Since we only had a two night stay in St. Pete, the original plan had been to keep things quiet and relaxing, just the two of us with no plans in the world for a few days of down time. The only thing is…we happened to be within about 10 miles of my best girlfriend, Melody. Someone I had been trying to see, unsucessfully, for the past two months. More on this later, but Matt and I had been hired to do a boat delivery from Indiantown and ending in her very marina in St. Pete, but both attempts at the delivery had been cut short due to engine problems. But because I have the best husband in the world, he agreed to let our ‘us’ time turn into ‘all of us’ time, even on his birthday, so that I could grab dinner and a few drinks with my best girl.
After having spent a pleasurable day lounging out on the beach, and even sneaking in a nap after, we (I) gussied up for the evening, me in a thrift store designer maxi dress, and Matt in his regular uniform of shorts and a t-shirt. As long as his beard and hair length don’t get away from him though, I’m always fine with this. Of course there was a manditory pre-dinner beer out on our patio, with the smell of fresh flowers blooming next to us and floating through the air as we took in our gorgeous surroundings. Have I mentioned yet how much we’re loving the Blue Heron room at Inn on the Beach?
With plans to meet Melody at her marina since her vehicle had recently gone kaput, we took a look around what was to be the final delivery destination of the boat that we never quite got here. Maybe there will be another attempt in a month or two once everything is ship shape on it again? We didn’t have long to think about it before Melody came bounding out from the docks, where the three of us piled ourselves into the front two seats of the van and headed off for the downtown area of St. Pete.
Being quite familiar with the area, Melody had picked out a hip and cheap place for us called the 5 Buck Drinkery. Walking up to it, Matt and I were surprised to find it in the middle of St. Pete’s restaurant district. With a name like that, we had expected it to be a hole in the wall off some dark alley, but here we were in the heart of downtown. Taking a few seats at a table outside, we browsed the menu of meals for under 5 bucks, and took advantage of the last hour of their happy hour specials.
After we had finished our cheap, greasy, yet extremely delicious meals, we tried to make plans of what to do next as the night was still young. Once we had made the decision to get up and just wander a bit, I excused myself to use the ladies room, and when I arrived back at the table, I saw Matt and Melody busy posing with two parrots while a street entertainer was busy taking photos with them cuddling the winged color bombs. Apparently I had gotten back to the table a little too quickly, because the original plan was to surprise me with the photos later and make me completely jealous I had missed it. Mission accomplished without me even fully missing the event!
After a few laps around the restaurant district we were in, it wasn’t long before we found ourselves wandering toward the water and the swankier end of town. Even though it was the middle of the weeks, groups of people strolled through the street, browsing through the shops or enjoying an evening drink at one of the many cafes or outdoor seating at the fancier restaurants. Children walked around with gelato in one hand and their parent’s hand in the other, and we all realized what an opposite end of the spectrum this is from our normal day to day lives. After all, at the moment, Matt and I have to wash our dishes from a spicket and walk a few minutes outside every time we want to use the bathroom.
Agreeing that are lives are by no means fancy, but still much better in our own eyes, we skirted the waterline of a small enclosed anchorage, and slowly made our way to The Vinoy, a historic pink landmark hotel built in 1925. Passing through the lobby and and admiring their revival of the original style and furnishings, we took our own little tour of their pools, wandering up and down flights of stairs, past cascading waterfalls, and finally ended at their rooftop pool and restaurant area. It was agreed that all of us were in the mood for another drink, although this wasn’t the right location for it. We had something with an even better view in mind.
Having walked by a hotel called The Birchwood on our walk earlier, I had spied a group of people on the roof and remarked what nice views must be up there. Turns out there is a rooftop restaurant here called The Canopy, and it is a very popular spot in town to grab a drink or two. Taking the elevator up to the top, we found out it was ladies night, so Melody and I took part in drinking fancy cocktails at a reduced rate, while Matt stuck with a normal and manly beer.
Although it was getting dark and we knew we didn’t want to spend the next day nursing a hangover, we knew it wasn’t time to call it a night just yet. With Melody’s husband Chris just getting out of work, we organized to meet up for one, or possibly more, drinks back at a pub we had passed earlier in the evening and much closer to where our van was parked.
When the four of us all met up and took a seat together, it was like time was on fast forward. We blew through nearly two hours like it was nothing, with lots of laughing, joking, and catching up on the past 9 months since we had all last been together. It was sad we only had this one night to spend together, and I kept joking that when we checked out of our room the next day, we were going to show up on their boat and crash it for a few days. Georgie was in good hands back at the marina and its not like we have a specific schedule we have to stick to.
Unfortunately that’s only the case for the two of us, and it wouldn’t have worked out to unexpectedly intrude on our friend’s lives, as fun as we all thought it sounded at the time. There will be more opportunities in the future though, of that I’m sure. But if all four of us get our wish, one of the next get togethers we’ll have will be out on the water, with no jobs, boat work, or anything else in our schedule, other than to have a good time.