I’m a Nashville native and in my 50+ years of living here, I’ve seen a lot of change. However, some of the things I remember from decades ago are still around like old friends. One of these is the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. This is a 10,000 seat auditorium with almost 70,000 sq/ft of exhibit space, which served as Nashville’s first convention center.
Nashville Municipal Auditorium
I’ve seen many legendary artists perform there including The Eagles, Journey, Elton John and Billy Joel. One of the more memorable shows was seeing Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. On this occasion, Silver Bullet sax player Alto Reed was wireless mic’d (yes they had those then!) and came up into the audience two rows from where I was sitting. I had the thrill of watching him do the sax lines of “Turn The Page” from less than 20 ft. away.
This Nashville institution is now home to the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. The 70,000 sq/ft of exhibit space is now a museum that displays local as well as traveling exhibits.
Nashville Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum
The Rolling Stones Exhibit at the Nashville Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum is on display through June 26, 2018. This display features over 500 artifacts from The Rolling Stones 54-year history. This is the exhibit’s last stop, so don’t miss it! The museum is open from 10:00am to 5pm Mondays – Saturdays and 1pm to 6pm on Sundays. Get more information and purchase your tickets here!
Visiting Nashville? Stay at Heidtke House
Heidtke House is our beautifully restored mid-century modern home – available for booking your stay in Nashville, TN. Located in The Historic Bluefields community just east of Downtown Nashville, Heidtke House is Centrally located just 10 to 15 minutes from Downtown, East Nashville, Opryland and the Nashville International Airport. When you stay at Heidtke House, you are never far from where you want to be. Check our Availability for an always-up-to-date calendar and rates with a variety of booking options including AirBnB, VRBO / HomeAway – and you always get the best rate when you book directly with us!
What is Hot Chicken anyway? It is a uniquely Nashville delicacy – chicken dredged, breaded, and fried with lots of fiery spice along the way, and generously coated with an even more fiery dry spice mixture at the end. Always served on slices of white bread with pickles and sides such as cole slaw.
YES! We Nashvillians take our Hot Chicken Seriously. Maybe too seriously? Nah…
Nashville Hot Chicken Festival (Love by Nashville Vacation Home Heidtke House)
The 13th Annual Music City Hot Chicken Festival pays homage to this uniquely Nashville phenomenon, which has left its mark around the world. One of my work colleagues was in the UK not long ago and noticed that “Nashville Hot Chicken” was offered on the menu at a London pub.
Created in 2007, the annual Music City Hot Chicken Festival brings together the local community and visitors to celebrate the uniquely-Nashville dish, Hot Chicken.
Live music from local bands keeps the “Nashville” vibe going all day long and visitors can look on while five teams try their hand at cooking up their version of Hot Chicken in the Amateur Cooking Competition.
The event ends at 3pm, when visitors can start making their way downtown for the annual fireworks display.
A few things to keep in mind when visiting the festival:
The Hot Chicken Festival is a “Rain or Shine” event
Admission is FREE to the Music City Hot Chicken Festival
Best to leave pets at home
The Festival is all-ages, however a valid ID is required for all beer sales.
Not all vendors accept credit cards. There is an ATM on site
No outside coolers allowed
No tents allowed
Restrooms are located inside the East Park Community Center
Free Hot Chicken samples are given to the first 500 guests, but the line starts forming well before 11am, so plan accordingly
Visiting Nashville? Stay at Heidtke House
Heidtke House is our beautifully restored mid-century modern home – available for booking your stay in Nashville, TN. Located in The Historic Bluefields community just east of Downtown Nashville, Heidtke House is Centrally located just 10 to 15 minutes from Downtown, East Nashville, Opryland and the Nashville International Airport. When you stay at Heidtke House, you are never far from where you want to be. Check our Availability for an always-up-to-date calendar and rates with a variety of booking opotions including AirBnB, VRBO / HomeAway – and you always get the best rate when you book directly with us
Safety Harbor, also known as the Jewel of Tampa Bay, is a well kept secret among the locals and experienced travelers. Ellen are I discovered this vacation heaven years ago and fell in love with it ever since.
Here you will find old Florida charm and most welcoming local people. We would like to share some of our favorite places in Safety Harbor, starting with great local restaurants.
400 2nd St N. Safety Harbor, FL 34695-3614 (727) 386-4107
This is no question one of our favorite places. Not only because the food is authentically good, the ambience always welcoming, the secret ingredient is the proprietor – Greg Seymour, who we secretly address as “Greg the Philosopher” Greg is the man in front of the wood-fired pizza oven making the pies and engaging in lively conversation with the guests seated at the bar – this is where you’ll want to be!
When you arrive, take your seat anywhere you like (we recommend the bar – see above) then check out the chalkboard menu and place your order at the counter – Greg and his team will have it ready before you know it.
Greg is like a one-man symphony director and he makes pizza making a harmonious art. Our favorite is a spicy sausage and peppers pizza, but Greg has something for every taste.
Greg sources fresh, local ingredients, bakes his own bread, sources everything fresh and local – and it shows in every pie and dish he delivers.
122 3rd Ave N Safety Harbor, FL 34695 (727) 216-6341
Real southern cooking, cooked fresh with fresh ingredients with great ambiance and great service. Dine inside, order to go, or enjoy the huge deck under a huge live oak tree draped with Spanish moss, and a warm and cheerful fire pit on cool evenings.
Fried chicken is the most popular menu item, so order early and be patient but it so worth the wait. The chicken is fresh, hot, the breading is crisp and crunchy yet not oily. That’s what we southerners call a good fried chicken.
A favorite of locals and travelers alike, great southern comfort food accompanied by a great wine and beer list.
Parts of Paris 146 Fourth Ave N. Safety Harbor, FL 34695 (727) 797-7979
Parts of Paris delivers the ambiance and much more! Located inside a charming bungalow, right next to The Kitchen and Bar of Green Spring. This is one of the best restaurants in Safety Harbor, and even all of Tampa Bay.
Parts of Paris is an authentic French bistro and craft cocktail bar. The best bar scene in Safety Harbor, comfortable inside dining as well as wonderful outdoor dining in the front and also in the back courtyard.
Begin with a Smoked Old Fashioned, Steak Tartare or French Onion Soup for starters, then Mussels and Frites or Pork Medallions paired with a selection from their great wine list – can’t go wrong here.
Finish with an amazing Crème Brulee and you’ll have a dining experience to remember!
500 Main St, Safety Harbor, FL 34695
One late summer night Ellen and I were strolling along Safety Harbor’s charming Main Street, when we walked pass this cute Japanese restaurant. We noticed a family sitting outside under the moon, surrounding a big table, all talking, laughing, with sake glasses on the table, they were having such a great time! Later we learned that was actually the owner Tom, his wife and restaurant staff. It is their tradition to chill out together after closing the restaurant for the day. We immediately decided to give it a try the second day.
And that’s how it all started. We fell in love with Tom, his wife and this family run restaurant and have been regulars ever since. The sushi rolls are always fresh, delicious, and artfully presented by beautiful Ms. Tom. Ellen is particular about her Sake and this place has one of the best sake selections. Everything we’ve ordered has always been excellent, we can’t wait to go back! This charming family-owned restaurant is truly a jewel in Safety Harbor .
Just how many great and unique restaurants can a small town have? Marker 39 is another gem in Safety Harbor. We discovered this charming little bungalow tucked away on a quiet street just one block off Main Street. What attracted us at the first sight was this beautiful patio, hidden under a canopy of tropical plants and majestic oak trees. We knew immediately this is the perfect place for a romantic evening.
That’s exactly what Ellen and I did on a couple’s night out, the whole experience couldn’t have been better! We both loved the casual atmosphere, friendly staff, great food, and a great wine list. Marker 39 hit all the right notes.
The food was Floribbean style, fresh seafood with a Caribbean touch. We highly recommend a visit to this charming spot. Be sure to make a reservation as it fills up quickly.
And this is just a start, there are so many more fun places in this quaint little town. Stay tuned and more is coming.
Let’s start with Coffee…Here are 3 of the BEST Coffee Spots!
Café Vino Tito
Best Coffee Experience is Cafe Vino Tinto. I ordered my usual Cafe Americano here and I was blown away by the excellent Costa Rican coffee. Beans are roasted here right on-site. Most folks around town refer to it as the “Coffee Window” because it really is a walk-up window where you are served and can enjoy your brew at one of the patio tables.
I have heard that they also serve one-of-a-kind waffles on the weekend, like this Black Forest Gluten-Free Waffle that we’re looking forward to trying on our next visit.
It’s in the back of the big New Orleans-styled building that faces Main Street, right across the parking lot from the DreamCatchers mural (see our breakfast blog post)
Two interesting facts about the shop:
1. It is an all-ladies run business!
2. They were voted the Best Crafted Beverage in 2019
Kilo’s Kava and Tea Bar
This is a place where Fido is King (or Queen!) Could you tell from their sign?
Great group of guys that run the place – it’s a unique and great experience. Looks like they have a big outdoor courtyard, but it was chilly the evening we were there, so we stayed indoors.
What’s unique about this coffee shop is the Kava, also known as the “happy root”, an alternative to wine that gives a euphoric calming experience.
Couple of interesting things about Kava:
1. It is very popular among pet owners. Bringing your puppy to the café will extend your happy hour, and your fur baby will get a treat also!
2. If you are going to try a Kava, make sure that you did not have wine before 🙂 Kava and alcohol do not mix well.
Gotta have one, right?! It’s right on Main St at 2nd Ave S, toward the Tampa Bay end of town.
Couple of things that are of interest at this particular Starbucks:
This is a place where proud pet owners and passionate cyclists gather and have a good time!
It has one of the most creative mural designs inside.
Also a great place to enjoy another unique mural design right across the street at the local chamber of commerce.
Let one of these great coffee spots start your day bright!
The next will be some fun shopping and parks to enjoy.
Florida’s beautiful weather – sun, sand and waves – what could be better than you and your four-legged companion enjoying all that together? To make this a reality, we’ve put together some ideas to help you plan that perfect getaway with your furry friend!
Choosing the right location is the first step in making your time in Florida a perfect getaway. One of the BEST kept secret vacation spot in Florida, known to locals and experienced travelers – Safety Harbor!
Situated on the northwest shore of Tampa Bay, Safety Harbor is centrally located to the greater Tampa Bay area. You can get to Tampa, St. Petersburg or Clearwater all within 20 minutes or so.
SAFETY HARBOR – THE BEST PLACE IN FLORIDA YOU MAY NEVER HAVE HEARD OF
Safety Harbor is a charming, beautiful and walkable community with its downtown Main Street extending 10 blocks from the Safety Harbor Pier on the east end of town to 10th Ave on the west end. The speed limit through downtown is 25 mph, and most days you’ll see more bikes, kids, pedestrians and dogs than cars!
You’ll find more wonderful locally-owned restaurants, bars and pubs than you would ever imagine for a city this size. Most of the bars, pubs and restaurants have outdoor seating, where you can enjoy the beautiful Florida weather with your four-legged friend!
THIRD FRIDAY STREET PARTY
If your stay in Safety Harbor has you in town during the third Friday of any month, you’re in for a rare treat! The whole town comes out for a giant street party. Main Street is blocked off and becomes a busy promenade with people, kids, dogs, street performers, food and live music. Many of the restaurants serve drinks and food on the sidewalks and even more food vendors set up along main street.
WHERE TO STAY
You won’t find a chain hotel anywhere near Safety Harbor. What you will find are many charming and beautifully restored homes that are available as furnished rentals.
These homes are listed on online travel sites such as AirBnB and VRBO / HomeAway. Shamless plug – we’d love to have you book your stay at one of our pet-friendly homes, please see below!
Safety Harbor is blessed with beautiful pedestrian trails along the Tampa Bay waterfront that go for miles! Take Main Street east to the end at the Safety Harbor Resort, and turn right on Bayshore Blvd and stroll along the Tampa Bay waterfront. If you’re up for it, you can walk or bike about 2.5 miles to the Courtney Campbell Causeway (see above) and enjoy the beach and more miles of trails across the bay to Tampa..
Take Main Street east to the end at the Safety Harbor Resort, and walk back to the Safety Harbor Pier, and catch the beautiful new trail that includes an elevated walkway through the mangroves that connects to Phillippe Park.
SAFETY HARBOR CITY PARK
Safety Harbor has a wonderful city park just a few blocks from downtown with a dog park, playground, skate park, and basketball courts. This is a great way to get both two-legged and four-legged travelers outside for some exercise in the Florida sun!
Safety Harbor is a short drive from some of the best beaches in the country. Clearwater Beach was recently named “Best Beach in America” in 2018. Clearwater Beach, just 20 minutes from Safety Harbor, has also recently been named #1 beach in the country by USA Today.
The closest beach to Safety Harbor is the Courtney Campbell Causeway / Ben Davis Beach, which is just 5 minutes’ drive from Safety Harbor, which is on Tampa Bay and not the Gulf of Mexico.
When planning a doggie-friendly Florida getaway, do keep in mind that not all beaches are pet-friendly. In fact, most do not allow pets. However, there are two great options in the Tampa Bay area: The Honeymoon Island State Park Dog Beach near Dunedin FL (15 minutes’ drive from Safety Harbor), and The Fort Desoto Park Paw Playground (45 minutes’ drive from Safety Harbor)
Safety Harbor is the perfect place for a doggie-friendly getaway! From the restaurants with outdoor dining, most of which have water bowls for the doggies, to the pedestrian-friendly downtown and the miles of beautiful walking/biking trails, we couldn’t imagine a better place to bring your furry friend to enjoy a beautiful Florida experience. Safety Harbor’s central location makes it easy to experience all of Tampa Bay, including dog-friendly beaches such as the Fort Desoto Paws Playground and the Honeymoon Island dog beach. We would also suggest checking the rules at each location, most of which always require your dog to be on a six-foot leash , and of course to clean up and leave nothing behind but happy footprints and paw prints!
So you arrived in Safety Harbor yesterday, had a great day and evening. Maybe you were up pretty late enjoying the scene after dinner at one of the many fantastic Safety Harbor locally-owned restaurants, bars or pubs.
Now the sun has been up for a while, you’ve hit snooze on your phone alarm more than you can count and it’s time to get the day underway. But you’re hungry! Where to go and what to do about that? Relax!! We’ve got you covered. Here’s what you do…. choose from one of these awesome spots!
It is really hard to miss this café, when you spot the most colorful and HUGE mural wall just off Safety Harbor’s Main Street, you found it!
This is one of our most favorite breakfast places in Safety Harbor, the café somehow magically combines all the vibrant colors you could think of…the staff is dressed delightfully and colorfully, but super professional and welcoming. The menu is like no where else – be sure and check out the womelette. Yep…waffle + omelet =womelette!
The owner is a 30-year veteran restaurateur, and he and his staff bring all that experience together to make for a most excellent start to your day!
Did I mention Mimosa? Yes…there are breakfast cocktails on the menu…get over there and get you some!!
Paradise restaurant is another local Safety Harbor treasure. Like all the restaurants in downtown Safety Harbor, Paradise is locally owned and operated. It’s been here for decades and is a perfect example of a local diner. Very popular with locals, you will notice that folks are greeted warmly by the staff, often with questions about each other’s family, kids and pets. Non-locals are greeted just as warmly, and the conversation will often shift towards where you’re from, and maybe the staff has family, or knows someone from your area.
The food is great – breakfast classics, as well as Mediterranean-inspired dishes. The omelets are our absolute favorites! The Mimosa, a classic breakfast cocktail, is available after 8:00 AM Monday – Saturday, and after 11:00 AM on Sunday.
226 Main St, Safety Harbor, FL 34695 (727) 726-3471
Athens is another local favorite. Are you seeing a pattern here??!! This and many of the other wonderful restaurants in downtown Safety Harbor have been family-owned for decades. This is another classic breakfast place and diner with all the local charm. The staff and many of the locals know each other’s kids, grandkids and pet’s names…and they’ll make you feel like a local too. Highly recommended!
Ok…I’ve saved my pro tip for last. You’d drive right past this place and have no clue what you’ve missed. It looks like a convenience market, and sure…they have that. BUT…go in there and do what I do.
Get Eddie to make you one of the best Cuban sandwiches you’ll find in the Tampa Bay area…for breakfast. Yeah…for breakfast. Just do it. Large or small, whatever your appetite demands.
Chilled wines and OJ in the cooler to make your own Mimosa if you’re so inclined. Then hang a left out of the parking lot, head north down Philippe Parkway for a couple of miles and hang a right into Philippe Park. Circle around, find a parking spot and make your way to one of the picnic tables right on the Tampa Bay waterfront. Congratulate yourself on finding the best place in Florida and enjoy!
Visiting Safety Harbor? Stay At Our Place!
We own and manage three beautiful, fully-furnished vacation rental homes in Safety Harbor, all within a few blocks walk of Safety Harbor’s beautiful Main Street. Each home is beautifully renovated with up-to-date technology, and each unique in its own way. Click on each photo below to learn more about each home and book your stay!
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