Saturday, August 30, 2014

Shopping in a small 'Old Florida' town

We've found that Fridays are the best day of the week to hit small towns when we want to go antiquing, etc.  We hit Dunedin a few weeks ago and decided to try a very different small town yesterday.  Dade City is north of Tampa and is what I think of as more 'Old Florida.'  Partly because they're are a lot of older people who live there and have probably lived there since they were born.  You don't see much in the way of funky art shops like you do in Dunedin or parts of Tampa, St. Pete and Sarasota.  Dade City has antique shops, good food and that small town 'everyone knows everyone else' ambiance.

Dade City -- home of the Pasco County Courthouse.

We discovered after doing a bit of shopping and then hitting a neat little local place called the Perks Cafe for a late morning snack that there are a lot of 'regulars' who frequent the eating places and shops.  Perks had delicious snacks (they also serve lunch) and I was able to get my iced coffee fix while Duane and Linda had their Chai Tea.  Duane and I each had a slice of delicious homemade banana pudding cake and Linda had a banana muffin.  Good stuff!  We highly recommend Perks to anyone visiting or passing through Dade City.  Like every store and eatery we visited, the people working there were very friendly and somehow knew that we weren't from Dade City.  Hmm... I wonder what gave us away?

Pretty shops with cool architecture.

We did discover when we resumed shopping after our late morning snack that we'd better hurry if we wanted to make it in time for lunch at any of the locally owned places.  Many of them close as early as 2pm.  One of the shop owners suggested an eatery called A Matter of Taste.  That's where we had lunch --- we made it before their 2:30 closing time -- and it was wonderful.  Neat atmosphere with '50's music playing and photographs of Marilyn Monroe, Bogart and other old time celebs on the walls.  I ordered a fried green tomato and bacon sandwich.  Boy, was it good.  Linda had fish tacos and Duane ordered a sandwich called the Marlin.  The portions were very generous and we left there feeling pretty full.

All three of us also purchased items from the various shops, too, so that's always nice when we all manage to find at least one treasure.  I bought a Wallace Nutting signed print, Duane found a nice piece for her Delft collection, and Linda and I both bought vintage children's books.  I plan to record my purchase for Audible so it's in my TBR (to be recorded) pile.

A Matter of Taste cafe.  (Yellow building.)

More shops.  The daily thunderstorms had come through...

Our last stop -- where Duane found her Delft piece.
We had a great day and were ready to head for home around 3:30.  Some of the shops had closed and others would only be open until around 4pm.  I did notice that at least one of the local eateries re-opened from 5-8pm for dinner.  After that, we had the distinct impression that the sidewalks would be rolled up in preparation for the next day.  Good thing we didn't go any later than we did.  A nice little town in which to shop and spend the day.

Our purchases.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Friday Ranch Estate Sale and a New Gift Shop

Linda, Duane, and I have been to estate sales at lots of different venues.  The usual is someone's home on a street with other homes or in a subdivision.  The one we hit yesterday was on a 1,000 acre ranch in a small town called Wesley Chapel not too far from Tampa.  Apparently, this ranch has belonged to a particular family for over 100 years but the current heirs aren't interested in ranching.  Judging by the sign we saw that advertised the homes that will be built on the property, we're guessing that a developer paid handsomely for the land.  It appears to be or was a cattle ranch although we saw some horses, too. 

Our approach from the main road.

Dirt road.  Proceed with caution. 

A tooth-jarring experience to get to the actual house.

Am I for sale, too?

The house.  We made it!
This was what I think of as a real 'ranch' house.  The inside was almost all completely covered in wood.  The walls, ceilings and a lot of the floors were wood.  If you're a Seinfeld fan, Kramer would have loved this place.  (Remember the episode where he covered the walls of his apartment with contact paper that looked like wood because 'chicks' supposedly loved it?)  There was a fair amount of brick in the house, too, for fireplaces.  They had a lot of furniture for sale and some of it was tempting but none of us were in the market for all wood country style furniture.  I'm sure it was well-made, though.  The owners also seemed to be collectors of lots of vintage items like signs, bottles, and more unusual things like a barber chair and what looked to me like an old dental patient's chair.  

Lots and lots of wood.

Wood and brick.

Some of the bottles, etc., in the kitchen window.

Surprisingly, we only made two small purchases.  Linda found a darling celadon teapot with a wrapped handle and I picked up a midcentury modern tile ashtray.  This one appealed to me because the tiny tiles aren't square or round like you usually see, they're shaped like subway tiles.

This was an interesting sale even though none of us made a big haul.  It was kind of neat to see what was a working ranch and ranch house that looked like the owner had built it.   After we left to head back to Tampa, we stopped for our usual snack, beverage and talk time.  Then I remembered that a small gift shop had just opened in my neighborhood.  (We left from my house to get to the ranch.)  The gift shop turned out to be really cute.  Nice items beautifully displayed with prices that were quite reasonable.  Duane bought a pair of earrings so each of us made a purchase for the day.   The Gift Box Boutique is definitely a place that we'll be visiting again.  Great ideas for gifts and things for yourself, too.  We loved their cute costume jewelry selection.  Check out their site here.  

The Gift Box Boutique.  Lots of cute things!


Our purchases for the day.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Rainy Estate Sale Day

We've been getting a lot of rain here this summer.  Not just rain but tremendous thunderstorms.  Yesterday morning was no different when Duane, Linda and I arranged to meet at an estate sale in a small town adjacent to Tampa called Lutz.  Linda actually lives in Lutz but not close to where the sale was being held.  She arrived first, followed by me and then Duane.  Duane had passed the street and had to turn around and double back.  When you have rush hour traffic on your back bumper in the pouring rain, it's not so easy to make a sudden turn.

The sale was so worth it although we discovered that most of the items had been sold the previous day.  Apparently, the sale began on Thursday and the woman having it had done really well the first day.  She said there was a long line of people waiting to get in when she opened the door.  This lady had collected tons of antique furniture and vintage and antique items over the years and furnished her lovely home with them.  She just purchased a condominium and kept what she absolutely loved.   She had already moved so everything in the house and garage was up for grabs.

Here are some pics from what she had just in the way of small items.  (If only we had gotten there on Thursday!)

These pictures are from the ad she ran before the sale.  Needless to say, it didn't look like this when we arrived on Friday morning.  She still had a lot of nice items, though.  Particularly nice porcelain serving bowls and plates and some furniture.  Duane found some blue and white Delft pieces for her collection along with a couple of large biscuit tins from Scotland to use to sort items in her workshop.  Linda bought a pretty tea serving tray and I ended up with two really cool vintage children's books.  Actually they're both close to 100 years old.  When I mentioned that we were 'library refugees' -- the lady wouldn't let us pay for the books.  That was really sweet of her.  I plan to record these and then pass them on to Linda to admire.

It would have been hard to top this sale although we did stop at one small yard sale.  Poor guy was getting rained on when he was trying to put stuff out.  We went on to Panera's where we got treats and drinks.  Mmm...  iced coffee, a chocolate pastry (my order) and good friends.  Hard to beat that.  BTW, sorry that my pic of our finds looks so hazy.  I didn't realize that the fog on my sunglasses when we arranged the items in my trunk was also on the lens of my camera.  Mea culpa!

Our purchases.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Day in Dunedin

Yesterday, Duane, Linda, and I decided to take the show on the road and visit one of the small pretty little towns that aren't too far from Tampa.  We picked Dunedin since two of us hadn't been there in years and Linda had made only a quick recent visit.  Our friend, Danny, now lives there but this was such a last minute decision that we didn't let him know we were coming.  (We'll catch you next time, Danny!)

You don't have to be of Scottish descent to enjoy the picturesque downtown of Dunedin.  The name Dunedin comes from the Scottish-Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland.  (I visited Edinburgh years ago and loved it!)  My family on my paternal grandfather's side came over from Scotland so I enjoy that connected feeling.  The shops are wonderful and everyone is really friendly.  Also, there are great places to eat. We managed to have a morning snack, lunch, and a late afternoon snack at three different places.  Yum. 

We certainly did our share of shopping.  All three of us found baby gifts for people we know.  Linda and I both found small handmade baskets at a shop that specialized in African art.   Many of the shops feature local artists and artisans, though, which I think is terrific. 

One of the places we shopped.

Funny to see these two places on Main Street across from shops.

There's a cool Celtic store in Dunedin where I bought pins for my nephews with our family seal or crest (can't remember which) as stocking stuffers.  I also bought a matted pic of the history of our name (Henderson) along with some information about some of the better known people who carry the name.  I actually have a kilt made from the Henderson plaid that I had made from a shop in Edinburgh.  It doesn't fit through the waist anymore (bye, bye, 24 inches) but maybe one day one of my three nieces might be interested in having it.

Henderson plaid.

We all found some little things for ourselves.  There was a very nice antique mall with a tiny elderly woman who was very friendly.  I found a couple of vintage glass dessert plates.  Duane bought a metal artist's pallet that is used to hold her glasses on her blouse via a magnet (no holes in her blouses) and Linda, besides finding some gifts and a handcarved bowl also found a cute mat for her two cats to have their bowls placed on.  There were actually a lot of pet gifts in various shops, too.  Cute stuff.  Also many of the items for infants and children were made locally. 

It was a really hot day -- in the 90's, as usual in August -- and we were only a couple of blocks from the Gulf but we just wanted to stay in the air conditioning as much as possible.  Our last stop before heading home was this fantastic ice cream shop called Strachan's Homemade Ice Cream and Desserts.   Everything there is made on the premises and we each got a cold treat.  It was really hard to choose so we took a few minutes to make up our minds.  I bought a small box of Strachan's chocolate fudge to take home to George.

Linda, Duane, and I would all recommend spending a day in Dunedin if you're ever in the area.  It's a neat place and if you go in March you can attend the annual Dunedin Highland Games.  We know that we'll be going back at some point.  We still have quite a few small towns that we'd like to visit for a day so stay tuned...

Our purchases.

Monday, August 4, 2014

My narrator interview with Audiobook Monthly Magazine and a nice review!

A new e-magazine was established recently devoted completely to audiobooks.  It features news & reviews, interviews with authors, narrators, producers and publishers and is called Audiobook Monthly Magazine.   I was interviewed for the magazine and one of my productions, the short story The Ghostly Rental by Henry James was reviewed by the publisher, Susan Keefe.

The magazine is currently free and is a great way to read about people in the audiobook business along with reviews of audiobooks that may interest you.  I highly recommend it. 

To read my four-page interview, go here.   Susan's review of The Ghostly Rental can be found here.

Thank you to Susan and Audiobook Monthly Magazine for the opportunity to talk about my work and for the review!