St. Pete: ‘Sunshine City’ is Florida’s west coast gem | Living

In half a century of traveling those places that come to the top of my list of favorites are small cities on the water, among them Nice (France), Napflion (Greece), and Halifax (Nova Scotia). This winter I have added St. Petersburg on Florida’s west coast. It was an easy direct three-hour flight from Bradley International Airport, and staying in the city center made it unnecessary to have a car.

This town was founded in 1888, and unlike its east coast counterparts, today has a young and exciting vibe. It has grown considerably in the past 20 years and holds the Guinness Book of World Record for most consecutive days of sun: 768 in a row 1967-69. In fact the local newspaper (which began in 1884) was given away free for years “on any day the sun does not shine.”

The area was first explored by the Spanish in 1528. After the Hibbs Fishing Company was established in 1899 there was a rail line developed from the dock into the town. From 1906 to 1908 the channel was dredged to allow more shipping and the first trolley in town operated in 1904.

During the early years of the 20th century, Tampa Bay became a popular area for spring training…

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