Duluth, MN

We’re in summer mode! For the next couple of months we’ll be road tripping around the midwest and checking out some old favorites and new adventures. The first leg of the trip was a long one – Tampa to Wisconsin Dells! Whew!

After another few hours in the car, we met Amanda’s parents for a mini vacation in Duluth, MN on the north shore of Lake Superior. Our vacation rental was near Canal Park which was a perfect location to view the Aerial Lift Bridge.

We had so many great suggestions of things to do! One of our first stops was Duluth Grill. They have a great menu with so many unique items with local flare. The Falafel Burger and Wild Rice Melt were awesome, and Elliott had a rockin’ grilled cheese with beautiful mixed berries. I definitely need to create a copycat recipe for the Korean Brussels Sprouts!

Day two started with a trip to The Vanilla Bean Restaurant in Two Harbors. The Wild Rice Porridge was a unique and wonderful local treat. We traveled on to Split Rock Lighthouse for a chilly day of sightseeing. They have a great visitor center with interactive exhibits and a short film about the lighthouse history and grounds. Elliott loved playing with the different lenses to see which shape created the strongest beam of light.

The next stop was Gooseberry Falls. Climbing on the rocks was irresistible, and Elliott ended up with some wet, chilly feet, but it was worth it. Extra clothes and shoes are always a must!

Another recommendation we received was Betty’s Pies. We had a sampling of 4 flavors – Great Lakes Crunch, Caramel Apple Crunch, Key Lime, and Toffee Cream (the favorite of the trip)!

After a trip to the pool for some swimming, we ended up at Clyde Iron Works. It was really interesting to see the history of the building and their manufacturing of industrial equipment.

The Glensheen Mansion was on our itinerary for day three. This beautifully preserved estate was home to the Congdon Family from around 1908-1977. You can explore much of the home and grounds, and even hear a few ghost stories πŸ™‚

photo credit: glensheen.org

Positively 3rd Street Bakery and The Great Lakes Aquarium rounded out our last few stops. The aquarium had lot of interactive exhibits. Highlights included touching jellyfish and chocolate chip starfish and learning about the locks of the Great Lakes.

We hope you have a wonderful summer – happy adventuring!

Scooters and Chihuahuas

We hope you had an awesome week. The countdown to summer is ON! We will head up north to Minnesota in about two weeks for the summer months, so the plans are in full swing! For this week’s Adventure Friday, we cashed in some gift cards for some Tampa fun.

Our first stop was Buddy Brew at Armature Works. We try to support local shops as much as we can, and both of these businesses are great examples. Armature Works dates back to 1910 and was once the storage and maintenance facility for Tampa Electric’s streetcars. It is now a mixed-use space with restaurants, shops and entertainment spaces.

Another Friday, another chocolate croissant πŸ™‚ We’ve had a partly-used Buddy Brew gift card hanging out in our junk drawer for a couple of years, and today was the day to cash it in. It’s always fun to find out you have a little more on your card than you thought!

We’ve been wanting to try out the electric scooters downtown, so today we took them for a spin. They are a great way to get around, and really fun! We rented them through the Uber app which was really quick and easy (and pretty inexpensive!)

Elliott was gifted a trip to Color Me Mine by his Auntie Michelle for his birthday. They have lots of pottery styles to choose from, and then you get to pick your paint colors. They are very helpful and allow you all the time you need to paint your masterpiece. Elliott couldn’t resist this little chihuahua. It’s also a great place to practice the art of being “imperfect”. There were a few tearful moments, but he worked through it and was happy with his result. Pottery pieces also look really different once they’re fired, so it’s like an extra step in the process that’s a bit of a surprise!

All the best to you this week!

Biscuits, Boats and Birds

This week’s 🎉Adventure Friday🎉 took us to St. Pete, FL. Just over the bridge, but a funky place that feels like a vacation! Our first stop was Maple Street Biscuit Company. Southern biscuit classics with awesome vegetarian choices, too. Elliott even scored a free iced cinnamon bun for being a newbie to the restaurant.

We had a little extra time before Florida CraftArt opened, so we ducked down an ally and found our next stop, The Crislip Cafe . Couldn’t resist this gorgeous coffee shop, so we ordered up a chocolate croissant…not a bad decision.

Florida CraftArt is a great gallery featuring local artists as well as artist studios and workspaces. Many different types of arts and crafts and a free gallery!

Few things are more adventurous than visiting a new grocery store, am I right?! Dong A-2 Market is like traveling around the world. So fun to get inspired with new ingredients. I didn’t pick up any of these quail eggs, but aren’t they gorgeous?

Rounded out the day looking at boats in the bay, a trip to see our friend Joan, and a visit to the Salvation Army to find the perfect place to hold all of Elliott’s treasures. We also spotted lots of animals at Lake Seminole Park.

A great day for adventuring! Wishing you all the best!

A Castle in Florida?

Today’s 🎉Adventure Friday🎉 took us to Solomon’s Castle in Ona, FL. What a cool, funky place! Hidden away in the Florida woodlands is this lifelong art project of Howard Solomon. They offer tours of the castle, which houses his stained glass window designs and and many metal sculptures. The Boat in the Moat Restaurant offers a great lunch and dessert menu with seating under the beautiful trees – and a rockin’ hotdog, according to Elliott πŸ™‚ The grounds are packed with Florida flowers and nature trails that offer a great place to walk around and explore.

We also visited two of our favorite places – Rise and Nye’s and The Ringling . We had unfinished business with both of these places, so we needed a second day! Evan spotted beignets on the menu at Rise and Nye’s at our last visit, but we saved them for another day. So very glad we ordered them today! They were absolutely delicious. We always love talking with their staff, and it is such a treat to spend our Friday mornings with them.

At Rise & Nye’s, we provide secure, successful jobs which in turn help our employees form meaningful friendships with their peers; live independently; improve their public speaking, develop self-advocacy and communication skills; and feel valued and included by society. We celebrate and honor their special abilities!

The Circus Museum at The Ringling was pretty amazing. The highlight was the 44,000-piece Howard Bros. Circus Model that recreates the magic and enormous scale of the traveling circus. I even bought the book…it was that cool! Costumes, posters, wagons and train cars are on display, as well.

No matter where you live, there are always new places to explore. Plan it, and make your own 🎉Adventure Friday🎉!

You Were Born To FLY – SUN ‘n FUN

This week’s 🎉FRIDAY ADVENTURE🎉 was to the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo. Who wants to go shopping for a jet? We’re all itching to travel again, and this is a great place to do a little window shopping…although we may not all be able to fly by private jet πŸ™‚

Evan’s dad, Eugene, has been a longtime volunteer with the expo and does a great job parking and organizing all of the vintage airplanes that come in – almost 5,000 planes will be on display during the event!

The Lakeland airport becomes the busiest airport in the world with over 14,000 operations surrounding the event. That’s a lot of traffic!

One of our favorite planes was the Fire Boss. This “amphibious scooper air tanker” can scoop 800 gallons of water in 15 seconds and only needs about a one mile stretch of water.

And who doesn’t love a huge bunch of inflatable games?! Elliott made many trips up this gigantic space shuttle slide. We thought we were past the point of needing to take extra clothes everywhere with us, but we were wrong…you always need extra clothes with a 6 year old πŸ™‚

Lemonade, hotdogs, and lots of great people! SUN ‘n FUN is the second largest airshow in the world and attracts about 200,000 guests, volunteers, exhibitors, and performers. The Blue Angels are a must-see!

Rise and Nye’s and The Ringling

Welcome to the Smallfish blog! We are excited to explore this form of communication and hope it will be a great way to connect with you.

This week’s 🎉Adventure Friday🎉 took us to a great place – Rise and Nye’s in Sarasota, FL.

“At Rise & Nye’s, we provide secure, successful jobs which in turn help our employees form meaningful friendships with their peers; live independently; improve their public speaking, develop self-advocacy and communication skills; and feel valued and included by society. We celebrate and honor their special abilities!”

It was such a joy to be welcomed by their friendly staff. Awesome coffees and homemade ice cream – so so good! The beignets are on our list for next time 😉. They are doing such great things for their community, and we LOVE supporting their mission.

Our next stop was The Ringling Museum of Art. What an amazing place – so much more than we expected!

It was a gorgeous day to explore The Museum of Art and the gardens. An amazing collection of many styles of art – way more than we could see in a day!

The Ca d’ Zan, home of John and Mable Ringling, is beautifully maintained. You can just imagine the parties they hosted the roaring 1920s!

The David F. Bolger Playspace is a great outdoor play area with lots of shade and picnic tables and right next to a food truck, if you’ve got the munchies. A great place to let the kids run around!

The museum website is full of information, virtual galleries and educational activities!

Thanks for stopping by. We wish you many happy adventures! Let us know of some of your favorite places in the Tampa Bay area! (or anywhere – we love to travel!)