Tarpon Springs: Get Your Greek On

 

 

Quaint, historic Tarpon Springs, Florida; sponge capitol of the Gulf coast.

Quaint, historic Tarpon Springs, Florida; sponge capitol of the Gulf coast.

All sizes and prices at the sponge market.

All sizes and prices at the sponge market.

Just north of Tampa Bay, you will find the gulf-coast community of Tarpon Springs.  Well-known in central Florida as a colorful Greek community, the area was made famous by Greek sponge divers who arrived in 1905.

Today, picturesque Dodecanese Street along the harbor-front, plays host to tourists with shops full of sponges and shells as well as a high density of authentic Greek restaurants.  Visitors can take a dolphin boat tour or a trip out in the Gulf to learn how early divers harvested the valuable sponges.

We chose Dimitri’s on the Water for a great Greek lunch, making the selection due to the waterfront location.  We sat outside and watched tourists board the sponge tour boat while chatting with the tour “diver” suited-up in the old-fashioned dry suit and heavy boots that would anchor him to the seabed.  He was leaving the next day for a two-week commercial fishing trip, still a thriving industry in this area.

No visit would be complete without a stop at one of the local bakeries (we stopped at Hella’s), for some traditional baklava or nontraditional baklava cheesecake – all delicious!

Sponges on a local fishing boat.

Sponges on a local fishing boat.

Pelicans wait for handouts by the commercial docks of this Greek community.  Tarpon Springs is located just north of Tampa Bay.

Pelicans wait for handouts by the commercial docks of this Greek community. Tarpon Springs is located just north of Tampa Bay, about an hour from Tampa.

 

 

Posted on December 2, 2013, in Florida and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: