interest: England Brothers Park, Country in the Park festival, City Auditorium, Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center, The Civic Orchestra, The Sunstate Opera Society, League Play, Indoor and Outdoor Activities. Horse Trails, Helen Howarth Park. Equestrian Events, Flea Markets.

Dunedin

dunedin1A tropical beachfront community, Dunedin offers a relaxed lifestyle with a historic, quaint downtown and superb natural beauty for you to enjoy. Cozy bungalows and historic residences as well as new condominiums and modern beach homes provide a wide range of housing styles for those lucky enough to live here. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, Dunedin was the permanent residence of 35,321 people. The area attracts artists, business owners, sun-lovers and sailors making Dunedin a rich and diverse community. With four miles of picture-perfect waterfront, you are always within walking or biking distance to the beach and sidewalks along the waterline. Don’t be surprised if you see dolphins jump as you gaze out over the Intercoastal.

Two of the most beautiful beaches in the world are easily accessible from Dunedin. A nature preserve, Honeymoon Island, offers bird-watching along the three mile Osprey trail where you may spot American Bald Eagles, Red-shouldered Hawks, or Great Horned Owls. Look down and you may see gopher tortoises and armadillos by your side. Caladesi Island State Park, took the coveted #1 spot for best beach in America in 2008. It offers a rare glimpse of Florida’s precious nature. After a short ferry or boat ride you are taken away to a tropical paradise. How many can say they have that only five minutes away from home?

Traditional Main Street
Downtown Dunedin offers boutiques, antique shops, fine and casual dining with a relaxing seaside atmosphere and even a historic museum housed in a former railroad station. Here you can enjoy lunch at a restaurant alongside a portion of the 34-mile long Pinellas Trail which winds its way through town.

Arts, Culture and Festivals
Arts and sports get equal billing here. The Dunedin Fine Art Center offers world-class exhibitions and houses an interactive hands-on children’s art museum. At any given time of the year, the Fine Art Center offers over 80 classes to all ages in every conceivable mode of expression. One of Florida’s favorite juried art shows, Art Harvest, is hosted in Dunedin, along with dozens of art, music and food festivals throughout the year. The nine-day annual Highland Games and Festival pay tribute to the city’s Scottish heritage.

For Youngsters
Dunedin is a wonderful place to raise a family, with excellent neighborhood public schools, including Pinellas County’s first charter school, Academie DaVinci, which provides an enriching fine and performing arts curriculum. Many private schools are also available.

Sports leagues, nature programs, art workshops, golfing lessons, sailing and tennis clubs, softball, basketball and theater camps are just a smattering of the many and diverse activities available to children and teens.

dunedin2Parks & Recreation
Kids aren’t the only ones having fun in Dunedin. The city’s leisure services division sponsors year-round activities and operates four recreation facilities for residents of all ages. Community sports leagues for adults and youth as well as the everyday recreational opportunities provided by biking and hiking trails, the beaches, marinas and the Gulf of Mexico keep Dunedin residents active 365 days of the year. The Dunedin Golf Club caters to golfers, while the municipal marina is a haven for boaters. Along the Dunedin Causeway, windsurfers, sailors, kayakers and jet skiers enjoy the protected waters of St. Joseph Sound. No fewer than 29 city parks offer amazing recreational opportunities. In addition Dunedin is also the spring training home for the Toronto Blue Jays.

“Dunedin is an exciting town to be a part of – a place with a true sense of community  focused on families, where kids can be kids, where people care about each other and where I feel safe and don’t worry about anything.” Tony Scruton, 20-year resident.

 

Factoids:
Population: 35,321 as of the 2010 U.S. Census
Land Area: 10.4 Sq. Miles
 

Points of Interest: The Dunedin Fine Art Center, Dozens of art; music and food festivals, The nine-day annual Highland Games and Festival, Dunedin Country Club caters to golfers, The municipal marina, Dunedin Causeway, Windsurfing, Sailing, Kayaking and Jet sking,The protected waters of St. Joseph Sound, 29 city parks, Pinellas Trail, Toronto Blue Jays.

Largo

largo1Situated in the heart of Pinellas County, Largo is a family-friendly community of tree-lined streets, plentiful lakes and hundreds of acres of parkland. Home to 77,648 residents according to the 2010 U.S. Census, Largo is the third largest city in Pinellas County.

The dynamic nature of Largo might be best admired in the redevelopment of its downtown district. Largo’s West Bay Drive district is a charming collection of restaurants and shops just a short stroll from Largo Central Park, the venue for regular concerts, festivals and other entertainment events. A city trolley provides a fun way to get around town on the weekend. The Largo Cultural Center downtown is both an entertainment destination and community gathering spot.

largo2Largo residents are justly proud of the many jewels within their community.  A prime example is Florida Botanical Gardens, where native and tropical flora and fauna thrive on over 30 acres of cultivated gardens and 90 acres of natural preserves. Several endangered species, including the bald eagle and the gopher tortoise, are safe at home here. Largo’s Gulf Coast Museum of Art is another treasure, with its nine permanent collections and changing exhibitions. Heritage Village, a 21-acre living history museum, offers visitors a glimpse into Florida’s past.

 

 

 

Factoids:

Population: 77,648 according to the 2010 U.S. Census
Land Area: 15.7 Sq. Miles
 

Points of Interest: Downtown District, Largo Central Park, City Trolley, The Largo Cultural Center, Florida Botanical Gardens, Largo’s Gulf Coast Museum of Art, Heritage Village.

Salvador Dalí Museum

dali_1Melting clock faces. Nightmarish landscapes. Whimsical creatures. Love him or hate him, you can’t be neutral about Dalí.

The city of St. Petersburg scored a phenomenal art coup in the late 1970s when it secured the world’s most comprehensive collection of Dalí outside his native Spain — the 20th Century’s most famous surrealist painter and self-promoter extraordinaire.

dali_2In addition to 96 oil paintings, some over 14 feet tall, the extraordinary collection includes over 100 watercolors and drawings and some 1,300 graphics, photographs, sculptures and objects d’art. To keep the museum fresh for locals who enjoy repeat visits, curators periodically rotate the collection and bring in special exhibitions on a regular basis.

dali_3Since the Salvador Dalí Museum officially opened to the public on March 10, 1982, millions of visitors from around the world have been drawn to this spectacular cultural masterpiece. The Michelin Guide gave the Salvador Dalí Museum the only three-star rating on Florida’s west coast.

The Salvador Dalí Museum is a world-class art gem.  And, it’s only in Pinellas.

Leepa-Rattner Museum

lp_museum_2Your adventure into 20th century art begins even before you walk into the Leepa-Rattner Museum in Tarpon Springs because the museum itself is a work of art. This award-winning architectural compression of three buildings in one offers a post-modernist spin on the bow of a ship, a tribute to the area’s rich fishing heritage.

The experience intensifies inside.

lp_museum_4There you will discover the art of Abraham Rattner, a figurative expressionist who worked in Paris in the 1920s and 30s and became one of America’s leading colorists. Returning to the U.S. because of the outbreak of WWII, much of his subsequent work reflected the inhumanity and tragedy of the years of war.

The experience is also interactive.  You’re invited to “walk through a painting” to intimately explore a Rattner work of art. You can create your own art using media ranging from colored panels to magnetic strings. Also, perhaps you’ll have the opportunity to watch a performance artist acquaint you with Guernica, using a full-scale replica of Pablo Picasso’s anti-war mural.

lp_museum_8Rattner mingled with many leading artists of his time – Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Marc Chagall, Le Corbusier, Henry Moore, Max Ernst — and their works are also represented in the collection. Also on permanent display are the whimsical works of Esther Gentle (his wife), and the abstract art of Allen Leepa (stepson of Rattner).

You’ll leave with a profound new view of 20th century art – and the 20th century — that can only be found at the Leepa-Rattner Museum.  And, it’s only in Pinellas.