Every time we visit Florida, we make a point to spend a day at Tarpon Springs, incidentally named after springy fish.
Settled in the late 19th Century, this is a quintessential old-world Florida meets the Mediterranean sort of place. When the sponge fishing (Do you fish for sponges? Is it called sponging?) business became established, local businessmen imported sponge acquisition experts from Greece. As the industry grew, so did the local Greek population.
For a while, an outbreak of red tide caused the sponge harvesting to taper off. Local fishermen made due with shrimp and fish and local businesses turned to more tourist-friendly business like Greek imports and restaurants. These were particularly lovely but we couldn’t fit them in our suitcases. The imported linens are also really beautiful.
Today, the sponges are back and better than ever. Don’t worry for the sponges. The more your trim them, the more they grow. Sponges are acquired on large boats such as these.
One of the best things about Tarpon Springs is that it hasn’t been Disney-ized and still has much Floridian kitchy charm (in the best way). If there was one place we’d live in Florida, it would likely be in a turn-of-the-20th-century house here. Oh look! It’s the Pumpkin’s latest catch!
Frank took all of these beautiful photos, including this one of a local classic car cruising.
After walking up and down the main street, Dodecanese Blvd, you’ll really appreciate the wonderful food and cold beverages. As they say, when in Greece, or a Grecian sort of place…
Finally, no visit would be complete without visiting our friends (finned and otherwise) at the Tarpon Spring Aquarium. We typically spend hours feeding sting rays and nurse sharks.