Friday, July 10, 2015

A day trip to Clearwater.

When we travel to St. Pete’s Beach, we have a few standard stops that we make. One day of our vacation, we always travel up the coast to Clearwater. There are things to see and do along the way, and we love the drive. It is only 20 or so miles, but the trip can take well over an hour, not counting a
 stop at John’s Pass shopping district.

John’s Pass is one of my favorite places on earth. The boardwalk and restaurants are amazing, the spice shop always gets a visit and I pick up a few fresh rolled cigars for my humidor. The cigars are not great, but they are a memento that I like to keep and break out once in  a while, just to remind me of the good times with my favorite people! And to be honest, after a few years in a proper humidor, they are not bad smokes.

The trip north of John’s Pass is all about Frenchy’s! Specifically, Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill.  I could write about this restaurant every day for the rest of my life and never run out of good things to say!

The evening is always capped off by the sunset at Pier 60. This is a huge gathering of local vendors and artists selling everything from face painting to hand-made leather goods and jewelry. It’s very cool to see all the things that people can do and sell. Think of it as a mini Malory Square... For those of you who have been to Key West.

I am afraid to say that this post is likely the last one I’ll make about Clearwater. We have shown our kids, we have shown it to my mom, and now we have shown it to my in-laws. The problem is not the drive, and it is not that the area isn’t still very cool; it most certainly is VERY cool.

The problem is that the Clearwater community is building itself out of business.

Parking is such a cluster fuck that you will wish you’d have stayed home before you even get out of the car. New buildings are taking up old parking lots, and the popularity of the area has grown considerably over the last five years.

It took me over an hour to park when we went to Frenchy’s and I had to walk 6 blocks to get back to the restaurant.  I ended up watching the sun set at Pier 60 from the pickup because apparently another 60 minutes isn't enough time to find a parking space. That’s not a fun way to spend precious two hours of your vacation time.
The food tho... Oh My GAWD!

I ordered two meals, because I couldn’t get past the Four Kings plate with Jerk seasoning and the darn Grouper Reuben... you just have to go hungry!

Frenchy’s Rockaway is and always will be my idea of the quintessential beach bar and restaurant. They have great food, great service and the ultimate atmosphere! The oysters are fresh and the beer is ice cold. I don’t think I could ask for more in a beach-side restaurant!

Most of the rest of Clearwater is the same as you get anywhere else along the gulf coast. Mostly tourist traps and ice cream shops.  I am not saying that is a bad thing, I’m just telling it like it is. There isn’t anything there that you can’t get at any of 1,000 places along the gulf.

I will say that if you visit in the winter time... It Gets COLD! Don’t expect a tropical getaway at this latitude in February!  Average temps range from the 50’s to the 70’s. Not good enough for a Kahuna in the winter. But summertime is prime time! When the water temp and air temp are both in the upper 80’s... I am one happy fat man!

I know we have some readers and friends that live in the area, and I am sorry that we didn’t catch up with them... Again!

We would love some local tips for our next trip, perhaps the inside scoop on where to park (like behind the Crabby Bills at the Clearwater Municipal Marina) and when to avoid the abominable crowds?

Thanks for checking in and sharing our great fun.


One of my top 10 place on planet earth!

After sundown Ice Cream at Pier 60!

The Food at Frenchy's can't be beat!

Kahuna Swag and a full beer. Yeah Mon!

Spice so strong, the boy cannot focus!

Blurry, but freshly rolled.... Get Some!

So many colors from one sunset.

Looking at the pier after the sun goes down.

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