I am addicted to restaurants while travelling and since we spend a lot of time in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, I have three favorite restaurants, and a grocery store.
Crabby Bills: Every morning I walk a mile and a half down the beach to Crabby Bill’s, which has been family owned since its founding in 1983. The morning crowd consists of older patrons who are vacationing. or living, near the beach. It is a sports bar, restaurant and hang-out for the under 30 crowd the rest of the day and until 2:00 AM.
The All-American Breakfast is my choice, with 2 eggs, potatoes, crisp bacon and toast for $6. Then it is a mile and a half walk back to the rented condo. In the evening, you can get the menu to go.
Guppy’s: A short walk and excellent food with daily specials; indoors or out. Great fish. The Grouper is expensive as it is over-fished. Small plates and you can share. I get three sides; grilled octopus, spinach and Caesar Salad. Octopus is available thanks to the large Greek community. New Mexico restaurants tend not to serve octopus, so it is always a treat.
A small French restaurant in the edge of Belair and next to Largo and Indian Rocks Beach. Run by a French couple, it is always good and one of our favorite stopping places each time we come.
The desert is great, especially if you can try three at once. Eat desert first, life is short.
The lamb shanks can’t be beat. Not always available but when they are, well worth ordering.
If you want to do your own thing with food prepared for you, take a look at Publix Grocery Stores which now have prepared meals that you cook. There is salmon, meatballs, etc. We tried chicken breasts with feta cheese and spinach and it was great. Cheaper than a restaurant meal and it can be eaten with a glass of wine on your rented condo balcony. The sunset over the Gulf of Mexico is better than any restaurant; and quieter.
We have been coming to Indian Rocks Beach, Florida for several years. Initially we rented a place a few blocks from the beach, but still walkable. For the last three years we have rented a place right on the beach, with a view of the water.
We rent a car, even though there is pretty good public transportation.
We have a routine.
Watching the sea, especially in the evening when the sun goes down, is very relaxing. We come in September, after Labor Day, because it is cheaper, there are fewer people, and we can watch the changes in the weather. Twice, we have been delayed as we followed the hurricanes in.
Hurricanes are scary, but interesting; not only for the changes in the weather, but to watch the destructiveness of the wind and water and the foolishness of people caught up in hurricanes; pre, during and post hurricane.
We fly into Tampa, rent a car at the airport through Costco, and try to find our way out of the airport complex – if you are old and they change the rental car locations, you are glad you come and go on a Saturday, when there was less traffic. There is a 4 story escalator, which didn’t bother you at 50, but which gets your attention at 78. Then a 10 minute train ride to all of the rental agencies and the huge indoor rental car garage.
The beach is a relief and calming. We have a balcony overlooking the water, an indoor well-lit garage for your car, and an elevator.
The beach is swept every morning, the sand is white, This year there was a red tide problem, but except for a couple of days of dead fish on the beach, didn’t bother us.
September can be a problem. It is the month for construction work and repairs, some restaurants are closed, hurricanes can be a problem, and this year the red tide lasted longer than usual. However; in September it is low season so rates are cheaper, traffic is reduced, no problem finding seats in restaurants, no crowds, no spring breaks, changing weather and cooler weather. If you are old, September is the month for you. The whole atmosphere is recharging.
Walking a couple of miles a day on the beach in the early morning is a benefit. Walking to Crabby Bills for breakfast is great. The breakfast is cheap, filling and interesting. Nothing like TV’s broadcasting football games from who knows where at 8 in the morning – the bar also operates at 8 – you can eat outside. It is not crowded and the wait-staff is friendly.
There are numerous book boxes where you can take a book and leave a book. The Largo Library has a genealogy section and there is an Indian Rocks Library with computers, papers, magazines and books for sale.
At night you can walk to a few restaurants including Guppy’s, where you can share a plate and eat octopus.
If you are old, you want to be able to walk if you are going to have wine. News articles about seniors who have accidents always say “an elderly man was driving…” Can you imagine being in the drunk tank at 78? or, trying to walk a straight line, even if you could hear the cop’s directions??
The bottom line is that time spent watching the sea is recharging; especially if you are old. It is a nice rhythm.
Check it out!
Walking on the beach and breakfast at Crabby Bill’s in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida.
I was raised in the mid-west and have lived in New Mexico for over 50 years, so the beach has always drawn me.
My wife’s family lived in Largo, Florida and Indian Rocks Beach has been a place she has been familiar with for over 50 years.The attraction has rubbed off on me.
Our life there is simple. We rent a condo overlooking the beach, we rent a car through Costco, we use Uber, we go to the library and frequent consignment stores. We have wi-fi. Good restaurants are within walking distance.
My morning routine is what makes my day. I wake-up early and walk a mile and a half on the beach to Crabby Bill’s, a restaurant/bar that awakens at 7:00 AM. It is simple, indoors and outdoors, and caters to different customers depending on the time of the day. At 8:00 AM there is a smaller more mature crowd. At noon and in the evening they serve great fresh fish and beer at long communal tables.
Prior to breakfast is a stop at the CVS Pharmacy next door for the New York Times, a habit I have even in New Mexico. (Today, the first time in years, they didn’t know what I was talking about when I asked for the NY Times.)
As an aside, since old people always have something wrong with them, don’t forget that CVS Pharmacies have a “Minute Clinic.” They can handle all sorts of minor health problems; and, if nothing else triage you and get you more help if needed. You can get a place in line on-line, but I have always found them to be quick, helpful and professional. Why go to an emergency room unless it is an emergency?
I read the times while eating the All American Special with crisp bacon for $6.00. I then walk a mile and a half back to the condo; hopefully with a new blog topic.
Fresh air, great breakfast and the news by 9:00. What could be better?
I like a restaurant that reminds me of my past (60 to 70 years ago); and, like most people my age, I prefer non-chain restaurants. In Largo, Florida there is Venus Restaurant. It has been family owned since 1985, is small, and seems to cater to an older neighborhood population.
There are booths, tables and an outdoor seating area where smoking is apparently allowed; at least I could smell cigarette smoke which is unusual; even in Florida. The walls are covered with pictures drawn by grade-school grandchildren, the waitresses are friendly and the parking lot is always crowded.
The food is simple, not processed and reflective of by-gone times. Where else can you find beef liver and onions (small portion) for $7.49 “served with a choice of the following sides: cup of soup, or side salad, potato, vegetable or a pudding dessert.”
They also serve fish, meat-loaf, burgers and pasta; plus an assortment of Greek dishes and pudding for dessert.
I had breakfast there today:
2441 West Bay Drive
Largo, FL 33770
We are spending the month of September on the beach in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida. My wife was raised on Long Island and grew up around beaches; but after 50 years in New Mexico is not sure she wanted to live East. Her parents lived here for 45 years so she is familiar with the area.
At 76, moving to a new place, even for a month, requires a “senior’s” perspective.
We need a purpose. We don’t swim, golf, play tennis, or do any of the usual things. We walk, do yoga and read. We like to eat out; and, most importantly we like to sit on the balcony and watch the gulf – especially if there is a hurricane. September 2016 is perfect. We rented a 4th floor condo overlooking the gulf and Hurricane Hermine hit on September 1.
The plan is that my wife will paint and I will work on geezer2go!
I hope to tell you about our experiences; day-by-day, with a 5 day lag for editing. The blog will continue its “senior twist.” I will suggest some providers, but don’t be limited by what I suggest. Use your own common sense.
Being old and fearful, preparation is everything:
- Money – cash in a money belt, two credit cards, and a debit card. Take a few blank checks with you. If you need something notarized, Bank of America will do it, at least if you are a customer.
- Prescriptions – Enough for a month with extra in case you overstay. Contact your pharmacist to arrange to have your prescriptions filled at a chain drug store where you are going if you run into problems.
- Uber – Join and experiment with Uber in advance. It is quick, cheap and safe. You don’t have to worry about a tip. See my Uber Blog.
- Airplane tickets – SouthWest. They have a senior fare, if you cancel, you get a credit, there are two bags free, and since they don’t transfer bags to other carriers, they don’t seem to lose them. Get your boarding passes on-line exactly 24 hours before your flight.
- Chargers – I only blog to old people who know how to use the internet. You need chargers for smart phones, computers and i-pads. If you do forget chargers, stop by a hotel/motel. They usually have extras that people left behind. Tip the desk clerk.
- Back-up numbers – A list of phone numbers that you need. Kids, neighbors, place you are going, favorite restaurants, etc. You can never find a phone book, and if you do, it is out-of-date.
- Auto-pay – All deposits including social security, dividends, etc. should be made electronically. You should use e-bills. If you can’t, estimate the amount that you might owe while gone and pay ahead.
- Wi-fi – make sure that where you are going has wi-fi. Even at 76, you need it. If you don’t have it, or if it is bad, learn how to use your smart phone personal hotspot. I have T-mobile and for a few bucks a month was able to hook-up my computer at places without wi-fi.
- Rent Car – Rent it off airport. Cheaper and you avoid driving on the maze of roads around most airports; especially Tampa. Enterprise as it has a free pick-up service. You can use Super-shuttle to get from most airports. You may also be able to use Uber. Try CostCo Travel for good rates.
- Join Silver Sneakers – Free and nation-wide. Access to thousands of exercise classes, yoga classes, Pilates classes and YMCA’s.
- Sick/hurt – Unless it is serious, remember urgent care facilities or the CVS Pharmacy Minute Clinics. Quick, they take Medicare and you can reserve your place in line, on-line. For minor injuries. More importantly, they can recognize serious problems and get you help.
- Packing – I am old. I need less clutter. I travel with a carry-on bag, which I check. For Florida, 7 t-shirts, 7 underpants, sandals, shoes, 3 socks, 3 handkerchiefs, 7 short-sleeved shirts, hat, umbrella, plastic rain poncho, shorts, 2 pair light weight travel pants. I will use the washer/dryer/laundry 4 times. I check the bag so I can get around in terminals and don’t worry too much if I lose it. I also have a brief-case with a notebook, an i-pad, with 600 kindle books and my favorite magazines, and my cell phone. Plus the chargers. What else do I need. Certainly not 3 large suitcases.
This is my preparation. I have high-lighted the web pages of my sources so that you can check them out for yourself. When you are old: TRUST, BUT VERIFY!
A library is an old person’s salvation on a vacation, at home or when visiting younger family members who work. It provides books to buy, a cafe for coffee and sandwiches, magazines, free internet access, classes and all sorts of free information. It is frequently open on Sunday and always during the week.
Like many genealogical libraries. Largo is a wealth of information.There are free computers, free wi-fi and thousands of books that can be used for genealogical research.
The Pinellas County Genealogical Society meets here and sponsors lectures and help with research. There are always a few members hanging around who are happy to help you.
At the main desk you can buy genealogical forms including a 15 generation form for $2. You can make copies and there is a librarian ready to help you with any problem.
You can buy a USB flash drive for $5 and by paying $1 for a day pass you can access Ancestory.com with its infinite source of genealogical information.
The library also subscribes to about a dozen genealogy related magazines that you didn’t even know existed.
Largo is only one example. Many libraries have a genealogy section; usually run by the city or state genealogical society. In Albuquerque it covers the whole second floor of the main library and includes, copiers, thousands of books from every state, newspaper files, computer access and helpful members of the staff and the Albuquerque Genealogical Society.
In other places, Google: library+name of city+genealogy,
So, Google: library+Largo, FL+genealogy and you get:
City of Largo, Florida | Genealogy
www.largo.com › City Departments › Largo Public Library
The Largo Public Library has been designated as the center for genealogical research for the Pinellas Public Library
In Albuquerque, New Mexico,
Google: library+Albuquerque, NM and you would get:
The Genealogy Center in the Albuquerque Main Library at 501 Copper, NW is … PO Box 25512, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
You can discover the secrets of your family’s past. You hopefully will discover a number of scandalous stories to tell your friends and grandchildren. You will be more interesting than if you just talk about the last TV show you saw or about how terrible it is to grow old. You will also meet some interesting new (“old”) people.
With your genealogy as a base, you have a focus for new trips, your own living museums where you and your ancestors are the stars. You can visit the asylum where your great-great grandmother spent most of her life. Most old people aren’t really too interesting, and don’t seem to have much purpose. Don’t be one of those. Explore your past.
You can also check out old death certificates and find out what your ancestors died from; hopefully, few of them were shot by jealous spouses.