Spoiler Alert: this post has absolutely nothing to do with beauty or skincare products. This Spoil Me Sunday is special because it’s my husband’s and my first wedding anniversary. After booking our (belated) honeymoon in Ireland, watching one of my best friends marry the man of her dreams last weekend, and spending a long weekend with mine, I’m brimming with love, happiness, and excitement. Frank Sinatra’s version of “Fly Me to the Moon” was our first dance at our wedding reception; it’s been stuck in my head most of the day, and it always puts a big smile on my face. I didn’t need to do any special beauty regimen this weekend because as Audrey Hepburn once said, “I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls,” and our mini getaway this weekend made me really happy.
I’ll start this off with saying that as my anniversary gift, Jeff planned this entire weekend without any assistance from me, and as a bonus he did the driving. Perfect! We kicked off our long anniversary weekend with lunch at Fogo de Chão (thanks for the gift card, Aunt Cathy & Uncle Jodie!) It was delicious, as always, and met my meat quota for like a week haha.
After lunch, we drove down to St. Petersburg and checked into the Cordova Inn, which is an adorable boutique hotel originally built in 1921. The location in downtown St. Petersburg was perfect: it was within walking distance of countless restaurants, shops, museums, and points of interest. I’d definitely recommend staying here, and it has a pretty interesting history, if you want to check it out on their website.
All the museums and such in St. Pete seem to close at 5, so there wasn’t a whole lot for us to do once we got settled in, but we walked around to scope things out, grabbed a small bite to eat, and came across a taproom that was right next to our hotel, called Pour Taproom. They started in Asheville, NC, and they’ve expanded to a handful of locations on the east coast and one in California. The setup is really cool: when you open your tab, you get a rubber wristband that has some sort of electronic component to it (I assume RFID). They have 85 different beers, ciders, & wines to choose from, and you just tap your wristband on the screen of the beverage you want to try, serve yourself as much or as little as you want, and you get charged by the ounce. At the end, you just turn in your wristband to close you your tab. It’s a great way to sample several different beverages without having to commit to a whole drink and rack up an enormous tab. It’s definitely beer-centered, but maybe the cider and wine selections will grow eventually (I hope!) Jeff was totally stoked that he could drink Belgians for around $.75/oz. We drank outside so that Jeff could vape, but I noticed they had all kinds of board games and card games you could play inside.
We slept in a bit, took our time getting ready, and made our way over to the Iberian Rooster for brunch. We had picked up one of those tourist maps in our hotel lobby, and Iberian Rooster had an ad boasting bottomless mimosas and brunch Saturday and Sunday until 3pm–we were sold! We got even more excited when we arrived and discovered that there were 10 different flavors of mimosas to choose from: classic, Bellini, Creme de Peche, Batida de Coco, Frambois, Creme de Mure (my favorite), Pamplemousse Rose, Cedilla Açai (my second favorite), Tipplers Orange, and Banane du Brasil. It’s a family-owned Portuguese Fusion restaurant and speakeasy near the Central Arts District. Everything we tried was delicious, and considering we didn’t even get to try their lunch or late-night menus, we definitely plan on going back next time we’re in St. Pete. PS: If you go for brunch, don’t skip on the cheese grits–they’re fantastic!
After brunch, we made our way over to the Morean Arts Center’s Glass Studio & Hot Shop. We arrived just in time to watch a glass-blowing demonstration, which was absolutely mesmerizing. Seeing the demonstration before going to the Chihuly exhibit helps you further appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship required to make these glass masterpieces. The Chihuly Collection was just a short walk away, and it certainly didn’t disappoint! The variety of colors and textures, as well as just the sheer magnitude of some of the pieces was absolutely breathtaking. I found it interesting that the building was designed specifically for this collection, so the architecture and the art work very harmoniously together. This collection is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss when visiting St. Pete.
After leaving the gallery, we walked over to South Straub Park to check out the 5th annual St. Petersburg Fine Art Festival that happened to be going on this weekend. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it over there until around 4:30, and they closed at 5. So we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our evening plans: dinner at Sushi, Inc. (I was craving seaweed salad!) and a show at the Palladium Theatre. We enjoyed one of the performances of the 10th annual St. Petersburg Jazz Festival, featuring the Helios Jazz Orchestra and vocals by Whitney James & Chuck Wansley. The music selection had a Big Band vibe, which Jeff and I both really enjoyed.
We finished off the evening with some rolled ice cream from Dot Ice and another stop at Pour. I had seen rolled ice cream online before, but I’d never had an opportunity to try it. I got the “S’mores Galore” flavor, so they started out by chopping up a graham cracker on the flat pan, which is kept at -17°F. Then they pour sweet cream on the pan, mix it all together, and spread it very neatly and evenly until it freezes to the point where they can roll it up and put it in a cup. My anal retentive soul found it very gratifying to watch. 🙂
After checking out of the hotel, we went to a 24/7 diner next door to Pour, called 2nd & Second. Oh my goodness, they had so many things we wanted to try, but I went with a “Grilled Cheese Your Way” (sourdough, cheddar, tomatoes, grilled onions, and mushrooms.) This is yet another place we plan on going back to next time we’re in town because there were just too many choices!
After fending off the hangriness, we finally made our way over to the Salvador Dalí Museum. We had to rush through a little more than we would have liked because we needed to start heading home, but we enjoyed what we did see, both the exhibits and the gardens.
Now it’s back to real life: meal prepping, laundry, preparing for work tomorrow, etc. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past year, though, it’s that if you choose the right partner, even “real life” is pretty great. I might be a little biased, but I think I married the most wonderful man in the world, and you’d have a hard time convincing me otherwise.
St. Petersburg might only be 2 hours away from home, but since we both left our work cell phones at home, we got to disconnect from our everyday life for a couple of days and explore a new place together. I’m looking forward to the next 70+ years of exploring this big world hand in hand.
I hope you had a great weekend, too! Have you ever been to St. Petersburg? What looks the most interesting to you?