road trip travel guide: dalí museum + st. petersburg
it started with a random thought and a text to two friends that said "Want to go to St. Petersburg to see the Dali Museum?" It's not a romantic story, but it's the truth. They said yes. I remembered that there was a sister hotel to the Postcard Inn in Islamorada (we stayed there once for the Full Moon Party) and that's that. Then, the weekend rolled around and it was time to go. The usually flurry of Googling to feel prepared ensued and a short list of places to visit was compiled.
On the way, my friends, who are very resourceful and we're all pretty expert at traveling together, plotted the places into Travelocity so that we could see it on a map and get an idea of the plan. Turns out that about half of my information was outdated so it really narrowed it down and we figured we're just try and memorize the names and pull over if we saw any of them while we were driving around.
I'm going to follow up with a post about Peace River Seafood Market, the little place we stopped for lunch on the way up (because I don't believe in fast food when fresh clams are available - duh!).
We went straight to the Dali Museum, the main event, and were surprised to find that it was PACKED. Not that I don't think other people are interested in boutique museums in random beach towns in Florida, but I mean, this place was slammed. It made me feel kind of warm and fuzzy, not because there were strangers so close to me their breath was keeping me warm, but because it's kind of nice to feel like a cultural institution is packed on a Saturday with people of all ages interested in seeing an exhibit of Dali's work next to Picasso's.
The Dali collection is remarkable. It's a really thorough collection, but all that is displayed are paintings - I say that because Dali's works also include things like house objects including forks and spoons and that's what I was really looking forward to seeing, but when you're looking at the biggest piece of work that Dali ever painted and you're only four hours away from home, you can't be picky. The museum is organized in semi-chronological order and an audio tour and guided tours are included with the price of admission (a steep $24).
The Picasso exhibit showcased the two masters side-by-side and illustrated their close relationship. I won't get into detail, because you should go see it for yourself, but the show had things like two self portraits next to each other and paintings reacting to current events from their different perspectives.
Here's a fun fact: All the works in the museum were donated by one couple who technically donated them to the residents of Florida - we we're all partial owners!
Like I mentioned, we stayed at the Postcard Inn and our room was number 305, so we knew it was meant to be. Plus, we had a hammock and even though it was too cold to enjoy the beach or the pool, we caught the west coast sunset on the beach which is a can't miss.
We had dinner at Dockside Dave's in Madeira Beach. We found out about it through an old "36 Hours In St. Petersburg" article from the New York Times. When we sat down we realized we were right under a framed version of said article - like it said, it was fate. Dockside Dave's is a classic Florida seafood joint in the best way possible. We ordered onion rings, fish dip (served with pickles!) and the blackened hogfish special (because when hogfish is on the menu, I can't resist) and it was all great; fresh, perfect to share and delicious in an indulgent but not disgusting/food coma kind of way. Oh, and we drank a pitcher of beer and then went home and took shots of Cafe Patron and danced to Beyonce. Because we're wild like that.
The next morning we woke up and had coffee at Kahwa, the Panther of St. Pete, and went to a few vintage/antique stores but nothing was really worth mentioning. Next time, I'd like to visit the Chihuly Collection (but I went to Fairchild earlier this week, so I was a little Chihuly'd out), St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club and the Sunken Garden.
Then, we drove over to Cigar City Brewery and explored the very, very nice Oxford Exchange in Tampa. More on that soon!