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A Day at Dunedin - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Days Out

Theme parks and sunshine are possibly the two most important ingredients to encourage holidaymakers to come to the Orlando/Kissimmee area of Florida. And long may it continue. However, there is an amazing wealth of alternate locations and pastimes virtually on the doorstep, to keep everybody entertained and add another, more relaxed dimension to what is normally a hectic vacation.

Eighty five miles due West on the Gulf of Mexico is the delightful town of Dunedin (pronounced Dunneedin) which was discovered and inhabited by two Scottish traders. The name ' Dunedin' comes from the Scottish Gaelic for their home town, Edinburgh and the Scottish connection is as strong today with annual Highland Games being held in the town with a background of bagpipes and pipe bands. The annual meeting of the Highland Games is in March and another event is the Mardi Gras which falls on the same day in February as its' big brother in New Orleans.

The local par 3 golf club is, not surprisingly, called the St. Andrews Links and to show the strength of their love of golf, the Dunedin Country Club, from 1945 till 1962, was the home of the PGA of America.

The town itself is relatively small although there are one hundred and fifty businesses, such as restaurants, bars, homemade ice cream shops, art galleries and antique outlets. Beer drinkers can sample one of over forty draught beers on sale in the House of Beer or try Dunedin' s own in the Dunedin Brewery and Snug Pub.

For the more energetic there is the Pinellas Trail, a thirty nine mile bicycle and pedestrian trail or a swim off Caladesi Island beach, recently voted the No. 1 beach in America. Situated two miles away, this three mile long stretch of beach can only be reached by boat but it doesn' t take a lot of imagination to figure out how beautiful it is be to be the best in all America. If you do decide to give it a visit, don' t forget to pack your Bounty bar.

The Dunedin marina is also very picturesque, with a restaurant connected to the Best Western Hotel situated right next to the sea where you can enjoy your meal under a beautiful sunset.

There is certainly enough for most people to do and make a full day of it but if you find yourself with time to spare then nine miles further North along the coast is Tarpon Springs, a harbour town with a distinct Greek flavour. In 1890 sponge harvesting was well established in the Gulf of Mexico but an influx of experienced Greek sponge divers, using rubberised diving suits and helmets increased the harvest dramatically. More Greek divers arrived at Tarpon Springs and as they had to be fed, Greek restaurants sprouted up in the harbour and by 1940 Tarpon Springs was the ' Sponge Capital of the World' .

Over one hundred shops, tavernas and restaurants cluster round the harbour where Greek is the number one language, although their English is perfect when it comes to charging you. As I live on the Greek island of Corfu, I am no stranger to Greek cuisine and I have been quite impressed with the standards on the couple of occasions I have eaten there.

Tarpon Springs is definitely worth a visit but it' s a long way to go for a kebab so I would recommend a joint trip twinned with Dunedin, get Europe out of your system and refresh yourselves for your next day at the parks and the good old U. S. ofA.

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